Report On “Three-Quarter Houses” For Ex-Convicts, Others Finds 317 in NYC


Hundreds of poor New Yorkers desperate for housing, many of them formerly incarcerated, are using public assistance stipends to pay for shelter in unregulated and illegally subdivided, violations-ridden buildings — generally located in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, reportrs the Associated Press. There is no official tally of how many one- and two-family homes have been sub-divided and filled with bunk beds by private operators who dub the residences “three-quarter houses,” but a report by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice found at least 317 such residences in three of the city’s boroughs.

“The common denominator for people living in here is they are economically disadvantaged and they need housing,” said Ann Jacobs, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute. “But the houses are crowded, unsafe, they’re not clean settings and basically because we don’t have anything better to offer them, someone else has figured out how to use them as part of their profit motive.” In interviews with tenants, the report’s authors found that three-quarter houses — a name that invokes the idea of a halfway house — share common characteristics: They usually charge tenants $215 monthly rent, the same as a Human Resource Administration shelter allowance; often require tenants to attend substance abuse treatment whether or not tenants have substance abuse problems; and in many cases evict tenants after they’ve completed the mandated sessions.

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