Living Room: Housing Works Builds Housing
Housing Works, 2012

Producer, with Greta Hansen, Karen Kubey, and MTWTF

Photo by Alan Chin

Living Room: Housing Works Builds Housing is a space to explore the housing and related services created by Housing Works for homeless individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS in New York City between 1990 and the present. It is grounded in a full-scale blueprint for one supportive-housing unit in the Keith D. Cylar House, the first of Housing Works' many housing projects throughout the boroughs, as well as bureaucratic definitions of sickness and health, and selected moments from the supportive housing movement — the effort by nonprofit organizations since the 1960s to create affordable housing coupled with medical and social services.

From its emergence out of the direct-action group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in the early 1990s with an intake and scattered-site apartment program in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, Housing Works has become an ambitious real-estate developer and service provider today. The nonprofit organization has built over 170 units of permanent and transitional housing, complemented by legal aid, medical care, counseling, harm-reduction, and a job training program that transitions individuals from clients into staff members at various entrepreneurial ventures such as thrift stores, a used bookstore and cafe, and catering and contracting businesses. Throughout its history, Housing Works has weathered periods of intense political hostility or indifference by offering care and gracious hospitality to communities in need.

Housing Works views housing as the key to health — it unlocks opportunities. It's not over yet: the organization proposes to build another 330 units for homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS by 2016.

Download the Living Room Timeline in Housing Works’ newsletter, The Key

Download full issue of The Key