"In 2004, what we had talked about was an impending crisis in affordable housing. Today, that crisis is here."

So city comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. tells the Times today while discussing his offices recently released report "Affordable No More: New York City's Mitchell-Lama and Limited Dividend Housing Crisis is Accelerating" (PDF) and the similar study just released by the Community Service Society "Closing the Door: Accelerating Losses of New York City Subsidized Housing" (PDF).

2006_05_27_mitchell-lamasta.jpgThe gist of both reports is the same, and comes as little surprise to anyone paying a modicum of attention: "The shrinking of New York City's supply of privately owned but subsidized rental apartments — housing relied upon by many working-class New Yorkers as well as teachers, civil servants and police officers — has accelerated sharply over the past three years" and shows little sign of slowing down. For example, since 2004 more than 25,000 apartments have withdrawn or begun the process of withdrawing from the Mitchell-Lama program in which landowners receive government aid in exchange for "affordable to low" rents. That's more than the 24,000 in the history of the program up till 2004.

So what's to be done? To start, "both studies strongly support the idea of legislation to put all Mitchell-Lama rental buildings under rent stabilization once they leave the program." Two bills that would do just that are currently pending (A2454 and S2061). A step in the right direction?