- New York City has launched the ShareNYC initiative, a pilot program to help finance the creation of affordable shared housing developments. The shared housing concept, also called co-living, involves at least two people leasing small, individual sleeping quarters and sharing common living spaces such as a kitchens and bathrooms with other renters.
- The city is seeking proposals for co-living developments on privately-owned sites. The proposals must include detailed operational and management plans that demonstrate successful, long-term building operations. The city will prioritize proposals that are affordable to renters with a variety of incomes, including very low income and previously homeless people.
- The proposal period is open through March 14, 2019. The city's announcement did not specify how much financial assistance it intends to provide through the ShareNYC program.
The co-living concept has been going on for a number of years in some housing-strapped cities like New York, but this is the first time New York's government is pitching in financial assistance for developers of these types of projects.
The co-living concept solves a couple of different problems for cities. It can provide affordable housing options for people who don't need as much space as what conventional apartments provide. It also creates a more efficient use of space. Developers can drastically cut down on construction and ongoing operating costs by only creating one kitchen and bathroom for multiple people than by building multiple studio apartments that each have a kitchen and bathroom.
The key to success for this program will be the city ensuring that the developments it supports maintain affordability criteria. Some co-living establishments have fielded criticism for offering tiny living quarters yet charging near-luxury rents and pricing average residents out of the market.