Chapter 2: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity 

  1. Legal Overview

The laws that shape NYCHA’s policies in Chapter 2 include:

  1. Key Acronyms

    • CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
    • ODEI: Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (NYCHA)
    • HUD: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • LEP: Limited English Proficiency
    • LSU: Language Services Unit (NYCHA)
    • NYCHA: New York City Housing Authority
    • PHRAC: Public Housing Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator
    • SPD: Services for People with Disabilities (NYCHA)
    • TTY: Teletypewriter
    • USC: United States Code
    • VAWA: Violence Against Women Act
  1. Fair Housing and Equal Access

      1. Nondiscrimination

It is NYCHA’s policy to provide equal housing opportunities for all qualified applicants, transferees, and residents. In the selection of households and in the provision of services, NYCHA will not discriminate against any person on the grounds of race; color; religion; national origin; sex; sexual orientation; actual or perceived gender identity; age; familial status; marital status; partnership status; military status; disability; lawful occupation; alienage or citizenship status; actual or perceived height or weight; or status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

      1. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

NYCHA reaffirms its commitment to affirmatively further fair housing through its sustained relationships with residents, applicants, advocates, and organizations that assist people with disabilities and promote fair housing. NYCHA’s Services for People with Disabilities (SPD) Unit assists applicants and residents with disabilities in obtaining decent, affordable, and accessible housing in NYCHA developments. SPD serves as a liaison between persons with disabilities and NYCHA. Applicants, residents, and others in need of assistance with disabilities may call SPD’s hotline at 212-306-4652 or teletypewriter (TTY) at 212-306-4845.

Residents and applicants may file housing discrimination complaints with NYCHA by contacting the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). Complaints are investigated internally to determine if the individual has been the subject of unlawful discrimination and whether corrective action is necessary.

NYCHA’s ODEI provides annual updates to NYCHA’s Fair Housing Non-Discrimination Policy, Equal Employment Non-Discrimination Policy, and Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. These policies are available on the ODEI webpage and NYCHA’s website and in audio format at 212-306-4600.

  1. Reasonable Accommodation

The Fair Housing Act and other federal laws require reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, and services so that persons with physical disabilities including but not limited to motor impairment, cognitive disabilities, mental health diagnoses, or special needs have equal opportunity to use and enjoy programs or housing. The information in this section describes some common types of reasonable accommodations provided by NYCHA. Please note the accommodations described below are examples and do not represent a comprehensive list of reasonable accommodations that may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

      1. Program Accessibility

Upon request, and as appropriate on a case-by-case basis, NYCHA provides reasonable aids and services for effective communication to qualified applicants and residents with disabilities to allow participation in NYCHA programs, services, or activities.

Applicants and residents who are blind or have a visual impairment may request that notices be sent to them in an alternative format. Applicants and residents who are hearing-impaired may request accommodations for verbal communication. NYCHA considers requests for communications in an alternative format on a case-by-case basis.

      1. Physical Accessibility

NYCHA residents with mobility impairments, physical disabilities, and/or other special needs may request transfers to apartments that have features that meet their specific needs. They may also request modifications to their current apartments to meet their needs, and/or modifications to NYCHA facilities to make them physically accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. NYCHA considers these requests on a case-by-case basis.

      1. How to Request an Accommodation

Public housing residents/applicants who wish to request reasonable accommodations may do so online via NYCHA’s Self-Service Portal or by contacting:

      • Their property management office
      • Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771
      • A NYCHA Walk-In Customer Contact Center:
        • Bronx/Manhattan/Queens
          478 East Fordham Road (1 Fordham Plaza), 2nd Floor
          Bronx, NY 10458
          Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
        • Brooklyn/Staten Island/Queens
          787 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd Floor
          Brooklyn, NY 11238
          Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • NYCHA’s SPD Unit by calling 212-306-4652, or 212-306-4845 (TTY)
      1. Processing Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Submitted requests and supporting documentation are reviewed by NYCHA on a case-by-case basis. If a NYCHA department cannot approve a request, it is referred to the Public Housing Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator (PHRAC) to make a decision. If additional time or documentation is needed, PHRAC contacts the applicant or resident to discuss the request. PHRAC can be reached at 212-306-6079 or via email at rarequests@nycha.nyc.gov. NYCHA provides a written notification of the decision for each request.

      1. Applicant’s/Resident’s Options if Reasonable Accommodation Request is Denied

Public housing applicants and residents may request an Informal Conference with the PHRAC if their request is not granted by the NYCHA department. The applicant or resident has 30 calendar days to submit additional supporting documentation to PHRAC. If the additional supporting documentation is sufficient, the request is approved.. If not, the request is sent for a Grievance Hearing. If a housing applicant or resident believes that a reasonable accommodation for a disability has been denied in error, or that NYCHA has denied housing or retaliated because a reasonable accommodation has been requested, a complaint can be filed with any of the offices listed below. Reasonable accommodation requests will not be denied without first considering them on a case-by-case basis.

      • NYCHA Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), 90 Church Street, 6th floor, NY, NY 10007, 212-306-4468, www.nyc.gov/nycha
      • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) NY Regional Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3541, NY, NY 10278, 212-306-4468, www.hud.gov
      • New York State Division of Human Rights, One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, NY 10458, 888-392-3644, www.dhr.ny.gov
      • New York City Commission on Human Rights, 22 Reade Street, NY, NY 10007, 718-722-3131, www.nyc.gov/site/cchr/index.page
  1. Policies Related to Persons with Limited English Proficiency

Based on HUD guidance (Federal Register at 72 FR 2732), NYCHA takes reasonable steps to ensure applicants and residents with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) may effectively participate in and benefit from NYCHA programs and services.

NYCHA’s Language Services Unit (LSU) regularly assesses NYCHA’s language assistance needs, monitors NYCHA’s language delivery assistance services, and makes recommendations for modifications to NYCHA’s delivery of language assistance services to persons with LEP.

NYCHA makes translations of vital documents available in the languages it most frequently encounters.

For telephonic interpretation services, NYCHA may provide the services directly or transfer the call to the Language Assistance Hotline for assistance through an external language vendor that provides on-demand, over-the-phone interpretation services in more than 100 languages.

NYCHA’s Self-Service Portal, located at https://selfserve.nycha.info/, allows applicants to apply for NYCHA housing. Google Translate is available for use in the Self-Service Portal and on NYCHA’s website to assist persons with LEP.

MyNYCHA, located at https://my.nycha.info/MyNYCHA, allows residents to request services for their apartments; subscribe to alerts for outages in their development; view inspection appointments; and pay their rent via a desktop or mobile device. MyNYCHA is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

  1. Providing Information to Individuals

The following policies are permanently posted inside every management office:

  1. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), 42 USC 14043e et seq., is a federal law providing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (VAWA incidents), regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, who are applying for or are receiving assistance under the Public Housing program. Refer to Appendix A, Glossary for definitions.

      1. Applicants

VAWA protects applicants from being denied admission to federally funded housing programs, including public housing, because they are victims of VAWA incidents. VAWA incidents cannot be the basis for denying admission of any household member other than denial of the abuser(s). In addition, victims of domestic violence may be eligible for a waiting list preference.

      1. Residents

VAWA protects residents of federally funded housing programs, including public housing, and their immediate household members from being evicted because they are victims of VAWA incidents. Under VAWA, NYCHA may bifurcate the lease to terminate the tenancies of those living in a household who perpetrate VAWA incidents while protecting victims and other household members.

          1. VAWA Protections and Notifications

VAWA protections extend to “affiliated individuals” including immediate family members as well as any lawful occupant of the apartment. A VAWA victim does not have to be related to the abuser by blood or marriage to receive protection under VAWA.

Other household members are given a reasonable amount of time to establish eligibility for assistance or to find alternative housing if a sole lessee is terminated based on a VAWA incident.

In accordance with federal regulations, NYCHA provides residents with NYCHA Form 040.683, VAWA Victim Certification, and NYCHA Form 040.683A, Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act:

            • At the time the applicant is denied residency in a dwelling unit assisted under the covered housing program; Applicant receives 040.683 - VAWA Victim Certification Form and 040.683A - Notice of Occupancy Rights Under the Violence Against Women Act
            • At the time the individual is admitted to a dwelling unit assisted under the covered housing program. As part of the lease packet, individual receives 040.683 - VAWA Victim Certification Form and 040.683A - Notice of Occupancy Rights Under the Violence Against Women Act; emergency transfers receive 040.923A - Emergency Transfer Information Sheet for VAWA Victims.
            • With any notification of eviction or notification of termination of assistance.
          1. Prohibited Basis for Termination or Eviction

VAWA incidents cannot be the basis for terminating the tenancy of any household member other than the tenancy of the abuser(s). In addition, a tenancy cannot be terminated as a direct result of the fact that the resident is or has been a victim of a VAWA incident. Refer to Chapter 11(f), Terminations Related to VAWA, for more information.

          1. Limitations of VAWA Protections

There are some persons for whom the VAWA protections are unavailable, including household members with temporary permission and live-in aides. However, as a reasonable accommodation, a resident may request VAWA protections on the grounds that the live-in aide is a victim of a VAWA incident.

          1. Documentation

In order for VAWA protections to apply, a resident must submit one of the following forms of documentation to NYCHA:

            • NYCHA Form 040.683, VAWA: Victim Certification-HUD Form No. 5382, signed by the VAWA victim; or
            • Documentation signed and attested to by a professional (defined as an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider; an attorney; a medical professional; or a mental health professional) from whom the victim has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effect of the abuse. The professional must attest, under penalty of perjury, that the professional believes the incident that is the ground for protection occurred, and that the incident meets the definition of the applicable abusive action; or
            • A record of a law enforcement agency, court, or administrative agency, such as a police report, a court record, or an administrative agency record describing the incident(s) in question; or
            • At NYCHA’s discretion, a statement or other evidence provided by the resident may also be accepted.

If the resident claims protections under VAWA, NYCHA provides the resident with a written request for documentation and instructs the resident to provide documentation within 14 business days. NYCHA may grant an extension of the 14-business day period at the resident’s request if the resident provides valid reasons for an extension.

If the resident submits completed documentation as described above, NYCHA is prohibited from requesting any additional documentation to show someone is a VAWA victim unless there are cross-complaints or other conflicting claims about the abuse.

          1. Cross-Complaints or Other Conflicting Documentation

If NYCHA receives conflicting information or cross-complaints from two or more members of a household claiming to be victims of a VAWA incident and naming each other as the abuser, NYCHA may then ask each household member who claims to be a victim to provide third-party documentation so that NYCHA can try to determine which household member is the victim and which household member is the abuser.

If documentation does not identify a victim and perpetrator, NYCHA sends both complainants NYCHA Form 040.927, VAWA Cross-Complaints: Denial Based on Insufficient Verification, notifying them that their conflicting requests for protections under VAWA are denied because NYCHA was unable to make a determination based on the documentation provided. NYCHA does not take any adverse action against the tenancy.

          1. Failure to Provide Documentation

If the resident and/or cross-complainant does not submit documentation within the required period, including any extensions, NYCHA denies the request for protection under VAWA.

          1. Remedies Available to Victims

Emergency Transfers

Victims of VAWA incidents may be eligible for an emergency transfer if they apply for and meet the requirements in Chapter 10(f)(i) Victim under VAWA.

Split Household/Bifurcation of Tenancy

VAWA gives NYCHA the option of “bifurcating” or “splitting” the tenancy to terminate the rights of a resident or authorized household member who engages in activity directly relating to VAWA incidents committed against another person in the household or an affiliated individual.

Rent is recalculated following bifurcation, taking into consideration the remaining household members’ income and immigration status (refer to Chapter 8(f), Interim Recertifications, for more information).

      1. Confidentiality

NYCHA maintains VAWA information in confidence, except to the extent that the victim provides written consent to release information by signing NYCHA Form 040.682, VAWA: Consent to Release Documents.

The information provided by a resident to verify their status as a victim is shared only with those NYCHA employees who need access in order to provide services to the resident.


Effective: 1/1/24
Last Revision: 12/15/23