Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation

The assault began shortly after a new owner bought the building at 25 Grove Street in June 2015. Surveillance cameras arrived first, pointed at the doors to rent-regulated apartments. Then came the construction workers, who gutted empty units and sent a dust cocktail of lead-based paint, brick and who knows what else throughout the building.

Worried, a pregnant woman and her husband left, dooming their apartment to the demolition derby. Violations were issued; violations were dismissed. And on a Friday morning in early August 2016, Temma Tainow, who had lived in the West Village building for 34 years, was jarred awake by what sounded like an explosion. She stumbled into her kitchen and screamed. A leg dangled from a hole punched through her ceiling.

Homeless Woman’s Court Fight Inspires 2 City Council Bills

Angela Castillo was tired of moving, and she was tired of the way she was being treated, like so many other people who enter New York City’s homeless shelter system.

The shelter system can feel like a constant shuffle, and shelter residents often lash out at staff, share their frustrations with friends and family or quietly stew. But last July, when the city Department of Homeless Services directed Ms. Castillo and her four children to move for the second time to a third shelter in Brooklyn that would be much farther away from her children’s schools, she had had enough.