City Supports Shared Living Housing

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. Image Credit: William Alatriste/NYC Council

HPD launches ShareNYC, a pilot program to help developers finance affordable co-living housing. Co-living housing units supported by the City are headed for New York. On November 1, 2018, the City’s Department of Housing and Preservation and Development announced ShareNYC, an initiative to encourage the development of affordable, shared housing units on privately owned sites with the support of City funds. Developers will be permitted to enter bids for financing which will be provided through a combination of loan programs, tax incentives, and tax credits.

Shared housing consists of two or more independently occupied rooms that share a kitchen and/or a bathroom. These units are similar to college dormitories, which commonly have a private sleeping space with jointly-used living spaces for all occupants. Shared housing in the City traces its roots further back than student spaces. In the 19th and the early 20th centuries, much of City’s housing consisted of boarding houses. Boarding houses were popular among single, working class men and women who typically rented rooms on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis. The appeal of boarding houses declined in mid-20th century as rising affluence enabled more residents to live on their own.

The co‐living trend has resurged in the City. To date, at least ten co-living companies are developing co-living apartments in the City. The City’s current single room occupancy laws, however, impose restrictions on the number of unrelated tenants who may legally inhabit a single shared space. A modern, private market for co-living spaces has nonetheless emerged, particularly in millennial Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Bushwick. These residences, however, are being offered at luxury rent prices averaging about $1,800 a month for a room.

The City hopes that the ShareNYC initiative will help to remedy the lack of affordable housing options for the quarter-million single New Yorkers, many of whom spend over half their income on rent. According to HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, “A big reason [HPD is] pursuing ShareNYC is the mismatch between existing housing stock and the changing composition [and] demands of NYC residents. Affordable shared housing will help address that [mismatch].”

The new ShareNYC initiative is a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing 2.0 initiative to create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. The City will issue a Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) asking private developers to submit design and construction plans for privately owned sites throughout the City. Proposals must include detailed management, maintenance, and operations plans. Preference will be given to proposals that provide affordable units for low income and formerly homeless individuals. The housing units can be new construction, preserved, converted or adaptively reused, and may be standard-sized or micro units, ranging from 150 to 400 square feet per bedroom. Preference will be given to proposals for a mix of units.


(CIT) HPD ShareNYC 2018


By: Tiffany Kong (Tiffany is a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2019.)

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