Author Bios

Note: These author bios are part of a series, “Saving Affordable Housing,” which begins with an introduction here.

Saving Affordable Housing

Author Bios


John Atlas, Co-author and Project Director

John Atlas is executive director of the Passaic County Legal Aid Society. He is also a founder of the National Housing Institute and president of NHI’s board of directors. Mr. Atlas helped launch Shelterforce, NHI’s national magazine for housing and community development practitioners, and produced Not the American Dream, an award-winning documentary on the housing crisis. He is also a founder and former co-chair of New Jersey Citizen Action. Mr. Atlas has assisted numerous community-based organizations in their efforts to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act and in their fight for tenants rights.

Mr. Atlas’s writing on politics and housing policy have appeared in numerous books and publications, including The Nation, Tikkun, The New Jersey Reporter, The New York Times, Social Policy, and The American Prospect. He has also co-authored with Peter Dreier chapters in Critical Perspectives on Housing (Temple University Press, 1990), Changing America, Blueprints for the New Administration, edited by Mark Green (Newmark Press, 1993), and America’s Cities (Greenhaven Press, 1993).

Mr. Atlas holds a law degree from Boston University and a master of laws from George Washington Law Center. He was appointed by the Clinton Administration to the Advisory Board of the Resolution Trust Corporation, the Savings & Loan bailout agency. He also coaches his son and daughter’s soccer teams.

Ellen Shoshkes, Co-author and Research Director

Ellen Shoshkes in an architect and planner based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Formerly Director of Housing Research in the Architecture and Building Sciences Group at New Jersey Institute of Technology, she is currently a graduate fellow and doctoral candidate at the Bloustein School of Planning and Policy Development, Rutgers University. Ms. Shoshkes has been principle investigator and author of several research studies focusing on housing and community development, including an evaluation of New Jersey’s Balanced Housing Affordable Housing program for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; an analysis of the Farmers Home Administration’s Housing Demonstration programs; and design guidelines for affordable housing, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Ms. Shoshkes is the author of The Design Process: Case Studies in Project Development, published by the Whitney Library of Design in 1989.

Her current research focuses on the relationship between social movements, social learning, and land use. Her dissertation, “Social Movements, Civil Society, and Community Development in the U.S. and Japan,” is based on case studies of local redevelopment initiatives in Zushi City, in metropolitan Tokyo, and the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. This dissertation grew out of Ms. Shoshkes’ participation in three conferences for scholars and professionals in the field of urban planning and development sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Metropolitan Planning Exchange, a program organized by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, the Regional Plan Association, and Tsukuba University.

Ms. Shoshkes has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations involved with housing and community development and is a member of the editorial board of Housing New Jersey. She received her master’s degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed her undergraduate education at MIT and Oberlin College.

John Atlas is a founder of Shelterforce and board chair emeritus. He is the producer of ACORN and the Firestorm, a film directed by Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard and author of SEEDS OF CHANGE: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Anti-Poverty Community Group. He is also the former executive director of the Passaic County Legal Aid Society.
Ellen Shoshkes is an architect and planner based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Ellen is was formerly director of housing research in the Architecture and Building Sciences Group at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She co-authored Saving Affordable Housing for NHI.


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