Emergency Housing Gets a Facelift in New York City
The Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype aims to provide residents in urban areas a temporary place to live in the event of an emergency.
New York City unveiled a new prototype for emergency housing earlier this week, after Hurricane Sandy left thousands of its residents in need of temporary shelter. Called the Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype, the city is testing the model as a way to provide residents in urban areas a temporary place to live in the event of an emergency. “The project aims to augment federal capability to deliver multifamily, multistory housing to urban areas in a post-disaster situation,” according to a statement from the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
FEMA currently does not provide temporary housing for dense, urban areas, the city said, adding that trailers are not well suited for cities.
The prototype, located near the OEM’s office in Brooklyn, is a three-story, factory-built unit with one three-bedroom apartment and two one-bedroom apartments. Starting this summer, the units will be occupied by OEM employees and other city employees for short periods. The prototype will be evaluated throughout the next year to determine how well it works as a living space as well as how it could be used in large numbers during the emergency recovery of communities.
"Years in the making, the city now has a first-of-its-kind model for emergency housing in urban areas," OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said in a statement. "The prototype tests the many facets of disaster housing in an urban environment and will ultimately help make our city and our country even more resilient in times of crisis."
The New York Times described the prototype as “three apartments stacked on top of one another” with cork floors and spartan bathrooms that give it an “institutional feel more reminiscent of a college dormitory.” The units also include a full kitchen.
Each of the three units cost $350,000 to $400,000 to build and the city hopes the price would be reduced by half in mass production, reported The Times.
"In the second decade of the 21st century, it's incumbent that we apply new and innovative solutions to age-old problems, especially in dense urban environments," said Jerome Hatfield, regional administrator of FEMA Region II, in a statement.