There are actions we can take to retain and build low-income housing:
1) The collusion between landlords, state officials and state and city legislators who control housing law is a story yet to be told but at a minimum the state must end vacancy destabilization and give the city control over rent control and rent stabilization units. In order to wrestle rent regulation away from the state, the Democratic Party has to take back the New York Senate.
2) Every mayor in modern times, including Bloomberg, could have limited the rent increases in rent stabilization apartments if they had chosen pro-tenant appointees to the Rent Guidelines Board but they did not. Even Mayor de Blasio who supports rent regulation failed to appoint someone on the board that would freeze rents. If the Rent Guidelines Board had frozen rent increases as happened in the suburbs around the city, fewer people would have lost their housing.
3) Another part of the loss of affordable housing was through the loss of apartments in the Mitchell-Lama program. The answer to the lack of affordable units stares all New Yorkers in the face. Affordable units must remain affordable for the life of the building and not end after 20 to 35 years. Other cities have required this; so must the city.
4) The city needs to buy back Battery Park City and use increased property tax revenues or commercial sales to build affordable housing.