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A 30-year-old woman in New York only pays around $1,000 in rent for her aesthetically pleasing, cozy and up-to-date one-bedroom Manhattan apartment after throwing her tenant hat into the New York City affordable housing lottery ring for two years.

According to Business Insider, Nkenge Brown applied for the city’s housing lottery after someone introduced her to it four years before she applied. At that time, she lived with her mother and worked in the tech industry.

It wasn’t until she decided she was ready to move out that she applied. 

“That’s when I started to apply,” she told the outlet. But, of course, with these things, I know they take time, so I was hoping for the best.”

New York City’s affordable housing lotteries are an extensive but free process overseen by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Housing Development Corporation.

Qualifying for the affordable housing lottery depends on age (18 and over), housing size and income (applicants’ salaries must fall within the income ranges).

As Brown endured the long and demanding process, she encountered many issues.

“It took me maybe over a year before I started hearing back from different properties that I applied to,” Brown admitted. “Some of them I ended up not qualifying for, some of them I didn’t provide enough documentation for.”

While an upside to the housing lottery is the affordable rent, one downside is that the site doesn’t specify appliances in the apartment, and applicants can’t see the apartment until they’ve submitted all their documentation.

“So there is a chance that you may not even want the place, but you still have to submit your documents first,” Brown stated.

Before hearing any updates regarding her application status, Brown made a daring move by quitting her tech job to work as a freelance photographer and content creator. She also moved into an apartment where rent sat at nearly $2,000.

Luckily, she was selected in the housing lottery, which saved her from paying over $2,000 for the expensive apartment if she stayed another year.

It took three months after receiving the news of her winning the housing lottery jackpot to move into her one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, a neighborhood in west Manhattan.

While her apartment costs $1,081 a month, she has an $85 utility allowance. Therefore, Brown only pays $996 monthly for rent and $54 in amenity fees.

Brown is blessed because, according to, rent for a one-bedroom sits between $4,500 to $7,200. 

“The day I moved in, I was super excited. I felt blessed,” Brown said. “It was like things were coming together, with the opportunity for me to take my business to the next level in a way that doesn’t stress me out about bills and all the things that adulting has to offer.”

It has been a year, and Brown is enjoying her lively apartment with bright-colored furniture and plants. As for appliances, she has a washer and dryer, dishwasher and refrigerator, which many apartments aren’t lucky to have.

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