Bay Ridge Towers lotto a hot mess, burned applicants say

The Bay Ridge Towers.
Photo by Caroline Spivack

It’s been a whole lotto trouble.

The private company running the affordable housing lottery at the Towers of Bay Ridge bungled the drawing so bad that dozens of residents still haven’t even received their applications forms — even though the deadline to return filled-out applications was more than a week ago, frustrated housing hopefuls are saying.

“It’s insane that after all this time so many of us still haven’t gotten applications — or even word on what’s going on,” said Keith Atherholt, who was born and raised in Bay Ridge and recently moved to Staten Island for cheaper housing. “Getting one of these apartments is a big deal. Getting affordable housing in Bay Ridge is like hitting the lottery. It’s so valuable, we can’t afford these screw-ups. This is something that has to be done correctly and fairly.”

Those hoping to snag a coveted co-op in the towers had to request a sign-up form by Nov. 18 and return the completed application by Dec. 23 to Long Island-based Election Services United Corporation, which is running the wait-list lotto. But many did not receive applications until a few days before the cutoff, so the company extended the deadline to Jan. 3.

But many like Atherholt still haven’t even gotten the application, and they are fuming that they did not get a chance to throw their name into the running for a cheap pad, said another would-be application.

“All I want is a chance to put my name on the list. That’s all,” said Bay Ridgite Moira Knutsen. “And honestly, I think at this point everyone is just waiting for people to get tired and give up because no one is listening to us — no one wants to deal with us. We’re just in limbo here.”

Atherholt — who requested an application on Oct. 28 but never received a application — started a Facebook group on Jan. 3 for other disenfranchised applicants. It gained 50 members in just 24 hours.

Locals are hoping future lottos will happen online, but in the mean time are looking into getting a lawyer to put an injunction on the lotto, so jilted applicants can finally have a shot at applying once officials get their act together.

“We’d like to see this latest disaster thrown in the garbage and start over from scratch, honestly,” said Atherholt. “But we need to hold people accountable and we need to at least try and get this to somehow work out.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.