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Seen At 11: Convent Living Offers Affordable Housing Option In NYC

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret that living in New York City isn’t cheap, but what you may not know is that you can find affordable housing just by renting a room in a convent.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, people are living with nuns to save cash.

“I always wanted to live on the Upper East Side,” said Courtney Megaro.

But the aspiring actress couldn’t afford it until now. She’s since moved into a convent — St. Mary’s Residence — on East 72nd Street.

“We have a chapel downstairs, there is Mass every week,” said Megaro. “The rent is very affordable, it’s $220 a week.”

The residence is owned and operated by an order of Catholic nuns called the Daughters of Divine Charity.

“It’s not a business, it’s a mission that we’re here to serve the young women,” said Sister Helen.

St. Mary’s is actually one of a handful of convents offering rooms for rent in New York, Johnson reported.

Realtor Brian Phillips said in a city known for extravagant rents, affordable rooms in convents are one of the real estate industry’s best kept secrets.

“My target market for this type of room would be students, actors, hairdressers,” he said.

Megaro’s room at St. Mary’s has a view and plenty of closet space. The kitchen, bathroom, and lounge are all shared spaces.

And while Sister Helen said there are some rules, “Men for example, are not allowed anywhere except on the first floor,” the residents come and go just like they would in any other building.

“The residents here are very independent,” Sister Helen added.

Still, Megaro said it’s nice to know the sisters are there if she needs them.

“My life is so hectic. I’m auditioning and I’m working then I just come here and it’s a safe, quiet, comfortable place that feels like home now.”

You’re not required to attend church services to live in one of the convents, although many residents say it’s a nice option to have.

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