When I last wrote an editor’s note for Shelterforce (#117, May/June 2001), we were all adjusting to the beginning of the G.W. Bush administration, nervously trying to figure out what it would mean for our work and for the low-income neighborhoods and populations we serve. Foreclosure was on the radar, in Cleveland, Detroit, LA, and Chicago, but not too many other places. The community development world was fighting for a National Housing Trust Fund and trying to respond to predatory lending and skyrocketing housing prices on the one hand and the loss of funding Bush’s 2002 budget promised on the other. Smart growth and regionalism were just starting to enter our vocabularies.
Clearly, much has changed over the intervening years, during which I took on the roles of Shelterforce contributing editor, local journalist, and freelance consultant working with many national organizations in the field.
But many things haven’t changed, including my respect for those who continue to do the hard work of building and preserving neighborhoods of opportunity for all.
It remains as true as it did in 1975 or 2001 that to further that work, we must look honestly at challenges and opportunities lost, analyze the opportunities in front of us, and understand our successes while celebrating them. Shelterforce does all this — as in this issue, from its sobering look at the growing affordability gap to the exciting story of Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives to, of course, our cover package on the pitfalls and promise of the Preserving, Enhancing, and Transforming Rental Assistance (PETRA) proposal.
It is the chance to participate in those conversations that brings me back to Shelterforce, and I am thrilled to be here.