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Occasional Series Event: Three-Quarter Houses — Thursday, October 17, 9-11am

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Three-Quarter Houses: The View from the Inside

Report Release and Discussion Panel

Thursday, October 17th, 8:45 to 11am

(Coffee at 8:45am; event starts promptly at 9:15am)

John Jay College, New Building, 9.64

(524 West 59th Street, between 10th and 11th Aves.)

PLEASE NOTE: Registration for this event is closed.



“Three-Quarter Houses: The View from the Inside” is the first systematic and comprehensive study of Three-Quarter Housing in New York City. The problem of housing New York City’s most vulnerable individuals has given rise to a growing market of privately operated, for-profit residences known as Three-Quarter Houses. For all intents and purposes, these houses have become an informal extension of the City’s apparatus for keeping vulnerable men and women off of the streets. Yet they lack any formal regulation or oversight, rendering the houses invisible to most citizens and policymakers.

The report’s findings are based on 317 known addresses and first-hand accounts of 43 current or recent residents of the houses. The report paints a harrowing picture of the conditions in these dwellings. The residents tend to be in the midst of major life transitions; most are returning home from jail or prison, recovering from short-term hospital or residential substance abuse treatment, battling with street homelessness, and/or struggling with unemployment, family crises, or medical issues. The houses are over-crowded, lack basic fire safety and health provisions, and are exploitative of their residents. And thousands of New Yorkers rely on them, prefer them to shelters, and desperately do not want them closed. The findings of PRI’s research on Three-Quarter Houses are troubling indications of what occurs when the city’s poorest and most marginalized individuals are left with no affordable or accessible housing options and must instead fend for themselves in an unregulated, informal housing market.

The research was carried out by the Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) of John Jay College, in collaboration with MFY Legal Services, Inc., Neighbors Together, the Legal Action Center, and the Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project, with technical assistance from the Furman Center of Real Estate and Public Policy.

The full report will distributed to attendees at the event and is available for download.





  • Light breakfast (please arrive at 8:45am for refreshments)
  • Welcome and introductions (speakers will begin promptly at 9:15am)
  • Research presentation, Robert Riggs & Tasha Burnett
  • Panelists’ remarks
  • Audience Q & A


Research Presentation

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Robert Riggs is the Research Associate for the Prisoner Reentry Institute’s Three-Quarter House project. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at New York University and a Graduate Research Fellow at the National Science Foundation. His research focuses on the social dimensions of punishment and prisoner reentry in contemporary US cities. Previously, Robert worked as Research and Reentry Associate for the Bard Prison Initiative and as Research Assistant for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Project. He is a proud graduate of the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, with John Jay as his “home college.”


Tasha Burnett served as a Research Assistant in conducting the interviews and focus groups that comprise this study. Tasha to grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, and in South Jamaica, Queens. During her youth, Tasha became involved with gangs but managed to turn her life around by rebuilding her connection to her spirituality. She is a Junior Minister at Love Fellowship Tabernacle, where she studies under Bishop Hezekiah Walker and is involved with its music ministry through her talent of spoken word performance. She is currently studying music technology in college and has aspirations of pursuing a music career, as well as becoming a pastor. Tasha is a proud leader of the Three-Quarter House Tenant Organizing Project and wants to change the world.




Jerilyn Perine as the Executive Director of the Citizens Housing Planning Committee (CHPC) works to elevate the quality of public debate, inform public policy, promote new ideas, and engage a wide audience to improve NYC neighborhoods. CHPC’s current projects include a focus on Microhousing; Green Buildings; Zoning, Land Use and Residential Development; and Housing after a Crisis. Ms. Perine is an urban planner with 30 years of experience in housing and community development. As Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, she lead America’s largest municipal housing agency with more than 3000 employees and an annual operating and capital budget of $800 million. At HPD, she authored Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, announced in December 2002 that provided $3 billion over 5 years to preserve and create over 65,000 units of affordable housing.


JoAnne Page has over 40 years experience in criminal justice, with the last 24 of those at the helm of The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization that serves and advocates for formerly incarcerated men, women, and teens. The Fortune Society has been recognized as a pioneer in assisting former prisoners to reintegrate into society. The organization offers more than a dozen programs including mental health and substance abuse treatment, counseling, family services, HIV/AIDS health services, employment services, and housing. Under Ms. Page’s stewardship, The Fortune Society opened the Fortune Academy in 2002, a residence housing men and women who have been released from prison into homelessness, which has received national recognition. In August 2010, Fortune opened the doors of Castle Gardens, an 114,000 sq. ft., mixed use, green, supportive and affordable housing development with 114 units and 20,000 sq. ft. of service space for which it has received LEEDS Gold certification.



Tanya Kessler has been a Staff Attorney on the Three-Quarter House Project at MFY Legal Services, Inc. since 2009, when she started the project as a Skadden Fellow. Prior to law school she worked as a community organizer in adult homes, and as a case manager and housing specialist in shelter programs in New York City, working with homeless individuals with mental health disabilities. She graduated from Columbia College and CUNY School of Law.


Ann L. Jacobs (moderator) is Director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI). For nearly two decades, Ms. Jacobs served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) in New York, the nation’s oldest and largest social service and advocacy organization for criminal justice-involved women, and their families. Previously, Jacobs was responsible for oversight of the city’s five public safety agencies for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations and served as the Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator. Earlier in her career, Ms. Jacobs worked in Washington DC at the Pretrial Services Resource Center and the National Institute for Dispute Resolution. Her experience encompasses work in both the juvenile and adult justice systems, at the local and national levels.