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NYC to partner with co-living start-ups to create affordable housing

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Three new shared housing projects will provide close to 300 beds for New Yorkers

Courtesy of Common

Nearly a year after the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced a pilot program to develop affordable co-living residences, three proposals have been chosen to kick the whole thing off.

HPD announced this week that it will partner with three teams, comprising developers, nonprofits, and co-living companies, to develop sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In a press release, HPD commissioner Louise Carroll said the idea with the selected proposals is to mix “affordability with flexibility” to provide different types of housing to New Yorkers in need of affordable apartments.

“I hope that these three projects can serve as a model for more creative approaches to addressing the variety of unmet housing needs in our city,” City Council member Brad Lander said in a statement.

The three projects are as follows:

  • Ascendant Neighborhood Development, an East Harlem community group, and the Ali Forney Center will partner on a 10-story building in the neighborhood with the ability to house 36 people. The housing units will be spread across four duplex units, which will be shared by residents, and a single simplex unit; everything will be furnished, and utilities will be included. The team expects to have many of its residents come from the shelter system.
  • Co-living start-up Common and L&M Development partners will also team up for an East Harlem building, this one with a whopping 253 “housing opportunities” split up between two eight-story buildings. True to form for Common, the buildings will have different types of co-living units—some more private, some more open—with the general idea being to encourage community among its residents. The project will be mostly geared toward low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, but some units will be market-rate.
  • And in East New York, co-living start-up PadSplit and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation will create 11 housing opportunities in a two-story, legal single-room occupancy building. The building will be renovated and current residents will be able to remain, according to HPD. Once the renovation is complete, the units will be furnished, and common space—a yard, a communal area—will be added.

The co-living trend has been picking up steam in New York City; while Common is one of the largest operators of this type of housing, but other companies—including the Collective and Ollie—have also rolled out these dorm-like housing opportunities throughout the five boroughs.

And this is one of several creative solutions the city is looking at for creating affordable housing; earlier this year, HPD partnered with AIA’s New York chapter to design housing on oddly sized vacant lots.