On May 23, a coalition of nearly 100 housing groups kicks off a campaign that participants hope will strengthen rent protections and preserve the status of affordable buildings. In this exchange, two leaders of the campaign explain their goals while the director of a housing group outside the coalition advocates a different approach to a similar end.

The New York is Our Home campaign could include the tag line, And Theres No Room For Anyone Else, if one follows the logic of the organizing coalition. Ideas to increase the overall housing inventory are missing.

To meet housing needs over the next three decades, three questions should be addressed:

How can we preserve an aging housing stock?

How should the affordable housing industry in New York City, arguably the most successful and sophisticated in the country, reshape itself to meet new challenges ahead?

How will we make room for the nearly one million new New Yorkers who are projected to live here by 2030?

The answer to all three questions cannot simply be more government money. No city has spent more money on housing than New York, and yet we still face an affordable housing shortage. We must think differently about housing preservation, the housing industry, and housing supply.

Housing should not be treated like alcohol or tobacco, taxed by the society to discourage use. It is quite the opposite, and incentives should be there to encourage additional housing at all levels, because New York is not just our home, its the home of everyone out there who dreams of a better life.

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