During a panel at the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, Chris Bledsoe, chief executive officer of Stage 3 Properties, illustrated the ongoing crisis in affordable housing in places like New York City by showing a craigslist post for a “room” with three-foot (1 m) ceilings. The upside was that the asking rent was only $1,100 a month. Legal shared housing is in chronic under supply. Kyle Freedman, CEO and founder of RoommateMatch, an online matching service, said 30 percent of the site’s users are searching for housing in the $750- to $1,000-per-month range, so the only way they can afford anything is by pairing up.

Jerilyn Perine, former commissioner of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said part of the affordable housing conversation is a question of perception. Only 23 percent of U.S. households are composed of two parents living with children under 25 years old, said Perine, now executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC), which advances practical public policies through better understanding of New York City’s most pressing housing and neighborhood needs.