June 6, 2012
DiNapoli: NYC Veterans Missing Out on Housing
City Housing Officials Need to Improve Oversight of Developments
Few veterans living in New York City have benefited from a state law giving them preference when applying for apartments in Mitchell-Lama housing developments, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
In October 2010, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD) informed the Mitchell-Lama developments it supervises about the changes and directed them to revise their application forms, notify applicants on their waiting lists about the new preference and request that veterans submit proof of eligibility.
DiNapoli’s auditors reviewed 18 developments supervised by the NYC HPD. Those developments filled 332 vacancies during the nine months ended September 30, 2011, but only 14 of the units went to veterans. Three months after the directive, 13 of the 18 developments were still not meeting all of the notification and updating requirements.
As a result of DiNapoli’s audit, three developments began notifying applicants on their waiting lists about the veterans’ preference. Each reported they subsequently received responses from a few applicants, indicating Mitchell-Lama waiting lists across the city likely contain the names of veterans who are not receiving preferential treatment. There are more than 200,000 veterans living in New York City, according to U.S. Census data.
Auditors also discovered that two Manhattan developments – Hamilton House and Clinton Towers – filled vacancies without offering those units to any of the veterans identified on their waiting lists.
A similar audit of the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal released in May 2011 had similar findings.
DiNapoli’s audit recommends NYC HPD:
NYC HPD officials generally agreed with the auditís findings and indicated they have begun taking steps to implement them.
A copy of the full audit can be seen here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093012/11n3.pdf