New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

NYCHA manages over 2,602 residential buildings and 178,895 apartments. It is the largest public housing authority in North America. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in one of the hundred thousand apartments located around the five boroughs of New York City. The public housing waiting list has over 160,000 applications.

New York City Housing Authority

The Difference between Public Housing and Section 8

The Section 8 Program enables eligible persons to rent privately owned apartments. Housing assistance payments are made to the private landlords. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. Section 8 voucher holders can choose to move and rent an apartment outside of New York city or anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as long as there is a Section 8 Program being administered in thatNew York City Housing Authority locality. You can rent an apartment at a higher rent but NYCHA will only pay the difference between the payment standard and the portion above 30% of income. The resident has to pay the difference if the rent is higher.

A family that is issued a housing choice voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family’s choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by NYCHA. A rental subsidy is paid to the owner directly by NYCHA on behalf of the family. The family then pays 30% of household income as the difference between the contract rent approved for the owner and the amount subsidized by the program.

Eligibility for Public Housing

  • You do not have to be a citizen of the United States to be eligible to apply for public housing but at least one member of your household must be a United States citizen or a non-citizen with eligible immigration status (e.g Permanent Resident, Refugee/Asylum statuses).
  • You do not have to be a resident of New York City to apply, but due to NYCHA’s long waiting list, available apartments will be offered to applicants who live or work in New York City first.
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or an emancipated minor to be eligible to apply for public housing.
  • An emancipated minor is a child who has been granted the status of adulthood by a court order or other formal arrangement. In the United States, there are three main ways for a teenager to become emancipated and they are: Court petition; Marriage and Military Service.
  • Single adults are eligible to apply for public housing.
  • To live in public housing for seniors, you or your co-head of household must be at least 62 years or older and all other household members must be 62 years of age or older to be eligible to live in public housing for seniors.

Applicants may not choose a specific development but may list a 1st and 2nd choice of borough (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island) on the application. If you are found eligible for public housing after your eligibility interview, you will be placed on a borough or development waiting list depending upon your priority and bedroom size requirement.

Income Limit

There is a maximum income that would make you eligible to apply for public housing. NYCHA uses the income limits developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The income for admission varies for the county or metropolitan area, so you may be eligible in one area and not the other.

County 2013 Income Limits
New York Very Low High
  $36,120 $56,700

Your application is selected by computer for an eligibility interview based on your borough choice, apartment size, housing priority and date of application.

You may be eligible for an apartment if:

  • The income limit of your family does not exceed the established Income Limits. You meet NYCHA's definition of family.
  • Your admission to a public housing development will not endanger the welfare and safety of other residents.
  • You and your co-applicant (spouse or domestic partner, if any) must be at least 18 years of age.

To be eligible for a senior building, you or your co-head (spouse or domestic partner, if any) must be at least 62 years of age and all other household members must be at least 62 years of age.

How much is the Rent?

New York City Housing Authority Your rent will be based on 30% of your household’s anticipated gross annual income less deductions. HUD regulations allow deductions of $480 for each dependent; $400 for elderly family, or a person with a disability; and some medical deductions for households headed by an elderly person or person with disabilities. Most but not all developments include utilities such as gas and electric with rent. If you rent at a development that does not include utilities, you will be responsible for paying for utilities directly. However, you will receive a utility allowance that will be deducted from your monthly rent.

Resident Community Service

Federal law requires all public housing residents who are not exempt to perform Community Service or Economic Self-Sufficiency activities for eight (8) hours each month as a condition of tenancy. NYCHA is engaging with residents and resident leaders to assist residents in performing the required service.

How to Apply for Public Housing

To be considered for an apartment in a public housing development, a completed application must be submitted. It is important for applicants to select their first borough choice carefully. No payment or fee should be given to anyone in connection with the preparation, filing or processing of an application for Public Housing. Applications are assigned a priority code based upon the information provided, and placed on the Housing Authority’s preliminary waiting list for an eligibility interview.

  • Online: Applicants can now apply online for public housing.
  • In Person: Applications for public housing are available for pick up at any of the three Customer Contact Centers. No appointment is necessary.
  • Mail: You can request to have an application mailed to you by completing the Application Request Form.
  • Call: You can call the Customer Contact Center at (718) 707-7771 to request an application be mailed to you.

Completed applications should be mailed to the following address:
New York City Housing Authority
Post Office Box 19205
Long Island City, NY 11101-9998

Applicants can call or visit any of the three regional Customer Contact Centers.
Bronx/Manhattan Customer Contact Center
478 East Fordham Road (1 Fordham Plaza), 2nd Floor
Bronx, NY 10458
Telephone: (718) 707-7771 Mon.- Fri. 8am - 5pm

Brooklyn/Staten Island Customer Contact Center
787 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Telephone: (718) 707-7771 Mon. - Fri. 8am - 5pm

Queens Customer Contact Center
90-27 Sutphin Boulevard, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
Telephone: (718) 707-7771 Mon. - Fri. 8am - 5pm

After attending the eligibility interview and you are found to be preliminarily eligible for Public Housing, you will be notified by mail that you have been placed on either the borough wait list or development wait list.

The Section 8 waiting list is currently closed except to emergency applicants in the following categories:

  • Victim of Domestic Violence
  • Intimidated Witness referred by the District Attorney’s Office
  • Applicants referred by the Administration for Children’s Services under the Independent Living or Family Reunification Programs

Tenant Selection & Assignment Plan

The New York City Housing Authority has adopted this Tenant Selection & Assignment Plan (the "TSAP" or "Plan") to assure that it receives and processes applications for conventional public housing efficiently and in accordance with the laws.

Contact Details:
New York City Housing Authority
250 Broadway
New York, New York 10007
Phone: 212-306-3000

Click Here to Download New York City Guide to Applying for Public Housing