Places of Change: Transitional Shelter to Permanent Resource

Last Friday, October 25th, over 20 experts on homeless policy, government, finance, architecture, and the hospitality industry came together for an engaging roundtable discussion, “Places of Change: Transitional Shelter to Permanent Resource.” This was a unique opportunity for those assembled to draw across experience and industry to rethink shelter design.

Chef Christopher Bradley discusses shared dining options.

Chef Christopher Bradley discusses shared dining options.

The question at the heart of the discussion was; “How can more flexible facilities be designed as resources to the city, those in need, and the communities where they are located?”

Inspired by CHPC’s Making Room project, DHS staff considered facility design ideas that are able to adapt to changing family sizes and changing demand. The discussion, which was over a year in the making, got the ball rolling on many new and exciting ideas for how to change shelter systems from perceived burden to community asset.

Many of the suggestions for re-imagining emergency shelters focused on creating, maintaining, and making community oriented spaces both more inviting and utilitarian. This was a great starting point, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.

What do you think could change shelter facilities to better serve New Yorkers most in need? How can they be better integrated into the surrounding community? How can cost effectiveness also be improved?

Click here for the full report, and to see how the roundtable participants answered these questions.


CHPC Discusses Three-Quarter Houses

CHPC’s Executive Director, Jerilyn Perine, participated today in the panel discussion following the presentation of Three-Quarter Houses: The View from the Inside at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. This report by Robert Riggs and Tasha Burnett analyzes the role of three-quarter houses in the recovery and reintegration process for people facing substance abuse or who have been recently released from prison. The report also sheds light on the poor conditions in many three-quarter houses and the requirements that operators commonly place on residents to participate in recovery programs. 

The panel discussion, which was moderated by Ann Jacobs from the Prisoner Reentry Institute, also featured Joanne Page from The Fortune Society and Tanya Kessler from MFY Legal Services. The panelists discussed the challenges to enforcing tenant protections in three-quarter houses and the need to ensure that residents can access the treatment programs and social services they need rather than those for which operators receive funding. Jerilyn Perine put three-quarter houses in the context of the many informal housing arrangements that have emerged in response to an outdated housing stock that no longer meets the needs of increasing numbers of single-person households.

Through its Making Room initiative, CHPC has been focused on exploring regulatory changes that would enable the development and legalization of smaller units to provide safe housing to the rising numbers of single-person households, such as those currently finding their only options in underground three-quarter houses.


Occasional Series Event: Three-Quarter Houses – The View From Inside – Report Release and Discussion Panel

CHPC’s Executive Director, Jerilyn Perine will take part in a discussion on “Three Quarter Houses: The View from Inside” at John Jay College.   The problem of housing New York City’s most vulnerable individuals has given rise to a growing market of privately operated, for-profit residences known as Three-Quarter Houses. For all intents and purposes, these houses have become an informal extension of the City’s apparatus for keeping vulnerable men and women off of the streets. Yet they lack any formal regulation or oversight, rendering the houses invisible to most citizens and policymakers.

The findings of PRI’s research on Three-Quarter Houses are troubling indications of what occurs when the city’s poorest and most marginalized individuals are left with no affordable or accessible housing options and must instead fend for themselves in an unregulated, informal housing market.


Executive Director to Moderate Panel Discussion at ULI's Fall Meeting in Chicago

Executive Director of CHPC, Jerilyn Perine will moderate the panel discussion  “Shared Housing Meets Micro Real Estate: Mining a Multi-Billion Dollar Underground Market in Search of Game-Changing Insights”.  

Pioneering developers will discuss how they are re-imagining housing solutions for first-time urban renters and galvanizing participants in the multifamily sector to bring the shared housing model out of the shadows of the underground market. Hear about the powerful demographic, socioeconomic and psychographic trends behind the emergence of the multi-billion dollar room-share market facilitated by Craigslist and similar websites.


CHPC Testifies In Favor of HPD adAPT Application

CHPC  Testifies In Favor of HPD’s Winning AdAPT RFP

On Wednesday, October 2nd, we testified in favor of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s application for the adAPT RFP at the hearing of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises of the City Council’s Land Use Committee. You can read our full testimony here:


The Citizens Housing & Planning Council supports the application of HPD’s winning AdAPT RFP submission.

Our work on this issue resulted not from a preconceived idea to advance the creation of small apartments, but rather resulted from a simple question: As our population grows how will it be accommodated into a housing stock with a historically low vacancy rate?

To answer this question it was important to look at the shape and nature of our households –

  • fully one third (33%) of our housing units are occupied by a single person living alone (in Manhattan that number is 46% and in CB #6 it is 59%);
  • 17% are occupied by a family with at least one additional adult over the age of 25;
  • 6% are occupied by single adults who admit to sharing;
  • 26% are either couples or single parents;
  • and 17% are occupied by nuclear families.

Looked at another way 56% of our housing units are occupied by single persons who are either living alone or sharing with others.

One need only look on Craig’s list to see the results of this population shift which reveals the informal housing market that most new entrants into the housing marketplace must turn to.

CHPC’s Making Room initiative is specifically focused on three housing types for the New York City marketplace which will provide more housing choice for those in the informal housing market:

1. Small, efficient studios designed for single person households;

2. Legal shared housing options for unrelated adults;

3. Accessory units to make a single family home more flexible for extended families or additional renters.

We developed a unique data model and methodology that revealed a substantial mismatch between the types of housing units available in New York City and the shape of our 21st century households. Our diverse households are trying to fit themselves into homes and apartments not designed for their needs. And our housing is unable to evolve because the size, shape, and even occupancy requirements of our homes are governed by old-fashioned laws and codes.

In 2009, we hosted an international design symposium to acquaint a New York City audience with housing design innovation occurring all around the world that is responding to the needs of the growing single population, changing demographics, and booming cities.

In 2011, CHPC partnered with the Architectural League of NY to commission five architectural teams to take on a unique challenge: design an array of accommodating, desirable, safe living units for singles, shared households, and extended families, without the current restrictions of certain housing regulations, including minimum unit size, density calculations, and occupancy standards. The designs were presented at a showcase event at the Japan Society of New York.

This work became the basis for Making Room exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York which attracted more than 120,000 visitors.

We were encouraged by the Administration’s innovative AdAPT RFP which provided regulatory relief that would allow small units and greater density which attracted worldwide interest and tapped into the unmet need for housing for single people.  What was clear from the submissions is that single adults, like everyone else, are seeking not just a place to live but to become part of a community that is shared.  This trend is evidenced in the recent work of NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo, which reaffirms that this trend is national, growing, and reveals a population seeking civic engagement and community connection, not a diminished public life.

In addition we were encouraged by the positive response from environmental advocates who have recognized that living in small or shared spaces, especially when paired with mass transit are the greenest contributions that we can make to the environment.

And we look forward to the new efforts spearheaded by organizations working in our city’s new immigrant communities to enact regulatory reform that will permit a path to legalization for basement/cellar apartments through the creation of accessory dwelling units.

We believe that regulatory relief to encourage smaller units, denser buildings, units that can be legally shared by single adults, and permit accessory dwelling units in small homes will help to eradicate the informal housing market and provide more housing choice for all New Yorkers.


Note: All data is based on 2011 American Community Survey with a model by CHPC to identify single persons over the age of 25