October 23, 2018

Affordable Housing Lottery Main Draw for UNHP 2018 Bronxtober Fest


On Saturday, October 20th, UNHP held its 2nd annual Bronxtober Fest – a daylong resource fair featuring 9 nonprofit experts, 4 NYC agencies, M&T Bank, and 23 student volunteers from Fordham University and Manhattan College. 87 Bronx residents attended the fair to get on-the-spot assistance and follow-up information. Thanks to our student volunteers, over 60 attendees enrolled in Housing Connect, NYC’s online affordable housing lottery.

The day was a success- according to the exit surveys and the happy faces! Housing Connect had an open lottery during our Bronxtober Fest for an affordable senior citizens development in West Farms. Many seniors came to the fair to apply – even though their chances of getting an apartment are slim.

Attendees had the opportunity to speak to legal representatives, bankers, counselors, advisers and program associates with public agencies and non-profit groups specializing in assistance to tenants, homeowners, small businesses, immigrants and first-time homebuyers. On-site NYC Housing Connect, NYC Rent FreezeReady to Rent financial coaching and eviction prevention assistance were popular and available throughout the day-long event. Special thanks to our neighborhood partner, Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation for the use of Concourse House and technical assistance.

Participating Bronxtober Fest Groups

UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center: Event Sponsor – Housing Connect enrollment on site, reduced fare metro cards for seniors, schedule appointments for 1:1 financial coaching, homeowner assistance, eviction prevention, and the NYC Rent Freeze.

NYC Commission on Human Rights, AAFE/Renaissance Group with information for homebuyers and small businesses, Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services and Ariva’s Ready to Rent financial counseling for renters were all on hand to provide assistance to the over 80 attendees.

Part of the Solution (POTS) assisted attendees with SNAP applications and information about the emergency food, immigration, and workforce programs at their nearby location, NYC Department of Finance provided assistance with the NYC Rent Freeze application and information about tax relief for NYC senior homeowners and the NWBCCC Weatherization Project was giving out energy efficient light bulbs and information about their many energy and cost-saving programs for Bronx tenants, homeowners and landlords.

Last year, UNHP became an HPD Housing Ambassador and began offering assistance to Bronx residents who want to apply for the NYC affordable housing lottery. Multifamily buildings, whose construction is financed by city funds, select tenants through a lottery system. Due to the affordability crisis in NYC, UNHP has had a hard time keeping up with the demand for this service. Thanks to the help of 20 student volunteers from Fordham University and 3 Manhattan College students, we were able to assist over 60 Bronxites to enroll in the lottery at Bronxtober Fest.

A big thank you to the 20 Fordham University and 3 Manhattan College students who woke up early to receive Housing Connect training and then deliver this valuable and sought after service to over 60 of their Bronx neighbors!

It was an especially popular service as an affordable housing project for very low-income senior citizens was open. UNHP is happy to provide this service, but it by no means addresses the affordable housing crisis for Bronx residents – many people do not earn enough income to qualify for the lotteries, chances of getting selected are low and people we’ve seen who get notified have very high lottery numbers. UNHP works to provide additional affordable housing services to help people remain housed and afford their rents. NYC Tenant Support Unit offers eviction prevention services twice a month at the NWBRC and UNHP assists seniors and people with disabilities freeze their rents via SCRIE and DRIE every week at the NWBRC. UNHP also works as part of our mission to create affordable housing and fight to preserve rent-stabilized multifamily buildings in the Bronx for the low-income families who live there now.

Jumelia, the NWBRC Director, Sandra from POTS and Katiuska Morel and her assistant take a break for a photo. Katiuska runs the Larimar Center and offers a variety of programs for children including afterschool tutoring and care and summer camp. Katiuska hosts UNHP’s Spanish language 5-week financial education – “Getting Ahead” – class set to start 11/6/18 – 23 Bronxtober Fest attendees signed up for the upcoming class.

Representatives from the NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) attended the Fair and offered information about the Housing Connect lottery process and provided a workshop and presentation about how to apply and what to expect.
Did you miss BronxtoberFest? Call UNHP at (718)933-2539 to make an appointment at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center or connect with our partners.