NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center
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Public Housing

In order to be considered for an apartment in a public housing development, a completed application must be submitted.

Applications are assigned a priority code based upon the information provided, and placed on the Housing Authority’s preliminary waiting list to await an eligibility interview. Within 60 days of our receiving your application, you will receive an acknowledgement letter.

Applicants are scheduled for an eligibility interview based upon the following:

  • The Authority counts the number of vacancies at each development and determines how many applications are needed to fill anticipated vacancies over a 9-month period.
  • The Authority determines the number of applicants needed to be interviewed that would complete the application process and result in the number of rentals needed to fill those anticipated vacancies in each borough and its developments. A computer finally selects applicants on a borough by borough basis, based upon their first borough choice, apartment size required, housing priority, and date of application, and schedules them for an eligibility interview.

Borough choice is a significant factor in determining how soon an applicant will be selected for an interview. Therefore, it is important for applicants to select their first borough choice carefully. The Authority has longer waiting lists and fewer vacancies in the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. Applicants selecting one of these boroughs as their first borough choice will probably take longer to be reached on the preliminary waiting list.

All applicants scheduled for an eligibility interview are asked to appear at their Borough Customer Contact Center. Applicants who are "mobility impaired" or who have some other type of disability that would make it a hardship for them to appear in person for their eligibility interview, can request that a telephone interview be scheduled. In addition, the Authority makes every effort to provide Bi-Lingual staff to meet the various language needs of applicants.

At the eligibility interview, the applicant’s family size and composition, housing priority, total family income, and citizenship/immigration status are determined. If the family is income eligible and all requested documentation is received, their application is sent to the Department of Housing Application’s screening unit. There are two steps to screening:

  • Criminal background check for all household members age 16 or older
  • Current and / or previous landlord contact

If the screening process determines that the family meets the Authority’s Standards for Admission, the family is found eligible. Depending on the housing priority and family size, an applicant may be offered the option to select a specific development or to be placed on a borough-wide waiting list. Emergency applicants which include homeless, victims of domestic violence and intimidated witnesses, and all families requiring five bedrooms or more, are only entitled to a borough choice. All other applicants are permitted to select a development. Health emergency applicants have the option of project choice or borough choice.

For more information about NYCHA, please see the NYCHA Fact Sheet and the NYCHA Web site.

Guide to Applying for Public Housing