Monday, April 16, 2012

80/20

When I took my first acting class in NYC, the teacher mentioned the 80/20 program - which is a program that puts low-income New Yorkers in luxury buildings for a vastly reduced rental rate. My understanding is that when a new, luxury building is built, the city gives them huge tax breaks if they become an 80/20 building. There are over 3 dozen, and they are NYC's best kept secret.

Because the program is so awesome, they don't publicize, and you have to find out from word-of-mouth... or word-of-blog.

I got my 80/20 apartment 4 years ago, and when it happened so many people asked me about it that I wrote everything I knew into an essay, which I'll attach below***. Obviously the info is out of date, but if you follow the links in the top part, you can find out all of the updated addresses. You'll have to dig.. but, wow is it worth it.

(I also recommend the housing class at The Actor Fund - they know everything!)

***Using the info in this essay, 4 of my friends/clients have gotten their own apartments. Rents well under $1000 for studios and 1-bedrooms in some of NYC's nicest buildings. One of these guys has a building with a private pool. Luxury, people... LUXURY.

So, take a read - do some digging, and apply!




How I got a cheap, amazing apartment and how you can too.

When I began auditioning in New York in 2001, I got some really good advice: start applying for affordable housing. Every 6 months since then, I’ve been sending out postcards to ask for applications, and filling out whatever forms they sent me back. This month I finally got one. I don’t want to brag but it’s an amazing one-bedroom, in a luxury building, in a killer neighborhood for under $500 a month, AND it’s rent-controlled for 20 years.


I wanted to pay-it-forward, so I’m including all the information I have about how YOU can get an affordable housing unit too. All of this information is based on my experience and the conclusions I’ve drawn, so it may be riddled with inaccuracies, but here’s what I know:


The 80/20 Program:

My understanding is that the city created this program to bridge the gap between the lower class and the upper class. If the development companies of new luxury buildings decide to take part in the program they get huge tax breaks. In return, they promise to offer 20% of their units for rent to lower-income folk at a really reduced rate.


I think the idea is that the lower-income people will hobnob with the rich people, and be inspired to make more money. Voila, income gap is bridged.


“Low-income” includes a large range of people. It’s based on your tax returns (actually an average of your last several tax returns) and ranges from the 40th percentile to the 80th. That means that if you make between 40% and 80% of the average New Yorker’s yearly income – you may be a candidate. I think (and this is really a guess) that means between $14,000 a year and $36,000 in 2008 dollars.

Note: You may not be low-income now, but if there is a chance that you will be ANY time in the next few years, why not give it a shot?


Note to those from Jersey: I had been told that they’d only let you apply if you were already a resident of NYC, but I was living in Jersey when I put in my application. So, that may have changed that rule.

Here’s a list of phone numbers and websites you check out for more information. (There are other programs beside the 80/20 Program: Mitchell-Lama, Common Ground, Section 8, etc. I know much less about these, but you can read up at the following websites.)

http://www.actorsfund.org/services/Housing/Housing_Resource_Center/index_html

http://www.nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/home/home.shtml

Mitchell-Lama Program Hotline: 212-863-5610 and 212-863-6502

http://www.hud.gov/

The 80/20 Program – 212-227-5500

http://www.nychdc.com/

Related Management Hotline

212-987-6445 for current information.

www.commonground.org

Section 8 housing hotline

917-286-4300

There is also a mailing list on the www.nyc.gov website that you should get on: Click here.

Additionally, I’ve heard of free seminars given by The Actors Fund on getting affordable housing. Click here.


They don’t make it easy for people to learn about these programs, and there is no one place on the Internet to find all of the information you need to apply. This may be the most comprehensive list available. Make sure you call those numbers and check those websites every now and then to update your list. Buildings will be added and taken away often.


It starts with postcards. Much like doing a mass mailing of headshots, I suggest you just send a postcard to everyone, and they’ll let you know if they’re looking for people. Every six months, either buy blank index cards, or get pre-paid postcards at the Post Office, and mail to all of the following addresses:

Affordable Housing Office

Tribeca Tower

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

Tribeca Park

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Ventura

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Tate

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Strathmore

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Sierra

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Sagamore

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Monterey

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Lyric

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

Carnegie Park

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

Astor Place

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Chatham

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Park Imperial

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

105 E. 17th St.

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

The Westport

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

One Carnegie Hill

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

One Union Square South

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

Tribeca Green

330 West 30th Street

NY, NY 10001

Affordable Housing Office

250 East 60th Street Associates, LP

941 Hoe Avenue

Bronx, NY 10459

RockRose Development Corp.

290 Park Ave. South, 14th Fl.

NY, NY 10010 attn: 80/20 program

Affordable Housing Office

116 West 116th Street Apartments

Property Management Group

3154 Albany Crescent

Bronx, NY 10463

Affordable Housing Office

(West 61st St. Apts)

Knickerbocker Management LLC

33 West 57th Street #007

New York, NY 10019

Affordable Housing Office

Chelsea West Apts.

PO Box 762

New York, NY

10159

Affordable Housing Office

UES Towers

101 West 23rd Street

PMB 2222

New York, NY 10011-2222

Affordable Housing Office

Clinton Parkview Apartments

c/o P & L Management

PO Box 9

Brewster, NY 10509

Affordable Housing Office

400 W. 55th St. Apartments

55th and 9th LLC, Gotham Organization

55th Street Apartments

Grand Central Station

P.O. Box 2455

New York, NY 10163

Affordable Housing Office

The Larkspur c/o HCCI

P.O. Box 1189

Colonial Park Station

New York, NY 10039

Affordable Housing Office

The Aspen

1955 First Avenue

Management Office

New York, NY 10029

Affordable Housing Office

The Hudson Crossing

Hudson Crossing

P.O. Box 829

Time Square Station

New York, NY 10036

Affordable Housing Office

(600 columbus)

1230 Pennsylvania Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11239

Affordable Housing Office

The foundry

Archstone Apartments

505 West 54th Street

New York, NY 10019

Affordable Housing Office

James Towers

Better Life Renting Corp.

97-77 Queens Boulevard

Rego Park, NY 11374

Affordable Housing Office

Chelsea Centro

Rockrose Development Corp.

290 Park Avenue South

14th Floor

New York, NY 10010

Attn: 80/20 program

Affordable Housing Office

(W. 48th St. Development)

Lisa Management

225 East 6th Street

New York, NY 10003

Affordable Housing Office

(530 W. 43rd St.)

Gotham Construction Company LLC

110 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10018

Affordable Housing Office

The Brittany

Rental Office

1775 York Avenue

New York, NY 10128

Affordable Housing Office

One Columbus Pl.

Urban Associates, LLC

400 West 59th Street

New York, New York 10019

Affordable Housing Office

(100 Jane Street)

Rockrose Development Corp.

290 Park Avenue South

14th Floor

New York, NY 10010

Affordable Housing Office

Parkgate Tower/Key West Apartments

Archstone Apartments

505 West 54th Street

New York, NY 10019

Affordable Housing Office

Manhattan Park Roosevelt Island Northtown Phase II

Grenadier Realty

c/o Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park

30 River Road-Management Office

Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Affordable Housing Office

(Clinton Towers @ 790 11th Ave.)

P & L Management

PO Box 9, Rte 22

Brewster, NY 10509

Affordable Housing Office

COLUMBUS PARK TOWERS

ADAM, Inc.

495 Broadway, 6th Floor

NY, NY 10012

Affordable Housing Office

ELEVEN NINETY NINE PLAZA

Marion Scott Real Estate, Inc.,

107-127 East 126th Street

NY, NY 10035

Affordable Housing Office

INDEPENDENCE HOUSE

Leebar Management Corp.,

51 East 42nd Street, Suite 516

NY, NY 10017

Affordable Housing Office

KNICKERBOCKER PLAZA

RY Management 1619 Third Avenue New

York, NY 10128

Affordable Housing Office

MANHATTAN PLAZA

Related Management

400 West 43rd Street

NY, NY 10036

Affordable Housing Office

Westbeth Apartments

Westbeth Apartment Management

463 West St. NY, NY 10014

(incl double stamped SASE)


The text of the postcard should be something like:

Dear Affordable Housing Office:

I’d like to request an application for your affordable housing program. If none are available, please place me on a waiting list.

Thanks,

You

Your Address

Phone Number

Email


There is a waiting list for everything. It’s really important to get on these lists ASAP. It can take years to get to the top.


When you finally start getting applications, fill them out. They are really complicated and tedious, but I think they do that on purpose to thin out the crowd. Also, don’t worry if your financial information doesn’t fit into the low-income category at that moment. They reassess everything when you get further into the process.


I probably filled out 8 applications for different buildings, and finally I got a call that, “my number was coming up,” and they wanted to bring me in to update the application and to have an interview.

They’ll provide you with a LARGE list of things to bring to the interview, including 6 months of bank statements, tax returns, leases, references. It’s intense. Again, I think they are trying to get rid of the losers.


Note: You are totally the kind of person they want in the program. They want people who fit in the low-income category, but won’t stick out like a sore thumb in a luxury building. They need you as much as you need them.

If the interview goes well, they tell you where you stand on the list, and the estimated amount of time before you’re next. I had to wait about 4 months. If you’re getting really close, they’ll move to the next step: the home visit.


An agent from the housing office will come to meet you at your home. They are basically checking to make sure that you know how to take care of an apartment. I was really worried about my home visit, and I cleaned my apartment like it’s never been cleaned before. I even put on coffee and made cookies. The interviewer walked in the door, and said, “Oh don’t worry, you’re going to pass.” He didn’t even take the cookies. Rude. Point being, they’re just checking to make sure you don’t live in a meth lab, or something.


A month later, I got a call from the office that an apartment was open. The Resident Manager from the building called me to make an appointment for me to see the place. It was awesome. Two days later I was bringing first month’s rent and a security deposit to the office, and they handed me keys.

Note: The rent is not technically rent-controlled, but it’s very similar. Every year the rate will go up a small percentage, as dictated by the Housing Board. I’ve been told, it’s basically a cost-of-living increase. The program runs through 2028, but it will likely be extended beyond that.

So, check out all of the links and phone numbers I included, and send your postcards. It’s an amazing program that not a lot of people know about. Good luck.

Hope this helps.


Written 1/08

Update 4/08: I got an email from a friend which included the following new information: "Related has a 'general request list' open for all their properties so you can consolidate your recommendations to people to use that for all the postcards to 330 w.30th to make it simpler for folks :)"

Related Management handles about 30 of the 80/20 buildings - so this may be a huge time saver! Thanks.


Update 4/09: I just got an email from someone who let me know that the following postcards were returned. The address is no longer valid:

400 W. 55th St.Apartments

55th and 9th LLC, Gotham Organization

55th Street Apartments

Grand Central Station

P.O. BOX 2455

New York,NY 10163

27 comments:

  1. I am about to go on an interview for one of these 80/20 buildings and was depressed I might get accepted and have to live @ 330 W. 30th, but thanks to your informative article, I have hope I might wind up at a better location. Nice gesture on your part.
    CC

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  2. Good luck! That may be a little far west, but - cheap rent is cheap rent!
    Hope it all works out. :D

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  3. Hi, where did you find this list? Is there an updated one somewhere?

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  4. I used all the links listed in the top of the article, and nyc.gov has most of it too. They don't make it easy AT ALL to find the addresses. But you can with some digging.
    Good luck.

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    Replies
    1. You are an angel! Thank you for this valuable information. I recently learned about the 20/80 program and I am so excited about it.
      Wish me luck :)

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  5. i am looking for a three bed room apt. Do you know if these address have?

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  6. Yep. More one-bedrooms and studios, but they absolutely have family units.

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  7. Just wanted to say, you are awesome for posting this information! I've done a good amount of legwork on my own, so I know how hard it was to gather all of this. Thanks for your generosity. Happy holidays!

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  8. Thanks for the great info! When they are investigating potential tenants, are they able to gain access to all of the financial statements of every bank account the tenant has using the tenants social security number? Or, is it only tax returns and the specific bank account(s) the tenant provides?

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  9. They def take your SSN, but I don't remember them probing any further than the info I gave them.
    They do expect you to give them all of your financial information.
    No problem if you have money saved. The decision is based on income.
    Good luck.

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  10. Hi there, I am going to an interview tomorrow! I am a freelance performer and do not have one employer.

    - Will they ask you at the interview for a letter from you employer?
    - Will they ask if you are working full-time or part-time?
    - Will being FT or PT disqualify you from the housing program?
    - Will you have the option of reviewing other apartments that you applied for through related and ask for your interview results to go towards that apt?

    I'd love any other tips you may have regarding the questions they will ask you.
    Thanks!

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  11. Hey, I don't have all the answers, but here's what I remember:

    They will ask for pay stubs, not a letter from an employer.
    They don't care if you're full or part time.
    If an apartment comes up, they let you see it before you decide. If you pass, you may not get another.

    Everything else I know is in the essay above. Dress nicely. Be confident and tell the truth - and GOOD LUCK!
    Guy

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  12. How about credit? What's the score and what do they look for in terms of credit history from a potential tenant?

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  13. They didn't do a credit report. They just care that you make enough money to pay the rent.

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  14. Thanks so much for your info! I have been researching affordable housing forever and you have really made this process clearer for me. I too act and this would be so beneficial to me. Any background check or is it strictly income based? That's a unique way of doing things. I would think they would do a credit or tenant history check being that its an apartment.

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  15. I do think they did a criminal history. Yes.
    And they do talk to your previous landlords, I think. I remember giving them the information for every landlord for the previous 5 years.

    Yeah - I guess they don't expect low-income people to have great credit scores. Maybe they deal only in cash.

    Good luck. I've learned some of these addresses are outdated - you may want to do some digging with Related Management and nyc.gov to find the current ones.

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  16. What happens if your income goes up - as you know, we artists don't make the same every year. Do you then have to leave?

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  17. ANR: You only have to qualify once. After that you have to report your earnings, but you can NEVER make too much to be apart of it. To quote my case worker: "You could win the lottery - we can't kick you out."

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  18. What condition was your apartment in? I live with 3 male roommates in a small apartment and am a little worried how that may affect things...

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  19. I cleaned my apartment like it had never been cleaned before! And the guy walked in, looked for 15 seconds, and started filling out the paperwork. He was just making sure I wasn't a hoarder or a maniac.

    I'd still get it as clean as possible, but unless you've got some sort of huge rat issue - you should be fine.

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  20. Guy, thank you so much for all of your info. I just got a letter saying my log number is up next and if my income still meets the requirements I should call to set up an interview, etc, and bring in everything on that extensive list- financial info, etc. here's the thing- they want three years of tax returns, and for two years I made zero because I lived abroad, and this last year 2012 I made 38-40k but the income max for this apt is 27k for two ppl. I'm applying with my brother who's in the restaurant industry and his wages have also changed this year..we can easily show that he makes little to nothing.. I can drop to part time @ work but that wouldn't be reflected in my last 6 pay stubs.. So can I Bring them a letter from my employer stating I now work PT and will only be making around $25k, effectively qualifying me for this apt.? Plus we grew up in manhattan born and raised- my parents own the apt we live in now...! My dad is technically the only "landlord" we've had but we have contributed to our maintenance of $1300 monthly ... So can't I just show basic receipts/letter from my dad stating we helped pay the rent? Overall I'm just concerned that I make too much, everything else seems to work, but again I'd be happy to drop to part time at work just to get this apt! Any advice is so great,y appreciated xx

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  21. Faith Inc property developers from garden city, offering Flats and Apartments in Bangalore to the NRI’s with world class amenities at affordable price.
    Apartments in Bangalore

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  22. Will they rent to full-time students with a guarantor ? My son is starting his senior year @ FIT in the fall and needs an apt that he can stay in after graduation while he begins his career. I currently guarantee/pay his rent but he is losing his roommate and we cannot afford this place any longer.

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  23. Maria, Anything is worth a try - but I'm fairly certain they are won't even consider giving a place to a student. But, get him on the lists now for the future!!

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    Replies
    1. Guy, Thank you for all the info! I'll get him on the lists and keep my fingers crossed! :D

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  24. I've been applying for the 80/20 housing program since sophomore year of college (2007) and everything you say is true except for the fact that they do indeed do a credit check. They even ask you for the $25 to do so. I have been to MANY interviews only to be turned away ten minutes after handing over that $25 money order (thank you student loan debt and that one credit card I maxed out at 18). I have since fixed my credit and applied all over again but I am currently on waiting lists. Hopefully this time around it will all work out.

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