Return of the SRO as Co-Living Space

return of the sro as co living space in new york city

If you thought the Co-Living idea was short lived, think again…

Single room occupancy or SRO is a concept not new to real estate.

In fact you can trace its origins in the United States to the 1880’s.

Back then, the YMCA began building units to house people from rural areas who moved into the city to search for work.

From the beginning, the intent was to create affordable living situations.

However, it began to lose its appeal because of upkeep and safety.  As a result, the city went from 200,000 to approximately 40,000 SRO units from 1955 to 1995.

It’s part of the reason why the city began to experience an incline in homelessness.

Enter SRO’s, 2.0

While the city saw a decline in SRO units the need for affordable housing was still pressing.

Many people opted to lease apartments as roommates to help with the cost of living.

And while that was an option for some, it required the individuals to share in the lease as a group.

That’s when you suddenly started to see the use of micro-apartments.

Some were just glorified SRO’s units while others were newly developed apartments.

The new construction units weren’t particularly geared for low income residents, but because of its size created an opportunity for people to live in a modern and updated building.

The expansion of Co-Living Development

As stated before, the city continues to search for ways to create affordable housing for New Yorkers.

As a result, they have created three proposals for co-living developments in areas that have been wrought with high increase of rents.

One will be in East New York and the other two will be in East Harlem.

They’re designed to have shared kitchens and bathrooms.  In addition there will be management and operations plans that includes cleaning services and conflict resolution among other things.

You can find the full proposal here.

This is a process HPD will look to replicate using existing one to four family buildings or small new construction units throughout the city.

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