News from Canary Housing Cooperative

Housing Designed for People with Chemical and Electrical Sensitivity

2017 New York, NY

Recently Canary Housing Cooperative, Inc. purchased its first house, located in the Central New York area near Syracuse. The housing project will be created and managed by chemically and electrically sensitive people.

The New York state Independent Living Council (NYSILC) supports the Canary Housing Cooperative and the documentary film, “The Sensitives.”


Canary Housing Cooperative’s First Site (credit

Canary Housing Cooperative, Inc. is a scattered site, limited equity cooperative that has been organized by a small group of hypersensitive people as a non-profit 501c3 organization. The Canary Housing Cooperative hopes to expand accessible housing opportunities for people whose disabilities include chemical and electrical sensitivities. This cooperative model is currently being used by Urban Habitat in New York City, however it is new to the upstate NY disability community.

A third of the people disabled with chemical and electrical sensitivity have either no housing or have inadequate housing. People can search for years for housing they can tolerate, and even then find they may suddenly have to pack up and leave. Without safe housing, symptoms are degenerative this can lead to further health complications, as well as a loss of quality of life.
The goal of Canary Housing Cooperative is to develop several “limited equity”, “scattered housing sites” under its umbrella organization. Chemically and electrically sensitive people need to own and manage their own housing. “We know how to solve the technical problems in order to improve the medical prognosis, but there is currently no funding for this type of accessible housing”.

This is the first housing cooperative to be established with high requirements for interior and exterior air quality. Exterior air quality is determined by chemicals in a neighborhood, and Interior air quality is determined by product selection, which reflects building materials and systems that are as free as possible of neurotoxins. Pesticides, gas heat, wood smoke, chemicals and fragrances of all kinds, as well as high electro-magnetic fields and WiFi environments need to be avoided.

A documentary film directed by Drew Xanthopoulos on this condition, is entitled “The Sensitives”, will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. “It captures the chemically and electrical sensitive person’s struggle to live” … in cinematic verite style. “Coping mechanisms might vary, but they all face the unusual and heartbreaking choice of either living in dangerous and uncertain conditions (with their loved ones) or in social, physical and technological isolation.”

See link to the movie “The Sensitives”

Pauline Barfield, President
Barfield Public Relations, Inc.
638 Macon Street, 3rd Fl.
Brooklyn, NY 11233
212-736-0404 / 917-620-1311
Fax: 718-452-1806


About franklenraymond

Lion-Hearted and Thorn-Pawed
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