I’m Being Pressured to Accept Three-Quarter Housing

If you have a question about accessing shelter or other services, including if you have been denied access to shelter, please call 1-888-358-2384, the Crisis Intervention emergency hotline, and leave a detailed message, including your phone number. Advocates are available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. Messages received on weekends or after hours will be returned the next business day. Please note that the Crisis Intervention Program is based in NYC and only able to respond to questions regarding NYC services.

What is Illegal housing? (sometimes called “three-quarter housing,” “PA housing” or “transitional housing”)

A three-quarter house often has more than one person per room, in bunk beds, with no secure place to lock up your things, usually no lease, poor conditions and unsafe overcrowding.

Rooms for rent can often be illegal as well. Rooms are most often an empty bedroom or basement in a lease holding tenant’s home. Every landlord does not allow for subleases, so it is important to ask for a lease when considering a room for rent – the arrangements they are offering may not be legal and may put you in danger in the event of an emergency.

It’s important to know that room finders are for profit businesses. The Coalition has received many complaints from clients that they paid money to get help finding a room, but were not ultimately placed in a room. If you give a room finding service money, be prepared that there is a possibility you may not be directed to a room and may not be able to get your money back.

Are three-quarter houses & rooms safe?

Living in a basement or an illegally occupied dwelling could put you at risk in event of an emergency. Multiple three-quarter houses have been shut down by the city for fire safety and code violations.

Dozens of shelter residents who moved to three-quarter houses and rooms have had to come back to shelter.

Can I be forced to take a three-quarter house or room?

Go see any housing option offered by shelter staff and write down what you see. Get the address.

If you believe the home is illegally occupied and the program or primary tenant cannot provide you with a lease, let the shelter staff know, in writing, that you don’t believe that it is legal to rent the room and are therefore uncomfortable with the placement.

Ask to see the unit you will live in before you move in. If the landlord or shelter cannot arrange for you to see the room, write this down and ask the shelter staff to include this in your file. You are not required to accept a housing option you have never seen.

If you have other concerns about a room, come to the Crisis Intervention Program and talk to an advocate before you decide to move in. Let your case manager know you can’t make a decision until you talk with an advocate.

Download Know Your Rights flyers here for three-quarter houses and rooms. If you need assistance with pressure from the shelter to accept a three-quarter house or room placement, come into the Crisis Intervention Program.

If you are currently living in a three-quarter house and want more information about your rights contact MFJ Legal Services Three- Quarter House Project.