Shelterforce’s Top 10 Stories of 2021

COVID-19 and evictions; more on the gentrification debate; and the misleading marketing of renters choice—Shelterforce reviews its most-read articles of the year. Which was most important to you?

Close-up view of a seedling coming up through a crack in pavement, illustrating annual list of our top 10 articles for 2021
Photo by Flickr user Ray S, CC-BY-2.0

As we wind down our work for 2021 and begin focusing on next year’s coverage, we wanted to share with you our 10 most-read articles of the last year—from Dec. 1, 2020, to Dec. 1, 2021.

Some of these will be familiar to you, others might be new. Either way, we hope you enjoy these important pieces and share them with anyone who may find them useful.

Thank you so much for your work in this field and we wish you a happy, healthy, and productive New Year! With your continued support, Shelterforce will be with you every step of the way.

No. 10—Fixing the Harms of our Eviction System: An Interview with Emily Benfer
Interview by Miriam Axel-Lute and Brandon Duong, Shelterforce
What needs to change in our housing and eviction systems—not just now, but once the pandemic is past? What’s the most equitable way to approach spending limited rental assistance funds? Our talk with eviction expert Emily Benfer.

No. 9—Housing Field Reacts to Marcia Fudge Nomination
Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
Surprise, frustration, and optimism mingle in response to left-field choice.

No. 8—Universal Housing Vouchers: A Promise or a Pipe Dream
By Shelby R. King, Shelterforce
President Biden promised to expand the Housing Choice Voucher program so that everyone who qualifies for a voucher gets one. What exactly would that change entail, and how long could it be before we see it happen?

No. 7—Housing Policy Needs Abolition Too
Krystle Okafor and Sophie House, Furman Center
The movements for prison and police abolition offer challenges to the way the housing field has long accepted limits on what is possible to achieve in housing justice.

No. 6—What Does ‘Gentrification’ Really Mean?
Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
The word “gentrification” has become a widespread and highly debated term. We’ve found that there are (at least) four broad kinds of things that people mean when they say they are concerned about “gentrification.”

No. 5—Say it Ain’t So: Joe Biden’s Ill-Advised Plan to Eliminate Exclusionary Zoning
David Imbroscio, University of Louisville
A counterintuitive argument contends that from a housing justice perspective, the Biden administration’s attack on exclusionary zoning is unwise. 

No. 4—Q: Does the CDC’s Extension of the Eviction Moratorium Mean No One is Being Evicted?
A: Unfortunately, no. Here are six reasons why the moratorium isn’t preventing all evictions.

No. 3—‘Gentrification’ Is Not the Real Problem
Brett McMillian, Columbia University
The conversation about gentrification continually repackages a set of debunked theories as reality and it obscures a set of real crises that need fixing.

No. 2—Millions of Tenants at Risk of Eviction, Billions in Rental Assistance Undelivered
Shelby R. King, Shelterforce
What will happen if the millions of tenants who owe billions in back rent don’t get federal rental assistance before the moratorium expires? And how did the 2020 eviction predictions pan out?

No. 1—Security Deposit Alternatives: The Misleading Marketing of Renter’s Choice
Alex Williamson, Shelterforce
Dozens of cities and states are considering legislation allowing alternatives to upfront security deposits, such as “security deposit insurance.” The only problem? It’s not actually insurance.

Shelterforce is a nonprofit publication, published by the National Housing Institute. We are not beholden to a particular program, theory, approach, or constituency. We are dedicated to being useful to our readers and to fostering strong, vibrant, just, healthy places for everyone.

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