Downtown Brooklyn Residents Denied Affordable Housing For Making “Too Much Money”

August 4, 2014 | Marina Galperina

There are several swanky residential high-rises coming to Downtown Brooklyn. The developers of these luxury buildings need to fill a community board preference quota. There are roughly 1,000 affordable rent housing units planned for the neighborhood around BAM. These developers are now claiming that they can’t fill their quotas because there are not enough “qualifying” locals, DNAinfo reports.

One such building — 66 Rockwell Place — offers affordable studios and one-bedrooms priced between $546 to $748 a month, via a lottery which opened in March 2013. Their regular leasing begins at $2,400 for studio apartments and $3,300 for one-bedroom units. Orlando Ponce, a spokesman for 66 Rockwell Place, alleges that there are not enough “qualifying” locals because “the income level for people that live in these areas is just too high.”

Director of Churches United For Fair Housing Rob Solana disputes this claim. He says that locals who apply for the affordable housing are being disqualified for silly mistakes and aims to change this. Approximately 800 people piled into a church where he recently hosted an application workshop, with a line stretching down the block. He told the crowd:

Look around, obviously this workshop is necessary. There won’t be any more technicalities. We are going to make sure your applications are perfect… They won’t even look at applications that are sent in large envelopes or via Priority Mail. They will throw out paper applications that have whiteout on the sheets.

Most of the applicants are being rejected for their subpar credit. Public Advocate Letitia James noted the hypocrisy in offering and denying affordable housing to locals who could really use it:

Developers say the biggest obstacle to getting affordable housing in Downtown Brooklyn is credit. Raise your hand if you have an 800 credit score — I know I don’t.

(Image: 66 Rockwell rendering via Sreeteasy)