NYC Dept of HPD: Tools to Aid Affordable Housing Application

Social Impact Strategy
About This Project


Making the Affordable Housing Lottery Process Accessible to All New Yorkers


As a fellow at the Public Policy Lab, Creative Director Kristina Drury joined a team of designers, planners, and innovators to connect NYC Housing Preservation’s services with their community.


As described in the press release: “The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design and the Public Policy Lab have announced an innovative new partnership to explore ways to facilitate the involvement of community residents in the development of housing-related services in neighborhoods with significant public and private sector investment leveraged by HPD.”



Throughout the fellowship, the design team conducted community research using surveys, workshops and prototypes to gain valuable feedback from those most impacted by the housing lottery process.


As the community engagement lead, Kristina designed and conducted street surveys, workshops with HPD leadership and community, and outreach materials as part of a rigorous needs assessment process. Through these engagements, she and the team of fellows acquired insight into the community’s awareness of services, perception of the services’ efficiency and suggestions as to how services can be more effective. Additionally, the team gained valuable feedback as to the community’s existing needs, misconceptions, and gaps of information about the process.


This co-creative groundwork provided the foundation for a redesign of materials that support the application process for affordable housing.  The team worked to produce a set of materials that would be widely accessible to New Yorkers and demystify the affordable housing lottery process.




Citywide program adoption

In November 2013, Public Policy Lab’s fellows released a publication outlining the design process and four proposals to raise awareness and provide community-based education around the Affordable Housing Lottery Process. By 2014, all four service proposals had been adopted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development.


Public Sector innovation

HPD began piloting the informational materials in the Spring of 2014. In the fall, the Lab’s recommended community-based engagement strategies—hyper-local marketing, housing ambassadors, and street team—were also successfully piloted. Since its initial launch, the communications toolkit has been downloaded by over 500,000 New Yorkers and translated into six languages.
Download the Affordable Housing Lottery tools: What to Expect and After you Apply


Download the publication: Public & Collaborative: Designing Services for Housing



Client: New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development


Collaborators: Kristina Drury, Public Policy Lab, Public Policy Lab fellows


Year: 2012-2014