Officials must extend the deadline to apply for an apartment in the Towers of Bay Ridge, because they sent out paperwork too late for people to actually fill out and return by the Dec. 23 deadline, locals are demanding.
Anyone interested in living in the co-ops had to request a sign-up form by Nov. 18 and had until Dec. 23 to mail the paperwork to the company running the twin monoliths’ housing lottery. But many did not receive their applications until just before the deadline, leaving them little time to sign on the dotted line and mail the forms back. The deadline was extended to Jan. 3, but that is not enough time for people traveling for the holidays, one applicant griped.
“They absolutely need to extend the deadline. What do they expect they gave almost no information and I can’t get a hold of anyone to figure out what’s going on,” said Bay Ridgite Jennifer Weisbrich, who received an application on Dec. 21 and had just two days to fill it out and mail it back. “I mean the fact that I’m contacting a newspaper to learn more information about a state processes is ridiculous. They should have more information available. A place to go to learn more. Someone available to speak to. Something. Anything.”
The Towers of Bay Ridge are part of the state-supervised Mitchell-Lama program, which provides below-market-rate rental and cooperative housing to middle-income families, but the agency that oversees the program — the office of Homes and Community Renewal — does not facilitate wait-list lotteries and instead has individual co-ops farm out lottery duties to third-party companies.
Long Island-based Election Services United Corporation is running the Towers’ lotto, and officials there did not return requests for comment.
But a rep from the company told state Sen. Diane Savino’s (D–Bay Ridge) office that workers mailed the applications in mid-November, according to a Savino rep who said her office has received complaints about the delays from across the city.
It’s unclear who bungled the process, a spokeswoman for the lawmaker said.
A honcho at Election Services United Corporation told Savino’s office that the company mailed the papers with ample time for applicants to return them, and claimed the postal service is to blame, but a supervisor at the Garden City post office where the applications were mailed from claimed it was not the branch’s fault.
Savino’s office continues to field complaints about the application process, and workers there are at their wits’ end, because neither the state nor Election Services United is making it easy to get to the bottom of things, one staffer said.
“At this point, I just want people to have the correct information, and I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know if that’s possible because no one seems to know for sure what happened,” said Savino rep Shannon Watkins.