Affordable housing lottery offering $1,482/month micro units now open for application from the 1%

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A rendering of the "affordable" tower in question

What a world it is that depending on the branding for a tiny apartment, it is associated with wealth and luxury or poverty and desperation. SROs (Single Room Occupancies) are largely illegal in the New York rental market, but “micro units” are considered All The Rage and have turned lacking space into a trend among the New York elite. So it’s quite the combo that Brooklyn’s most recent affordable housing lottery at “Caesura” – 280 Ashland Place in Fort Greene – to open includes 13 micro units. Sure, the phrase micro unit doesn’t necessarily imply anything but a small amount of square footage, but nothing exists in a void and the cultural implication is the voluntary choice of an itty bitty habitation space. Perhaps you purposefully chose to live in a teeny apartment because you’re a minimalist, or because you’ve sworn off capitalism, your possessions and your trust fund roots. The people who are (supposed to) qualify for affordable housing aren’t trust fund minimalists, they’re New York’s most in need. And less is not often more when you’re in need of shelter.

But wait, it gets better! These “affordable” micro units will be asking up to $1,482/month from the single humans who win them.

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Rendering via developer
Rendering via developer

No doubt tens of thousands of applicants will vie for the units, but considering how massive a tax write-off the developers got for each of those subsidized micro units (the building was constructed through everyone’s favorite, Albany-approved, anachronistic tax rebate: 421-a) you’d think they could afford to offer lottery winners a halfway decently sized apartment. Or a halfway decent rent, even.

The available units are split into two groups: those deemed affordable for households making 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI) and those deemed affordable for people making 130 percent of the AMI. In other words, these units aren’t even affordable for the area’s middle income residents, let alone low income households, just residents who make exponentially more than most Forte Greene tenants. This is a great lottery to use as evidence for undermining de Blasio’s supposedly “affordable” housing plan.

Of the available units for those making 80 percent AMI, there are 7 micro units, 3 studios, 3 one-bedrooms, and 12 two-bedrooms up for lottery. The micro units will run you $886/month, the studios $1,078/month, the one-bedrooms $1,360/month, and the two-bedrooms $1,642/month. The micro units and studios will be leased to single person families, making between $32,709 – $66,800 a year in the case of the micro units and $39,292 – $66,800 in the case of the studios. One-bedrooms are available to one- to two-person families making between $49,098 – $76,400 annually and two-bedrooms will go to two- to four-person families making between $58,903 – $95,400 annually.

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Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 3.05.25 PM

For those making 130 percent AMI – good for you. How nice it must be to qualify for affordable housing and have a six digit salary. In this income bracket the lottery has 6 micro units, 3 studios, 3 one-bedrooms, and 12 two-bedrooms. The rents are not even remotely affordable, but here they are: $1,482/month for a micro unit, $1,794/month for a studio, $2,255/month for a one-bedroom, and $2,715/month for a two-bedroom. Micro units and studios will go to single person households making, for micro units, $53,144 – $110,220 a year, and for studios, $63,840 – $110,220 a year. One-bedrooms will go to one- to two-person households with an annual income of $79,783 – $110,220, and two-bedrooms will go to two- to four-person households making between $95,692 and $157,410 a year. Good golly miss molly, what is wrong with New York City housing that these are the people who qualify for “affordable” units in 2017?

Amenities for those who not only make the cushy salaries to qualify but also have the good fortune to win a not actually affordable unit will enjoy amenities including a “hospitality station”, fitness room, community lounge, conservatory, roof terrace and, for additional fees, bike storage, laundry room and “Ollie”. Jeepers.

Per usual, a portion of units will go to those with mobility, vision, or hearing disabilities, municipal employees, and area residents (in this case, those living within Brooklyn Community Board 2).

The lottery will be accepting applications through July 12 at midnight. Don’t be scammed: There’s never a broker’s fee for these lotteries and you should apply through NYC Housing Connect.

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