ARTICLES IN SHELTERFORCE since jan 08

  • To Save On Medi-Cal Costs, a Bid to Help Homeless Patients With Rent Money

    California lawmakers consider devoting an additional $90 million to subsidize rent for homeless patients.

  • How to Get $2 Billion for Affordable Homes

    San Francisco Bay Area voters approve bold new investments after housing advocates ignite successful electoral strategy.

  • Lots of Maps, Little Insight in Richard Florida’s Latest

    The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class—and What We Can Do About It by Richard Florida. Basic Books, 2017, 336 pp., $14.64 (Hardcover), $17.99 (Kindle). Purchase a copy here.

  • Making the Right Connections

    A health center in New Orleans has partnered with a legal services agency to better help patients by addressing the social determinants of health. This “medical-legal partnership” is part of a growing trend that’s taking place across the nation.

  • A Shelterforce Roundtable on Regulation and Housing Supply: Where the Left and Right Agree (Sort Of)

    “ForWeb_RoundtableUpdated”

    Last year, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—a right-leaning libertarian think-tank—issued a report on how to encourage more development of affordable housing. One of the paper’s authors is a longtime Shelterforce reader, and he forwarded the report to us with a note that started: “While you probably are not a fan of the American Enterprise Institute, I expect you’ll find this paper interesting.” He was right on both counts.

    The question of regulation and permitting of development is one that crosses usual political lines. In the current political climate, we should be very clear that regulation is not inherently bad, and many regulations have been responsible for our country having breathable air, drinkable water (in some places), and basic levels of safety and equal opportunity. But regulation is also not inherently good—Shelterforce readers are well aware of the effects of redlining and exclusionary zoning, for example.

    We gathered some people who have done a lot of thinking and studying of these issues (including Charles Wilkins, the co-author of the aforementioned report) to discuss what it might look like to actually remove obstacles that get in the way of developing less expensive housing options responsibly. What’s possible? What are the trade-offs?

    Joining us were Ingrid Gould Ellen of the Furman Center at New York University; Jamaal Green of Portland State University; Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions; Rick Jacobus of Street Level Advisors; Greg Maher of the Leviticus Alternative Fund; Alan Mallach of the Center for Community Progress and a National Housing Institute senior fellow; and Charles Wilkins, a consultant and co-author of the AEI paper.


  • Community Organizing: Integrating a Woman’s Approach

    “In closed or structured societies, it is the marginal or ‘inferior’ person . . . who often comes to symbolize . . . ‘communitas.’” —Victor Turner

  • Interview, Rinku Sen, president and executive director of Race Forward & publisher of Colorlines.com

    In those exhausting and frightening days right after the election in November, I had the good fortune to catch Rinku Sen for a few minutes at the end of a long day of her organization’s biannual Facing Race conference. Though she must have been running on next to no sleep by that point, Sen was insightful, earnest, and eager to talk about the road ahead.

  • Looking at Places Through Artists’ Eyes

    How an Alaskan housing authority plans to focus on creative placemaking as a development strategy to better reflect the communities it serves.

  • An Appetite for Art in Small Town Minnesota

    In rapidly diversifying rural Minnesota, an ArtPlace grant is seen as a resource for celebrating cultures and creating bridges between them.

  • A Resource for Well-Meaning Landlords

    The Good Landlord: A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference
    By Peter Gilman Shapiro. The Good Landlord Publishing, 2016, 284 pp., $19.95 (paperback); $8.99 (Kindle)

    Purchase a copy here.

  • Bringing Together Arts and Community Development

    Who has been behind the large increase in financial support for and attention to what has been termed “creative placemaking” over the past couple years, and why?

  • Preserving the Character of Little Tokyo

    In the wake of rapid gentrification, an organization in Los Angeles leverages the arts to celebrate a community’s rich heritage and keep social equity as a priority.

  • Keeping Your Artists Close to Home

    New Orleans relies on its artists as a core part of its economy. What can be done when those artists can no longer afford to call the city home?

  • Q: Is scattered-site rehab always more expensive than new construction?
  • Creating Miles of Art in the Mile High City

    How a Denver organization intends to create a 9-mile art-, health-, and heritage-themed bike and pedestrian trail that will feature authentic cultural expression.

  • Affordable Housing and . . . a Museum

    For over 30 years, Broadway Housing Communities has developed its own formula for meeting the housing needs of West Harlem’s lowest-income residents. One of its unorthodox ingredients has been art galleries, and now, there’s a children’s museum in its newest building.

  • A Tale of Two Murals

    Having had the experience of public art with no public involvement, a community organization set out to show there could be another way.

  • Working with Local Artists

    In response to an influx of high-profile street art, one Brooklyn community development organization decided to invest in homegrown art and artists, and learn how to support them.

  • Poetry on the Panel

    Attendees at the 2015 PolicyLink Equity Summit experienced something unexpected when they walked into many of the panels and workshops—a poetry performance.

  • Poem: “Tires Stacked in the Hallways of Civilization”
  • Poem: “What Must Be Done”
  • Flipping the Script

    A nonprofit forgoes the typical community meeting for a “living charrette,” which leads to greater neighborhood feedback about a proposed 24-acre development.

  • Art Just Became Even More Essential
  • Exploring Foreclosure Through Art

    In Minneapolis and Boston, artists help explore the losses (and gains) of foreclosure with work that supports advocacy and community building.

  • Poem: “This Yes”
  • Interview with Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation

    Rip Rapson is the quintessential mid-westerner: quiet, modest, the last person in the world to toot his own horn. But if you look at what he’s accomplished and the insight he brings to his current work, you’ll get a much better picture of who he is and the challenging, important work he spearheads at the Kresge Foundation.

    A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to speak with him, trace his experiences and the projects he conceived or championed over the years (some of which we’ve written about, but, not surprisingly, without his name attached to them) and drill into the opportunities and difficulties faced by a large philanthropic organization as it works to integrate its grant making interests with the way real communities operate—as dynamic entities with systems that fully integrate, even if they do so in a seriously dysfunctional way.

    One interest Kresge has is in arts and culture, and we spent some extra time talking with him about the importance and role of arts and culture in community health and development.

  • New Lenses on Economic Development
  • Making a Success of Local Hire

    Local hire policies are among the strongest strategies for bringing good job opportunities to disadvantaged communities—but adding more provisions to specifically target those with the most barriers to employment can make local hiring practices even more effective.

  • Why Your Community Should Kick the Subsidy Habit

    Corporate incentives won’t help communities thrive, even distressed ones. But nurturing local businesses will save municipalities money and promote the growth of income, wealth, and jobs.

  • In the World of Community Wealth-Building, Ownership Has Its Privileges

    What local government can do to support new, more inclusive economic models.

    “CitiSeries184”

  • Who Will Benefit from Port Covington?

    Advocates, city leaders, and Under Armour’s real estate arm negotiate a $660 million tax deal and a vision for economic development in Baltimore.

  • Making Community Benefits Agreements Count

    CBAs can be extremely difficult to implement and enforce, which is why a detailed agreement in the early stages of the community-developer relationship is so important.

  • Connecting Companies to Business

    A Chicago organization is bringing together local businesses and large institutions to promote economic growth.

  • Using Business as a Force For Good

    B Corps are for-profit businesses that focus strongly on their social and environmental impact. The movement has grown to 1,800-plus worldwide and now cities, economic authorities, and activists are trying to attract more of these mission-driven and worker-friendly companies to help spur economic growth.

  • Continuing the Dream

    Arc of Justice, directed and produced by Helen S. Cohen and Mark Lipman.
    Open Studio Productions, 2016, 22 minutes. Price varies for home and institutional use.

    Purchase the DVD at nhi.org/go/84444

  • Keeping Everyone Afloat: Is Universal Basic Income the Answer?

    Advocates and organizers who deal with the needs of the poor often say it’s not really a housing/food/training issue, it’s an income issue. So what would happen if we just addressed income?

  • A New Way to Finance Equitable Economic Development?

    Big companies discovered the long-stagnant Immigrant Investor Program EB-5 after the 2008 financial crisis. Can community developers bend the program toward their goals too?

  • Interview: Michael Rubinger, former CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation

    LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, is one of the central community development intermediaries, financing and supporting community development work for decades. Michael Rubinger was there at LISC’s founding. And from 1999 to June 2016, he headed the organization, steering it most recently on a path toward comprehensive community development rather than just housing work. In a video marking his retirement, colleagues spoke of Michael as someone who remained intensely engaged with community organizations and their work, even after so many years overseeing a much bigger picture. We’ve known Michael since he became the CEO of LISC as a dedicated, persistent, pragmatic leader who encourages new thinking and finds ways to mine the promise of older ideas. And he’s got a pretty sharp sense of humor. Just before Michael left LISC, Shelterforce spoke with him to get his thoughts on the field he devoted his life’s work to.

  • Q: Do economic development incentives support small businesses?
  • Think Scattered Site Rehab Is Too Expensive? Think Again.

    Vacant properties are so persistent in part because it’s too expensive to do anything with them. At least that’s the assumption. It’s much simpler, goes this reasoning, and more cost-effective, to construct and manage a new multifamily building than to try to rehab and manage single-family homes spread over a wide area. But what if that’s just not true?

  • In Pursuit of Financial Well-Being: A Conversation on Fairness, Accessibility, and Empowerment

    In a world of growing financial complexity, predatory products, stagnating wages, and escalating inequality, financial insecurity is a dramatic problem. To kick off our focus on this topic, we gathered a group of leaders who are combating financial insecurity by both working with individuals and changing systems for a conversation on how it all relates and how to balance the big picture and the household-level work.



    Taking part in this conversation with Shelterforce editor Miriam Axel-Lute and NHI executive director Harold Simon, were Holly Frindell, senior program manager, National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders; Andrea Levere, president, CFED; Andrea Luquetta-Kern, director of policy and research, California Reinvestment Coalition; Ann Solomon, strategic initiatives manager, Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; and Woody Widrow, executive director, RAISE Texas and NHI board member.

  • Is Financial Unsteadiness the New Normal?

    A yearlong analysis of 200-plus households suggests that we should add a third leg to the financial security stool along with income and assets—cash flow.

  • The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

    Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.

  • Fight for Full Time

    Unpredictable hours lead to unpredictable cash flow, which is a barrier to budgeting and saving. One response to this—the Opportunity to Work Initiative—would require that San Jose employers give more hours to part-time employees before hiring new staff.

  • Challenging the Almighty Credit Score

    A majority of mainstream lenders base loan approvals on a hotly debated three-digit score. Are there better, fairer ways to assess risk?

  • Being “Well,” Financially
  • Well Worth the Read

    What It’s Worth— Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation.
    Edited by Laura Choi, David Erickson, Kate Griffin, Andrea Levere, and Ellen Seidman. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco/CFED, 2015, 393 pp., Free.




    Download a copy at nhi.org/go/77173

  • Getting New Jersey to Divest from Payday Lending

    NJ Citizen Action says having a state pension fund invested—even indirectly—in a form of lending illegal in the state cannot stand.

  • Q: Why don’t low-income families save?
  • College Bound

    Children’s savings accounts for higher education, even those that have accumulated only small amounts of money, can change expectations for low-income students—and they might also provide a vehicle for larger wealth transfers.

  • Financial Inclusion Begins With Our Tax Code

    Changes to tax programs that support low-wage earners will strengthen gains made in the asset-building field.

  • Why Financial Education Should Get Political

    Financial curricula for low-income households often focus on personal choices about budgeting and saving—but if they don’t also address systemic problems, exploitation, and discrimination, they aren’t speaking to their audience’s reality.

  • The Catalyzing Power of Art

    Art can be an economic engine for neighborhoods—but sometimes locally-based artists need some support to kick their “businesses” into gear, and community-based organizations are stepping up.

  • Interview: Sheila Crowley, Past President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition

    When word came that Sheila Crowley was intending to step down from her longtime role at the head of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, we knew immediately that we wanted to do an exit interview with her. Crowley has led the organization through dramatic times, keeping a focus on those with the most pressing housing need when many wanted to just talk homeownership, staying the course with the National Housing Trust Fund, and modeling how to do national advocacy that leads with the voices of those directly affected. Shortly before Crowley’s actual departure, we spoke with her about how she got where she is, the state of the field, and what’s coming next.

  • Getting Beyond the Developer Fee

    In tough financial times, community developers are hanging on to their developer fees despite competition, but many are also diversifying their programs and revenue streams.

    “CitiSeries184”

  • Housing Authority Eliminates Ban of Ex-Offenders

    With the approval of new background check procedures, a criminal conviction won’t automatically disqualify a person from receiving public housing or voucher assistance in New Orleans.

  • An Artist’s Way of Seeing: Community Engagement in Creative Placemaking

    How are artists converting the power and creativity of art into community-led change?

  • The Challenges of Economic Integration

    Is it more important to have mixed-income buildings, or to give more people access to mixed-income neighborhoods?

  • Making Mixed-Income Developments Work

    A single development with an intentional income mix involves very specific challenges—both in its design and its management.

  • Can San Francisco Get Mixed-Income Public Housing Redevelopment Right?

    The HOPE SF program is aiming to explicitly avoid many of the problems mixed-income public housing redevelopments have faced, to create a truly inclusive process.

  • Addressing Social Segregation in Mixed-Income Communities

    Living next to each other does not necessarily mean getting to know each other. But it could.

  • Don’t Build Mixed-Income Communities, Buy Them

    Building when you could buy is inefficient—and contributes to economic segregation.

  • Build Mixed-Income Housing–But Not in Isolation

    A focus on housing connected to education and wellness will be needed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

  • Bigger Forces at Play

    Mixed-income housing alone won’t solve economic segregation.

  • “Inclusive Communities” Are Inadequate for the World’s Housing Crises

    Mixed-income housing policies are essentially “trickle-down” affordable housing.

  • Integrating Whitman

    A long-forgotten battle over a set of row houses in South Philadelphia makes current day NIMBYism look tame. What can housing advocates learn about how they finally got built anyway?

  • A Voyeur’s View

    Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux, Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, 441 pp. Purchase at nhi.org/go/56968

  • Q: What’s the difference between community economic development…
  • Mixing It Up
  • A New Way to Do Affirmative Action?

    Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America. by Sheryll Cashin. Beacon Press, 2014, 176 pp. $18 (paper). Purchase at nhi.org/go/33629

  • Voices From the Field: Mixed Income

    Do we need more mixed-income housing? Why or why not?  The following data and observations were collected via a survey we conducted from late January through mid-February, distributed via Shelterforce Weekly and social media. Add your own thoughts in the comments below.

  • Community Building Despite Trauma

    The trauma caused by poverty and the systems that reinforce it can short-circuit standard efforts to build community. A new method called “trauma-informed community building” aims to change that.

  • The Next Boom for Worker Co-ops?

    Baby boomers are the largest percentage of business owners, and they’re headed toward retirement. The worker cooperative movement wants to keep the jobs they’ve created from disappearing.

  • Exclusive: Interview, Chester Hartman, Poverty & Race Research Action Council

    Chester Hartman was the first executive director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and has been a leader in housing equity work for decades. His keen intellect and deep convictions, coupled with his writing, advocacy, scholarship, and leadership, have had a major effect on the field. Shelterforce is honored to have worked with him for many years as a member of our editorial board. His contributions to fair housing are extensive, and we’re sure those contributions will continue into his retirement. Right after his retirement from PRRAC as its director of research, Shelterforce had the opportunity to chat with him about his life, work, retirement, and hopes for the future.

  • Government-Funded Organizing?

    Public funding for community organizing would strengthen our democracy and relegitmize a beleaguered public sector. It’s time to stop writing off the idea.

  • Why We Must Build

    We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis . . . but we won’t get out without building.

  • New Jersey Divests from Payday Lending

    Advocates in New Jersey mobilize to make a state pension fund put its money where its state regulations are.

  • Q: Isn’t the foreclosure crisis over?
  • Shelterforce Exclusive: Interview with HUD Secretary Julián Castro

    In September 2015, on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the bill that created HUD, Julián Castro, the agency’s 16th secretary, spoke at the University of Texas. In his speech he noted how the agency was formed partially in response to the Watts Rebellion in Los Angeles a month prior, situating the agency’s mission firmly in a social justice context, and he praised President Johnson as someone who believed in the potential for government to be a force for good. On September 3rd, Shelterforce got a chance to speak with Secretary Castro about some of the current ways in which he’s working to make HUD a force for good in people’s lives, and what steps there are left to be taken.

  • The Charter School Lenders

    Despite the controversy surrounding them, charter schools have become a major segment of the CDFI field’s business, requiring new assessment tools to keep the lending mission-focused.

  • Why Are Community Development Lenders Financing Charter Schools?

    The choice to support privately-operated, publicly-funded schools puts these lenders at odds with many of their usual political allies and constituencies. So what’s the motivation?

  • Above the Fray?

    As the school reform debates rage on, community groups struggle to stay out of the politics and yet keep influencing the quality of education in their neighborhoods.

  • Schools that Support Students’ Whole Lives

    Community schools support kids, families, and neighborhoods in their mission to improve education.

  • Charter Schools, Gentrification, and Weighted Lotteries

    Charter schools in gentrifying neighborhoods have the power to exacerbate the inequity that exists between low-income residents and wealthier newcomers. How can they use their power to instead ensure their student populations are as diverse as the neighborhoods they operate in?

  • The Place-Based Charter School?

    What is the relationship between charter schools and neighborhoods—and what could it be?

  • Don’t Call It a Comeback for Neighborhood Schools

    In the face of widespread school choice, some D.C. residents are advocating for an equitable system of neighborhood schools. But what’s the chance that will become a reality?

  • Gentrification and Public Schools: It’s Complicated

    An influx of more affluent families and their resources and advocacy is just what every struggling school needs, right? Well . . .

  • More Bang for the Buck?

    Austin, with prodding from advocates, pushes its economic development policy to go beyond big deal chasing.

  • Have We Been Wasting Affordable Housing Money?

    It might seem like 10, or even 30, years is a long time to require affordability—until it’s over and your public investment is lost.

  • Community Development and the School Reform Fight
  • Interview: Gordon Chin, Founding Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center

    Gordon Chin started San Francisco Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), a longstanding CDC well-known in the field, in the mid-1970s. In June 2015, he released Building Community, Chinatown Style, a book about his professional life, the founding and evolution of CCDC, and the future of community development. Josh Ishimatsu, director of Research and Capacity Building at the National Coalition for Asian-Pacific American Community Development, and a regular Shelterforce contributor, spoke with Chin about where community development is going, and where it should go.

  • Q: Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else?
  • Filmmaker Needs to Look at the Whole Picture

    I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Moviemaker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Achievement Gap, by M. Night Shyamalan. Simon & Schuster. 306 pp. $25.00 (hardcover). Purchase here.

  • On Beyond Anniversaries
  • Fighting Gentrification Through Collective Bargaining

    For the past two years, the Crown Heights Tenant Union of Brooklyn has turned collective bargaining strategies on landlords—and policymakers.

  • Fair Housing and Community Developers Can Work Together

    Two organizations in New Jersey show that with a good working relationship, a balanced approach to healthy communities and housing choice for all can be more than pretty words.

  • Organizing and the Community Land Trust Model

    What happens when organizers win a campaign for community control of land? That depends a lot on the choices they make about how to exercise that control.

  • Joy and Justice

    Community Projects as Social Activism: From Direct Action to Direct Services, by Benjamin Shepard. Sage Publications, 2014. 253pp.
    Reviewed by Matthew Borus.  Purchase here.

  • Dispatches from Whose City?

    City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis, edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb. N + 1. 2015, 496pp, $18 (paper). Purchase here.

  • The Justice Gap

    The post-Katrina work of legal services lawyers shows that if you care about equity, legal aid belongs high on the list of crucial disaster recovery programs.

  • Detours on the Road Home

    Serious flaws in the Road Home program have kept many hard-working homeowners from coming back to the Lower 9th Ward. Let’s not repeat them after the next disaster.

  • Rising Tides, Rising Costs

    In the face of climate change, flood insurance rates are rising. But program rules, and the history of who has been shunted into the floodplains, means the brunt is being bore by those least able to absorb it.

  • The Revitalization Trap

    Place-based initiatives won’t address the kinds of injustice and poverty that community development was formed to fight.

    With responses by Brentin Mock and Miriam Axel-Lute.

  • Interview with Richard Baron, CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar

    While moving from tenant organizing to affordable housing development and comprehensive community revitalization seems perfectly natural to us here at Shelterforce, since we were founded by tenant organizers and legal services lawyers, it still surprises many people that Richard Baron, the CEO of one of the largest for-profit affordable housing developers, McCormack Baron Salazar, got his start in the field supporting public housing tenants in a rent strike. We talked with him about how he got started, what he’s learned from his journey, and directions for the field.

  • Building the Cars of the Future . . . in Detroit

    How the nonprofit Focus: HOPE is helping to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit, and the Detroiters who need them.

  • How to Prevent the Next Mortgage Crisis

    Yes, we need to finally achieve certainty in our housing finance system. But not the way most people are suggesting.

  • Learning to Stretch

    Community development corporations find ways to embrace new immigrant communities and new challenges.

  • Serving the Community, In Their Language

    From hiring priorities to translation headsets to special requests of the phone company—the exciting and important work of serving multicultural, multilingual populations.

  • Building Multiculturally

    One culture’s idea of the ideal house is different from another. Luckily, floor plans are adaptable.

  • Citizenship Is an Asset

    Naturalizing is a great way to improve opportunity, but it’s expensive.  How can we open that door to more of the immigrants who qualify?

  • Immigrant Integration Services Must Aim to Build Assets

    Financial coaching and small business development services should be right up there next to learning English.

  • Protecting Immigrant Workers

    The Texas construction industry is a good example of what happens when immigrant workers’ rights are not respected. But this organization is fighting back.

  • It’s Not Actually About Ownership

    Private Property and Public Power: Eminent Domain in Philadelphia,
    by Debbie Becher. Oxford University Press, 2014. 334pp. $30.50 (paper)
    Purchase here.

  • Q: Do Immigrants “Take Our Jobs”?
  • Public Housing Residents as Activists

    More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing,
    by Amy L. Howard. University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 320 pp. $33.95 (paper). 
    Purchase here.

  • Cross-Community Collaboration on NYC’s Municipal ID Program

    Lack of identification hurts many different groups in different ways—from the homeless to immigrants, and they all need to be considered in the fight for an alternative.

  • Profile of the Immigrant Population

    Knowing who is immigrating here, and where they are settling, has implications for policy.

  • English Required for a Mortgage?

    Language barriers pose an obstacle to fair access to credit, but this population is overlooked in fair credit discussions.

  • Vulnerable Workers Mean Vulnerable Communities

    Anti-immigrant laws and the lack of a solid path to citizenship leave immigrant workers vulnerable to exploitation—and harm the whole community.

  • Tenant Solidarity in Oakland

    Q&A with Kitzia Esteva-Martinez, Causa Justa/Just Cause

  • Not Just Any Job

    Community lenders and local governments wrestle with how to encourage—or simply require—that jobs created with their support provide real pathways to opportunity for those who need them most.

  • Staying Afloat by Branching Out

    As the surge of crisis-level funding recedes from housing counseling agencies, they are looking to technology, fee-for-service arrangements, new partners, and types of counseling to keep themselves going. But can the tricky and highly detailed business of foreclosure counseling in particular survive the transition?

    “CitiSeries184”

  • A Nation—and Neighborhoods—of Immigrants
  • Q: Do inclusionary zoning requirements halt development?
  • It’s Not Actually About Ownership

    Private Property and Public Power: Eminent Domain in Philadelphia
    by Debbie Becher, Oxford University Press 2014.

  • Staying Ahead of the Age Wave

    Groups working with older adults, including many community developers, are crafting a range of creative interventions, from home modifications to service-enriched housing models, to allow seniors to age in place. Will it be enough?

  • Thinking Gray—And Positive
  • The Benefits of Aging in Manufactured Housing Communities

    As places for low- and moderate-income Americans to age in place, manufactured housing communities present an impressive array of advantages—and some financial risks.

  • Safe Banking for Seniors

    To support older adults to safely age in community, we need to consider what they need out of banking—and what they need to be protected from.

  • Renovating Senior Complexes to Be Green, Healthy, and Connected
  • Affordable, But for Whom?

    How a box of felt pieces helps organizers help New York communities advocate for their real affordable housing needs 

  • Meeting the Housing Needs of an Aging Population

    Our aging population is more economically and ethnically diverse than any before, and will require a greater and more varied inventory of housing stock.

  • Leaving Grandma Out in the Cold

    The demise of the federal program that funded senior housing construction bodes ill for the increasing numbers of low-income seniors who struggle to afford a decent place to live.

  • Keeping Seniors Healthy by Fostering Connections and Community

    For high needs seniors with chronic illnesses, health is not merely—or even mostly—a matter for medical professionals.

  • Housing Beyond the Nuclear Family

    As multigenerational households increase, some community groups are rethinking how to design homes and developments to bring generations together.

  • Interview with Ai-Jen Poo

    Ai-Jen Poo has been organizing with domestic workers for over 15 years, helping in New York to win some of the first statewide labor protections for occupations often exempt from labor laws, and expanding this campaign to a nationwide vision for a strong caregiving workforce and infrastructure for elder care. In 2014 she became a MacArthur Fellow, but this was hardly her first award. This visionary leader has, to name just a few, received the Open Society Institute Community Fellowship, the Ernest de Maio Award from the Labor Research Association, the Woman of Vision Award from Ms. Foundation for Women, the Alston Bannerman Fellowship for Organizers of Color, and the Twink Frey Visiting Scholar Fellowship at University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women. In 2012, she was listed as one of the Time magazine Time 100, and one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World.” We caught up with Poo by phone on a Saturday while her children played in the background to talk about her work and how the community development world might connect with it.

  • Capital Catch-up

    Community lenders try to address the capital crunch faced by small businesses of color.

  • A New Remedy for America’s Complicated Immigration History

    Public and private will—not politics—will change the national immigration conversation

  • Interview with John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

    It’s not every year (or even every decade) that community developers and housers see themselves represented in the ranks of the coveted MacArthur Fellows (or “genius grant” recipients). That in and of itself would be sufficiently exciting, but when Shelterforce staff sat down to talk to John Henneberger of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, one of the 2014 MacArthur geniuses, we certainly found ourselves impressed and excited. Driven by a sense of justice since college, he has been on the frontlines of the fight for equality and equity since those years. Henneberger has extensive knowledge of the field, an ability to clearly relate many of our most basic concerns to each other, and a clear-eyed focus on end goals above interim measures. In this two part interview, he talks about expansive definitions of “fair housing,” exciting organizing work in Texas that the rest of the country should keep an eye on, the role of a state-level advocacy organization, and much more.

  • Interview with Mayor Ivy Taylor, San Antonio, TX

    When Julian Castro, then-mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was picked to be the new Secretary of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development last year, the city council voted in Ivy Taylor from among their ranks to replace him. The first African-American mayor of the largely Latino and Anglo city, and strongly identified as an urban planner, Taylor casts herself as someone interested more in getting work done than leaving a political legacy. However, she has not shied away from controversial positions, and her initial position that she would not be running for re-election fell by the wayside as she announced her candidacy on February 16, less than two weeks after this interview. We spoke with Mayor Taylor, who has a background in affordable housing, about what it’s like to move between the community development sphere and city government, some of her difficult decisions, and her vision for stable, mixed-income neighborhoods in the city she is serving.

  • This Book Changes Everything

    Book Review: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

  • Review: More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing by Amy L. Howard
  • Interview: Jay Williams

    Jay Williams was the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, from 2006 to 2011, at a time when Youngstown was attracting notoriety for making the unusual assertion that, rather than longing for its bygone glory days before the steel mills closed, it was going to embrace a vision of becoming a smaller, yet more vibrant city. (See Shelterforce’s  “Small Is Beautiful, Again”, for more on this approach and how it affects low-income residents.) Williams is now assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, and administrator of the Economic Development Administration. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, Williams served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, and he also served in the White House as deputy director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this position, he led efforts to engage mayors, city council members, and county officials around the country.


    Shelterforce spoke with Williams at the conference of the National Alliance of Economic Development Associations last fall in San Antonio.

  • Close to Home
  • Ending Veteran Homelessness: A Goal with a Plan

    The Obama administration’s campaign to end veteran homelessness involves unprecedented cross-agency collaboration, a willingness to embrace new methods, and substantial resources. It’s a combination that just might work.

  • Interview: Wayne Meyer, President, New Jersey Community Capital

    New Jersey Community Capital shakes up our ideas of how nonprofit housers can and should approach neighborhood stabilization

  • Q: Do Section 8 voucher holders increase crime in a neighborhood?
  • Serving Those Who Served

    Community organizations, including some that are not veteran-specific, are figuring out how best to reach and serve an increasing number of veterans in need.

  • Clearing a Path to Employment for Veterans

    Veterans tend to have many job skills—but translating that into civilian employment is often harder than it should be.

  • Without More Affordable Housing, Veteran Homelessness Will Return

    Federal funding to end veteran homelessness has had a real impact, but a nationwide shortage of affordable housing could make its success temporary.

  • Short-Term Funds With Long-Term Impact

    The changes that stimulus funding made in Lane County, Oregon’s homelessness prevention will last past the funds themselves—but they could have a lot more effect, especially for veterans, if federal funding continued.

  • Don’t Call Them Homeless Veterans

    Surprising insights on messaging from the front lines of NIMBY

  • Vets Get Access to Land Trust Homeownership

    VA home loan guaranties and community land trusts are perfect partners—but not everyone knows that yet.

  • Economic Security First

    Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Times Books, 2013

  • We May Be Small, But…

    Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World, by Catherine Tumber. MIT Press, 2012

  • Veterans By the Numbers

    Some statistics about the state of veterans in America.

  • Salt Lake City Walks the Collaboration Talk to Serve Vets

    When Salt Lake City committed to ending veteran homelessness, its agencies had to be willing to change and work together in ways that weren’t always easy—but were always worth it.

  • One Mission, One Stop for Veterans in Denver

    By Brenton Hutson, Jay Krammes, Melanie Lewis Dickerson, Heather Powers, and Daleena Scott.   

    Service providers come together around an ambitious goal to end veteran homelessness in the Denver metro area.

  • How Can We End Homelessness?  Let’s Start—and Finish—With Veterans

    We are so close to this goal. We should not change our focus before we meet it.

  • Implementing Vouchers for Veterans

    A look at what HUD-VASH supportive housing vouchers can do, from the perspective of one of the agencies administering them.

  • We Served Too

    Women are an increasing percentage of veterans, and of homeless veterans—but their experiences of homelessness differ from their male counterparts, and so must the solutions.

  • One Veteran’s Story

    Michael Powell’s journey from childhood poverty to military service and subsequent struggle with addiction is probably not unlike thousands of others who have served; but in listening to his story, you realize that somewhere along the way it may have become more complicated than it needed to be. For people who are struggling with these demons, a clear lifeline to help is often the key that can be the difference between a struggle that lasts one year, five years, or a lifetime.

  • Homeownership Counselors—And Organizers, Too!

    Northwest Side Housing Center combines counseling and organizing to empower homeowners facing foreclosure.

  • Interview: George McCarthy, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

    After 14 years at the Ford Foundation, most recently as the director of the Metropolitan Opportunities Unit, George “Mac” McCarthy became the fifth president of the 41-year-old Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, trading in his long daily commute to New York City and returning to Boston, where he grew up. McCarthy brings to the job that critical and nuanced eye for detail that comes with being an accomplished housing economist with the mission of bringing social justice to those denied it around the world. Well-known for his blunt and honest views and his ability to challenge as well as inspire those he works with, McCarthy has long seen land use policy as a means to reach the equity goals he’s worked for in his roles as a teacher, researcher, and funder.

  • Sprawl vs. Unions

    The three very different stories of the building trades in Atlanta, Denver, and Portland, Ore., show just how much urban development patterns affect workers.

  • Out from Under the Table

    An enterpreneurial training program in Detroit has an unexpected side benefit—legitimizing existing but unofficial businesses, and poising them for growth.

  • Interview: Senator Mel Martinez and Mayor Henry Cisneros
  • Industry News
  • All Grown Up—And Still Fighting

    Gaining Ground, by Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan. New Day Films, 2013, 58 min. Price Varies by use and format

  • Placemaking for, and by, Whom?

    Place-Making in Legacy Cities: Opportunities and Good Practices, prepared by New Solution Group LLC in partnership with Center for Community Progress, December 2013.

  • Winning a Land Bank We Can Trust

    Lessons from Philadelphia’s Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land

  • Q: Is a land bank the same thing as a land trust?

    A: No!! They are totally different, though complementary, tools.

  • Forging a Transformative Vision

    Building economic power through community ownership is the antidote to the systemic failures of our current system.

  • Thinking Outside the Big Box

    Urban centers need to come up with creative solutions
    to keep their local economies safe from the crushing
    force of big-box retailers.

  • The Cooperative Solution

    Cooperatives align closely with the goals and values of community developers and deserve more attention as an economic development strategy.

  • To Build a Community Economy, Start With Solidarity

    How residents who can’t afford to buy in can still get the benefits of co-op work and housing.

  • Getting Rid of the Middleman

    A Brooklyn organization discovers that helping its constituents form worker cooperatives tackles poverty and social isolation in a way traditional job readiness training can’t.

  • Winning a Land Bank We Can Trust

    Lessons from Philadelphia’s Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land

  • Focus on Scale Up, Not Start-up

    To truly transform local neighborhoods, we must shift our attention to invest in enterprise scale, not start-ups, as a long-lasting solution for creating good jobs.

  • Keeping the Jobs in House

    Humboldt Construction Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chicago CDC, has been providing local employment and high-quality work for over 30 years.

  • Lifting the Fog on Section 3

    When it’s more appealing to circumvent the law requiring that jobs in public housing construction go to qualified residents than to follow it, something needs to change.

  • Beyond the Box

    A movement for second chances takes root.

  • Hitting Construction Hiring Goals

    How do you ensure that the jobs a new development is supposed to bring to a community actually go to underrepresented populations?

  • Building Bridges, Building Muscle, Building Momentum

    Two cities show how community-based organizations and labor can overcome their historical divide to work together.

  • An Organizer’s Work Is Never Done

    An unprecedented local hiring win is a stepping stone in a trajectory to turn workforce development on its head.

  • We Should Be Working Less

    Changing our assumptions about what constitutes “normal” full time work could help address all sorts of social problems, from unemployment to civic disengagement.

  • Put Your Spending Where Your Goals Are

    Local procurement policies take money already being spent and direct it to local businesses to get more economic development benefit for the buck.

  • Let’s Talk About Jobs—And Ownership
  • Are You Subsidizing Big Business?

    Massive corporations, not start-ups or local job creators, get the lion’s share of state and local development incentives.

  • Manufactured Locally

    While there is much debate about the state of large-scale domestic manufacturing, a few places are quietly supporting local manufacturing for items that have been made overseas for some time, from jewelry to jeans.

  • Interview With Tom Szaky, Founder, Terracycle

    We spoke with Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s founder and CEO, about social enterprise, locating in a distressed community, and what he as an employer would want out of workforce development programs.

  • Residents Need to Own Community Change

    To get beyond superficial “input,” involve residents in a development from start to finish, from planning to implementation to ownership.

  • On Board

    How do you make a community development organization’s board welcoming to residents and low-income members, and ensure that once there, they are more than window dressing?

  • Coming to Consensus

    When and how can consensus decision making work for community-based organizations?

  • Power to the Members

    Community development and planning organizations with a voting membership are rare, but the ones that do prioritize a democratic structure say it’s well worth the additional work.

  • INTERVIEW: Tony Pickett, Denver’s Urban Land Conservancy

    Probably no one in the country is in a better position than Tony Pickett to talk about efforts to include long-term affordable housing in two of the nation’s largest Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ventures: Denver’s FasTracks plan, and Atlanta’s Beltline project.

  • Fleeced Again… Plundering Our Elders

    Review of Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse

  • Phillip Henderson, President, Surdna Foundation

    Phillip Henderson was only 38 when he took the helm at the Surdna Foundation seven years ago, becoming Surdna’s second director in what he calls its “modern era.” Henderson came to the family foundation from a career that had been focused on international philanthropy, but he applied many of the lessons he learned fostering civic engagement in post-Communist Europe to Surdna’s domestic grantmaking. Henderson sat down with Shelterforce to talk about aligning program with mission, cross-pollination between programs, and Surdna’s recent launch into the impact investing world.

  • Urban Art or Graffiti Vandalism?

    Review of Stations of the Elevated, by Manfred Kirchheimer, 1981.

  • Hungry for Housing

    New Deal Ruins: Race, Economic Justice and Public Housing Policy, by Edward G. Goetz. Cornell University Press, 2013, 256 pp. $23.95 (paperback).

    Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, by Lawrence J. Vale. The University of Chicago Press, 2013, 448 pp. $27.50 (paperback).

POSTS ON ROOFLINES