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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.

A Boost to Vouchers Would Be a Boost for Kids

More than 5 million people in 2.1 million low-income families use the Housing Choice Voucher program to help pay...

Vouchers Are Helping Children Avoid Concentrated Poverty

More than 5 million people in some 2 million low-income families use Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) to help them afford decent housing. Although the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program makes little difference in where poor white families with children live, it makes a large difference for poor families of color, as our recent paper explains. […]

Give Housing Vouchers Their Full Power

A proposed rule change for the use of federal Housing Choice Vouchers would greatly improve the chance that housing...

Put the “Choice” in “Housing Choice Vouchers”

In June, Alexander Polikoff, lead counsel in the decades-long Gautreaux Chicago Public Housing desegregation litigation, spoke to HUD staff on the FHEO Speaker Series. ...

Section 8 Allowed

Early research shows that laws prohibiting discrimination based on source of income may improve outcomes for Housing Choice Voucher holders.

The Case for New Vouchers

Bill Faith, of the Columbus, Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio praised the $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund in the...

Helping Families Use Vouchers to Move to High-Opportunity Neighborhoods

It is well known that where people live can have a big impact on their life. For children, that can...

How L.A.’s Housing Crisis Makes Family Reunification Much Harder

The increased risk of family separation is a lesser-known consequence of the affordable housing crisis.

Interview with Michael Bodaken, retiring director of the National Housing Trust

Shelterforce took the occasion of Michael Bodaken's retiring from the National Housing Trust to speak with him about how he got into housing, some of his favorite projects, and his recommendations for the field going forward.

In Pursuit of a “Both/And” Housing Policy–The Case of Housing Choice...

Readers of Shelterforce are accustomed to seeing commentary about the perceived tension between community development and housing mobility. Almost...

Whose Affordable Housing Crisis?

Being priced out of appreciating neighborhoods is not the housing affordability problem most Americans face. But they are facing one.

Q: Can Prohibiting Source-of-Income Discrimination Help Voucher Holders?

A: Yes. Currently landlords in most places can discriminate against voucher holders, and many do. For example: An African-American female tester using a voucher was denied...

Memphis Murder Mystery? No, Just Mistaken Identity

A group of the nation's leading scholars and experts on housing and urban policy respond to The Atlantic's "American Murder Mystery"

Getting Affordable Housing Near Good Schools

A new housing acquisition model is focusing on a specific criteria to increase access to opportunity for very low-income families.

The Not-So Hidden Truths About the Segregation of America’s Housing

Our conversation with The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein on uncovering truths about our not-so distant history of federally mandated racial segregation in housing.

Segregation 101

A year after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, The New York Times published a front-page article about racism in the St. Louis area. What it doesn't address is ...

The Fight to Save Section 8

In April 2004, when the Bush Administration launched a major assault on the program that helps Marion Brady pay her rent, she sprang into...

Section 8 Voucher Holder Denied Housing

Despite having a housing voucher—a legal source of income—a Buffalo, New York, woman could not find a landlord who would rent out their property to her.

Credit Where Credit is Due

I wholeheartedly agree with Peter Dreier that housing activists should join with others to support policies that would lift the working poor (and other...

Section 8 Is Broken

The Patterson Park neighborhood, on the East Side of Baltimore, stands perched precariously between renewal and collapse. A mixed-income population, almost evenly divided between...

Three Takeaways from the President’s 2016 HUD Budget

Here are three key facts to understand the President’s 2016 budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in its broader budget, policy, and political contexts: 1. The proposed funding increase is much more modest than it may initially appear. The President’s $41.0 billion HUD request for 2016 is $6.2 billion, or […]

Setting Aside Housing for Frequent Health Care Users

Housing specifically for those who frequently use health care services makes sense on many levels, but it also raises questions about privacy and lining up who pays and who benefits.

A Cruel Choice—Sexual Favors for Housing

Across the U.S., sexual harassment at the hands of landlords, property managers, and others in the housing industry can drive poor women and their children into homelessness. It is a problem badly understood and virtually unstudied.

The Promise and Peril of HUD’s RAD Program

After a public housing property in Hopewell, Virginia, was privatized through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, some families were threatened with eviction and...

Housing the Working Poor

What big ideas should housing activists put forward to the next president and Congress? Assuming that a Democrat wins the White House and that the Democrats hold onto or even expand their majority in Congress, housing advocates have an opening to promote a progressive agenda. Are we ready?

YIMBYs: Friend, Foe, or Chaos Agent?

The relationship between pro-building “Yes in My Back Yard” activists, longtime housing advocates, and anti-displacement organizers varies across the country, but has often been fraught with difficulties. Is there a way forward?

New Hope for Public Housing?

America's hulking public housing towers have provided a shifting symbol through the years. When built, they symbolized a generous system, giving comfort to Americans...

NYCHA’s Embrace of RAD Program Brings a Mix of Praise and...

Rehabbing this Far Rockaway housing complex is a huge undertaking. NYCHA is betting that the RAD program can make it happen, and it seems to be paying off.

Housing and Welfare Reform

Although welfare and housing assistance systems are designed and administered separately from each other, their beneficiaries overlap to a substantial degree. Especially in the...

Slipping Away

As a wave of HUD mortgages expires in the next four years, an already dwindling supply of affordable units may nosedive with owners making windfall profits -- unless the right mix of federal legislation and local organizing can save the day.

1,000,000 Homes at Risk

Sweeping changes in national housing policy have put hundreds of thousands of public and federally assisted (Section 8) housing units at risk. These drastic...

Up for Grabs: Congress to Decide on Section 8 Expirations

Over the past few months, considerable attention of housing advocates, policymakers and, yes, even the media, has been focused on the enormous budget problem...

Housing Legislative News

House Committee Slashes HUD Funding "Death by a thousand cuts" is how some have described the House VA-HUD-IA Appropriations Subcommittee's mark-up on July 26. The...

Shelter Shorts

Starting Small Brings Big Rewards In Michigan, some organizations are coming up with creative approaches to teach the value of a...

HUD Budget Approved

After years of wrangling, Congress hastily passed a public housing reform bill in the last days before its October adjournment. Attached as Title V...

Congressman Rick Lazio on H.R. 2

Rick Lazio (R-Long Island, NY) was first elected to Congress in 1992. He currently serves as the chairman of the House Banking Subcommittee on...

Inside the Affordable Housing “Big Tent”

I had an interesting chat over lunch on the train home from National Housing Conference's Solutions 2013 in Atlanta last...

Investing in Human Capital

Q: In a country as affluent as the United States, why does a woman disabled by schizophrenia have to live in an alley? A: Because...

Rhode Island Tenants Fight and Win!

On August 1, 2005, 193 residents at the Barbara Jordan I properties in Providence, Rhode Island, received a letter informing them that the owner...

Ending Veteran Homelessness

Now that the narrative has slowly — slowly — changed from a cuts-only policy perspective to something more nuanced, complex, equitably-minded discussion (thanks, in...

Housing and Community Development Legislative News

Housing Reform Bills After a year of trying to reach consensus on major public and assisted housing reform, House and Senate staff are...

The Other Section 8 Program

Addressing the housing needs of very low-income people requires many tools. One tool worth better understanding is the voucher and certificate program. The program serves...

New Data on True Cost of Voucher Administration

HUD is trying to get better data on the true cost of administering the Housing Choice Voucher program, but...

Housing Assistance for All Is a Matter of Racial Justice–and It’s...

Project-based Section 8 has been a successful public-private partnership that helps provide affordable housing to very low-income households while...

Organizing to Build a Movement

In December 1994, President Bill Clinton proposed converting public housing and project-based Section 8 into vouchers. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Rick Lazio...

Community Development Legislative News

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition President Submits HUD's FY2000 Request The Clinton administration submitted its FY2000 budget request to Congress on February...

Shelter Shorts: Community Development News

A Lump of Coal for Xmas About one million people will begin losing their unemployment benefits after Christmas. Why? House Republicans successfully blocked Democratic efforts...

Threat to Low-Income Renters Will Get Worse, Unless Congress Acts

Budget Cuts Threaten Rental Assistance to Families Across the CountryCongress has set a deadline of Dec. 13 to negotiate...

The REAL Rental Housing Issue

We know a few things about the majority of very low-income renters: They live in private market housing, not tax credit projects or public...

Interview with HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Shelterforce got a chance to speak with Secretary Julian 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.

HUD's Exit Strategy?

“All of the truly needy will not get vouchers. I’ll say that in a minute,” the HUD secretary bluntly told editors of the Washington...

One Million Families At Risk

The dangers of Mark to Market and the needs for preserving expiring subsidized housing.

Section 8 Is Only One Part of Addressing the Housing Crisis

Editor’s Note: The following is a response to a comment posted by Rooflines blogger Nandinee Kutty that points to “serious weaknesses” in Section 8...

Housing in the 106th Congress

As we move into the 107th Congress, looking back at the 106th's efforts to alleviate the affordable housing crisis can help advocates set their...

HUD’s Exit Strategy?

“All of the truly needy will not get vouchers. I’ll say that in a minute,” the HUD secretary bluntly told editors of the Washington...

Preserving Affordable Housing by Buying, Not Building

Two organizations are quietly furthering income integration in higher-income Chicago neighborhoods without new development.

Taking Sexual Harassment Seriously: Tips for Nonprofits

Sexual harassment is a topic that’s not often addressed in the community development field, but it should be.

Injecting Racial Equity into an Election Cycle in St. Louis

A group of 10 St. Louis organizations joined together to encourage mayoral candidates to address racial equity and make it a focal point in an election.

Housing Quality Is Key to Mental Health

Living in substandard housing affects your mental health as well, several studies have found.

A Marketplace for Health and Housing to Exchange Money—Has the Time...

Why would there be a need for a marketplace that values health? The answer is simple: our current “investments” in health are not working.

Is a Home with Lead Hazards Really “Affordable”?

The cost of housing is not simply the mortgage, rent, and utilities, but the individual and community health, education, and social costs associated with low-quality, unstable, and unhealthy housing.

What—and Who—Is a “Nuisance”?

Why are nuisance ordinances proliferating nationwide, and who is disproportionately affected?

Decommodifying Housing Without Reproducing American Apartheid

Though the idea of social housing is gaining traction among advocates and policy experts, the path of least resistance for its production in the U.S. is also the path of the perpetuation of residential racial segregation.

Getting Ahead of Gentrification in the South Side of Columbus

More than a decade after several groups came together to improve substandard housing in the South Side of Columbus, signs of gentrification and forced displacement are beginning to emerge. Can something be done so current residents can afford to stay in their neighborhoods for years to come? The short answer is yes.

Rebellion Spurs Opportunity and a New Housing Movement

How a Baltimore collaborative plans to make shared-equity housing a significant sector in the local housing market.

Co-ops: Resistance to Living in the Land of the Lord

For Section 8 recipients, a step toward economic mobility (and community control) can be limited-equity cooperatives. A Section 8 voucher can be used to pay some of the monthly carrying costs of a co-op unit.

The Dark Side of Single-Family Rental

After the foreclosure crisis, global equity firms snapped up thousands of single-family homes to rent out. This massive shift in the market has not been good for aspiring homeowners, tenants, or neighborhoods.

Housing and the New Congress

The 110th Congress: What's in store for housing and community advocates?

Here’s What We Actually Know About Market-Rate Housing Development and Displacement

For-profit housing cannot meet most renters’ needs, and that’s by design. So when you talk about market-rate construction and displacement, use the following literature review as reference.

Housing, Not Warehousing—A Victory 10 Years in the Making

Warehousing is one of real estate’s best-kept secrets, and a crucial piece of how the housing market can keep supply low and demand high. One New York City organization rallied to prove warehousing still posed a problem, and pushed the boundaries of what was politically possible.

We Can Totally Build Our Way Out of This Problem

Here's a list of possible translations to the statement, "We can't build our way out of the housing crisis," and a handy response to each.

Federal Housing Policy: The Road Ahead

Housing policy in the 105th Congress will continue to undergo a "quiet revolution." The policies can be characterized as "revolutionary" because they involve breathtaking...

Congressional Report Card

The Republican Revolution that captured control of Congress in 1994 resulted in sweeping changes in the way the federal government treats America's poorest families....

A Withering Commitment

The federal government has never had a strong commitment to housing for low-income Americans. The recent history of national housing policy sheds light on...

1998 Legislative Agenda

FY1999 HUD Budget "Cities have been at a competitive disadvantage with outlying counties," said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo in a February 2 New York Times...

The Reality of Poverty Deconcentration

A “moral panic” over crime in central cities, combined with a demand for reform of the most troubled public housing developments, led to a profound shift in the late 1980s in how this country housed poor people.

Interview with John Henneberger of the Texas Low Income Housing Information...

John Henneberger 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 more.

Interview with John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service–Part 1

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.

Public Housing Unchained?

In the three-year legislative odyssey called public housing reform, there is near universal agreement that overhaul of public housing is needed. It would be...

HUD Improves Project-Based Voucher Program But More Remains to Be Done

HUD has recently made some important changes to the rules for its Project-Based Voucher (PBV) program, which helps families live in affordable rental housing. The...

What Does an Affordable Rural Rental Housing Strategy Look Like?

Affordable housing advocates were happy recently to see the Senate Appropriations Committee tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get...

Shifting Fortunes

The history of housing in this country could well be capsuled as a story of unintended consequences. Twenty-five years ago, we were beginning to...

Ending Veteran Homelessness: A Goal with a Plan

The 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 with Sheila Crowley, past president of the National Low Income...

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 Afloat: The Ongoing Struggle for Affordable Housing

A multi-faceted approach is necessary to stem the rising number of severely cost-burdened households in the United States.

Shelter Shorts

Salt Lake Officials Try to Redirect Low-Income Housing City councilors in Salt Lake City are trying to redirect where low-income and...

Will President Bush Reform the Mansion Subsidy?

For years, progressives have been denouncing “welfare for the rich” – government subsidies to big business, pork-barrel Pentagon contracts to weapons makers, huge tax...

Shelterforce Interview: Sandra Henriquez

HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez spoke with Shelterforce to discuss the administration’s Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance initiative and address some of the concerns regarding PETRA’s push to allow public housing authorities to leverage private investments. 

Fighting for the Right to Remain in Southwest Yonkers

Waverly Arms is a federally subsidized building located in southwest Yonkers that my organization, Tenants & Neighbors—a tenant advocacy group—has been involved with since...

Does Public Housing Have a Future?

Everybody hates public housing, except the low-income people who live there and the people on the long waiting lists to get in. After years of neglect, the Obama administration wants to save public housing for future generations. Let's let them.

HUD Budget Request

President Clinton's fiscal year 2001 (FY01) budget request submitted to Congress February 7 seeks increases for HUD programs in general. In a recent Memo...

Does Public Housing Have a Future?

Everybody hates public housing, except the low-income people who live there and the people on the long waiting lists to get in. Now, after years...

Who Dun It in the “American Murder Mystery?”

The Atlantic story on crime in Memphis (Tenn.) and Louisville (Ky.) by Hanna Rosin and her identifying “one of the most celebrated antipoverty programs...

Shelter Shorts

500 New Homeowners; One Dead Housing Program Hundreds of western Massachusetts tenants became homeowners this past summer because of their work through the Anti-Displacement Project,...

Newly-Suspended HUD Rule Would Have Expanded Access to Neighborhood Opportunity

After years-long notice and comment periods, a final rule on using small area Fair Market Rents to determine housing choice voucher payment levels was supposed to take effect. However, the Trump administration has recently announced a two-year suspension of the rule.

Reckless Budget Targets Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors

There are few greater obligations that we share as a nation than to support our servicemen and women when they come home “to care...

Integrating Schools Is a Matter of Housing Policy

Inclusionary zoning and economic integration in suburban neighborhoods not only reduces concentration of poverty, it directly improves low-income children’s academic achievement. 

The Challenges of Economic Integration

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

The Last Stop Sign

I had my first organizing experience 28 years ago working for the National Welfare Rights Organization, knocking on doors in the suffocatingly humid summer...