Today, Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) launched the newly improved Housing Connect website, designed to make applying for the city’s affordable housing easier and more streamlined. In the past, applying for affordable housing has been considered buggy and difficult, and was described today as a “paper” system that was just transferred online.
The new site is fully automatic, and allows you to create a profile, calculate income, and matches you with housing that you qualify for. Users can access the system both on computers and via mobile devices in 100 different languages.
“We believe [the new system] will help bring fairness to the housing market, HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll said today, adding that the speed of the system would also be improved.
Since 2014, the city has added 164,000 units, The New York Times reported. Carroll added today that this summer 2,500 new units will be added to the Housing Connect 2.0.
Additionally, recent vacancies will now be re-added to the new system, whereas before the system only listed new housing. Ownership opportunities will also be available.
Despite these changes, many city residents still feel as though the “affordable” housing that is provided is not actually affordable. In response to a question about affordability, Carroll said today that the levels are set by HUD, and depend on the county in which the housing is in, which here includes Westchester.
“Don’t be discouraged. There are many ways to support people who cannot support [the required] income, including our section 8 office,” Carroll said, listing HRA subsidies and supportive housing as options as well.
There were several deadline extensions on affordable housing applications earlier this year, but Commissioner Carroll says that issues with filling the homes were not responsible.
“Back in March, when we all had to figure out how to get this marketing going while we were teleworking from the office, we had given extensions so that they can adjust in the marketing process. We are not allowing any of our units to go open market, and so we really wanted people to have the opportunity to apply. Within the crisis we thought that was the appropriate thing to do,” Carroll said.
The new Housing Connect 2.0 is now live, and can be accessed here.