First Advisor

Nohad A. Toulan

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Area planning & development, Older people -- United States -- Dwellings



Physical Description

3, xii, 341 leaves: charts, maps 28 cm.


This study examines the question of whether there is a role for the single room occupancy (SRO) hotel as a form of housing for a select group of low-income, urban elderly persons. Such a focus was selected because it is the single room type of housing, with neither individual kitchen nor bath, which HUD defines as substandard. This definition is viewed as problematic for several reasons. First, it has been a major barrier to the use of Federal funds to support such housing either through rehabilitation or rent subsidy, and second, it has been a major incentive to the use of Federal funds to remove such housing through programs like urban renewal. The study question is examined from several perspectives. One perspective looks at the hotel resident, his preferences and lifestyle, and compares these findings with a similar analysis of Section 8 apartment residents who previously resided in SRO hotels. Another perspective examines the cost of living for an SRO hotel resident in downtown and several other neighborhoods located throughout the City (Portland). A final perspective compares the cost to operate and maintain, rehabilitate, construct new, and subsidize SRO hotels and Section 8 apartments. This final perspective also compares the rate of return an owner receives from investing in the two forms of housing. Analysis of the study data confirms that: (a) there are preferential and lifestyle differences between the present and past hotel residents which reflect their differing housing choices, (b) the cost of living for an SRO lifestyle is least expensive in the downtown neighborhood, and (c) SRO hotels are less costly than Section 8 apartment to produce and operate from the standpoint of overall cost and amount of subsidy required, and SRO hotels can provide a reasonable return on investment. In conclusion, the study proposes that SRO hotels provide an appropriate setting for a select group of elderly persons, can be decent, safe, and sanitary, and as such, should be made the object of an intense Federal effort to facilitate their rehabilitation as single room housing units.


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Portland State University. School of Urban Affairs.

Persistent Identifier