John Atlas

John Atlas
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John Atlas is president of the National Housing Institute.

Television’s Antidote to Trump

David Simon’s underappreciated Show Me a Hero offers hope that racial divides can be mended, and past injustices overcome....

Newark, NJ, Mayor Tries Eminent Domain for Underwater Homes

Newark’s newly-elected mayor Ras Baraka has taken a bold step to address one of the city’s and state’s most serious...

When The Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses Fought Back

Financial Justice is the untold story of how a diverse group of progressive organizations took on the powerful financial lobby, pushed Congress to create a strong new consumer protection agency and against the odds, won.

Is There Room for Real Change in the Democratic Party?

Thirty-one years before Cory Booker, Junius Williams, another dynamic African-American Yale Law School graduate, moved to Newark with ambitions...

Jon Kest’s Activism, New York’s Future

Thousands of Bill de Blasio’s grassroots supporters—as well as the small inner circle of advisers who helped catapult him...

Booker: Kill the Filibuster, End Watt’s Wait

Cory Booker was just sworn in as a U.S. Senator. His introduction to the lunacy of Senate procedure was...

Deflating a GOP Double Standard

After the sequester cut teaching jobs, Head Start spots, senior food programs, and access to nutrition assistance for over half...

A Gift of Hope: Peter Dreier’s Social Justice Hall of Fame

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, consider Peter Dreier’s timely new book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A...

Don’t Rewrite Andrew Breitbart’s Legacy

I extend condolences to Andrew Breitbart’s family. He died last week at the young age of 43. Because my brother...

In Maryland, Holding Anti-ACORN Activists Accountable

A group of activists are fighting back against the Glenn Becks, Andrew Breitbarts, and the rest of the Fox News propaganda machine who have...

How Did the Media Fail ACORN and Organizing?

Organizing has been under attack for years, but this time around, the media has been directly complicit in severely damaging one of most influential advocates for low- and moderate-income families in the country. How did the media miss the real story behind the assault on ACORN?

In Chicago, a Partial Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis?

This week Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell, at the request of Action Now, the former Illinois chapter of Acorn, which broke away in 2008, and...

What You Need To Know About Financial Reform

Is the public in favor of regulating Wall Street?A national survey conducted in March by the nonpartisan Pew Economic Policy Group found that 68...

ACORN: The New York Times, Lies, and Videotape

The New York Times hit ACORN with a one-two punch last weekend, making sure that the community organizing group — flattened by attacks from...

Court Rules That Congress Unfairly Singled Out ACORN

A federal judge blocked U.S. officials from enforcing a funding ban on ACORN, one of America’s most effective anti-poverty groups. Congress cut off funding...

After the Politicking, Let’s Remember ACORN’s Vital Work

ACORN has been falsely charged in the news media, by politicians, and even by some supporters. This was the point driven home by Wade...

Occupied Owner

For decades, the United States government, pushed by its business partners in the financial and real estate world, "marched the nation into a delusion." The fantasy is that we can create wealth for millions of homeowners by enriching investors, brokerage and mortgage companies and Wall Street bankers "to the fullest extent possible with few boundaries."

What Is ACORN?

By now, most Americans have heard of ACORN. We know them as the national anti-poverty group, which uses community organizing to provide invaluable services...

We All Need to Join In The President’s Fight To Overhaul The Financial Industry

On Monday, as I entered Federal Hall on Wall Street to hear President Barack Obama’s speech, a huge crowd gathered outside the building hoping...

Labor Day, Chris Christie, and the Employee Free Choice Act

It’s labor-day weekend so let’s think about unions, Republicans, and politics.Unions are a potent reality check as well as a counterforce to the power...

Karl Rove v. ACORN

Now we know that Karl Rove spearheaded the firing of David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico who refused to follow the Bush...

Franken, the Fourth of July, and Worker’s Rights

Finally: Al Franken has been seated in the US Senate. After a grueling recount process, former Sen. Norm Coleman finally conceded defeat and congratulated...

Note from the Board

I would like to take this opportunity today to tell you about some important changes at the National Housing Institute–changes that, like so much...

Make Your Voice Heard

What should you do if you’re politically progressive or even if you label yourself a liberal, or a Democrat but are unhappy about the...

Foreclosure Crisis: How Much Blame Falls On The Media?

If you still have not watched The Daily Show, stop what you are doing and go on the Internet and watch last week’s clips...

This Land Is Your Land

What was the best event at the inaugural celebration? Watching Barack Obama take the oath of office, of course, but the next best moment...

Obama’s Challenge: Encourage Social Movements and Other Lessons From FDR and the Great Depression

As Obama prepared his economic recovery plan, he read Jonathan Alter’s The Defining Moment, (Simon and Shuster, 2006) about FDR’s rise to the presidency...

The Biggest Winners

Obama’s election. For those under 30, it was a landslide.Despite the news that Obama is considering the neoliberal Larry Summers for Treasury Secretary and...

Uncage the Voters!

Here at Rooflines, we’ve been tracking recent reports from key swing states uncovering a coordinated GOP election strategy for suppressing votes of foreclosure victims....

Who’s Afraid of ACORN, and Why

Yesterday I posted here on Rooflines to explain the back-story behind the latest round of accusations about ACORN and voter fraud.Today, the McCain-Palin campaign...

ACORN Under Fire, But Is It Justified?

With less than one month left until Election Day, the Republican Party voter repression machine is at it again and once again, its target...

Who’s Pulling for Struggling Americans?

Everyone should be outraged that the proposed economic bailout package passed by the Senate on Wednesday night and being debated in the House...

Financial Implosion: 2nd Chance for Progressive Banking Reform?

When present and former public officials ranging from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary under President Clinton, started...

Community Organizers Help Turn the Tide

Peter Dreier’s most recent Rooflines post cited a story titled “Community Organizing Changed Fishery,” in which John Corrigan, the fishing writer for the Concord...

Community Organizing: More than 15 Minutes of Fame

For months, I’ve been leading kind of a single-minded existence, writing a book about the little known and little understood field of community organizing...

GOP Credo: Less Government, No Community Organizing?

Ronald Reagan famously said the government is the problem, not the solution, and touted the importance of our civil society.Now we hear the...

New Jersey Regional Coalition Wins Affordable-Housing Victory

Tomorrow afternoon, Gov. Jon Corzine will sign one of the most important changes to New Jersey’s affordable-housing laws since the Fair Housing Act was...

Stemming the Red Tide

Greedy bankers, brokers, and investors abused their political power and forced millions of Americans to lose their homes. Now what can we do to solve the crisis?

Mock the Vote

Since the Justice Department axed nine U.S. attorneys, all eyes have been on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, but the scandal began with a GOP strategy to stifle grass-roots registration of poor minority voters.

The Politics of Poverty

Can John Edwards make fighting poverty a winning platform?

NYC Tenants Don’t Want Tourists

Tenants in New York City are getting fed up as growing numbers of tourists camp out in their buildings. Landlords have taken to evicting...

The Battle in Brooklyn

In June 2004, inside Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, a stage was packed with New York’s most important political, labor, community and religious leaders. One of...

A Matter of Life and Hope

Mossik Hacobian is not the kind of person you would immediately associate with saving lives. He’s not a cop or a fireman. If you...

Getting Back to the Basics

Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life, by Theda Skocpol. University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, 366 pp, $29.95 (hardcover). The...

In Red State Florida, Victory for Working People

While 52 percent of Floridians voted for George Bush in the November election, 72 percent backed a Bush-unfriendly ballot initiative: a constitutional amendment raising...

Housing, Politics and Moral Values

How long will it take for us to wise up? I would guess that almost all readers of Shelterforce feel very deeply that extensive...

What the Movies Miss About Community Development

After a recent viewing of the movie Duplex I was reminded of how little the popular cinema helps us understand urban and housing issues,...

The World As It Should Be

This is a time of anxiety over national security, tax cuts for the rich and high unemployment. National policy starves the federal government of...

Enraging the Right

It’s not everyday that a powerful right-wing think tank takes aim at a grassroots organization – after all, there are many groups working in...

Urban Decline and the Global Economy

Mollie's Job : A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line, by William M. Adler, Scribner, May 2000. 352pp. $27.50.To understand...

And The World Keeps Changing

Twenty-five years ago, in the midst of a growing tenant movement, I chaired a meeting at Pat Morrissy's old wood frame house in East...

Some Good News for Organizers

It is easy to believe that racial division and a never-ending conservative era will relegate the collective work of community organizers to the margins....

Organizing

The articles in this issue show by example and opinion a range of work collectively known as organizing. While we by no means discuss...

Courting Racial Justice

Our Town: Race, Housing, and the Soul of Suburbia. By David L. Kirp, John P. Dwyer and Larry Rosenthal. Illustrated. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers...
Melvin L. Oliver, Ph.D., joined the Ford Foundation in 1996 as vice president for asset building and community development.

Interview with Melvin L. Oliver of the Ford Foundation

Melvin Oliver, vice president for asset building and community development at the Ford Foundation, talks about community development, black and white wealth, and racial inequality.

Habits of the Heart

Habits of the Heart, by Robert Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton. 1986. Berkeley, California, University of California Press. Updated...

Foreward

 Saving Affordable HousingForewardThe National Housing Institute, with funding from the Ford Foundation, has made available Saving Affordable Housing, a practical review of selected examples...

Policy Recommendations

Key Values The policies we propose to address the endangered housing problem rest on two foundations: citizen participation and reciprocal responsibility. These policies promote democratic...

Appendix C: Advisory Board

 Saving Affordable HousingAppendix C: Advisory BoardVictor Bach, Community Service Society Stuart Bressler, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Rachel Bratt, Tufts University John E. Davis, Burlington,...

Marksdale Gardens, Boston

Limited Equity Cooperative HousingDuring the administration of Governor Michael Dukakis the Commonwealth of Massachusetts aggressively promoted affordable housing. With strong political and financial support,...

Appendix D: Conference Agenda

Saving Affordable HousingAppendix D: Conference Agenda"Saving Affordable Housing: A Critical Examination of Successful Models" November 16, 19949 - 9:30 am: A National Crisis In The...

Bancroft Apartments, Boston

Resident-Controlled Subsidized Rental ProjectIn the early 1980s, HUD had about 4,500 units in Massachusetts slated for disposition. About 40 percent of these units had...

Notes

 Saving Affordable HousingNotes2. The following two sections are based in part on "Cooperative Housing and the American Dream: Examining Resident Participation," a 1993 master's...

New Heritage House Apartments, Denver

A Model for Independent Living"From the very beginning, when its fortunes depended almost exclusively on gold, silver, oil, and real estate, Denver has been......

Author Bios

Saving Affordable HousingAuthor BiosJohn Atlas, Co-author and Project Director John Atlas is Executive Director of the Passaic County Legal Aid Society. He is also a...

Grace Apartments, Denver

A Rental Project in a Marginal LocationThe group of women's religious communities that established the Catherine McAuley Housing Foundation (CMHF) (see New Heritage case...

Appendix A: The Housing Crisis

During the 1980s, home foreclosures soared and homeownership rates declined. Record numbers of households that went too far into debt to buy the "American...

Homesteading Program, Chicago

Single-Family Community Land Trust HousingChicago is a city of neighborhoods, harboring hundreds of community developers and organizers. When faced with widespread disinvestment in the...

Appendix B: Affordable Housing: An Endangered Species

The United States spends less on direct housing aid for the poor than any other western industrial democracy. Now, the few existing affordable housing...

507 West 140th Street, New York City

Cooperative Housing in HarlemAs a result of widespread disinvestment and abandonment in the 1960s and 1970s, a large stock of buildings fell into New...

Introduction

Since the 1980s, factors as diverse as the globalization of the world economy, job migration from the inner cities to the suburbs, government neglect...

Research Components

Six case studies are at the core of this report. Other sources of information include previous research, facts and ideas generated in an all-day...

Case Studies

Unless otherwise indicated, the research team gathered information and quotes in the following six case studies through interviews, site visits, surveys, and organizations' literature....

Acknowledgments

 Saving Affordable HousingAcknowledgmentsThe idea for this report grew out of conversations between Pat Morrissy, the director of HANDS, Inc., a non-profit community-based housing organization,...

The Elements of Success

What follows is a discussion of the important, parallel elements that emerged from the six successful cases in this report, from NHI's conference, from...

The Early Years

It was during 1973 that I first began thinking about a national publication for the housing movement. I was a legal services lawyer helping...

Reconnecting with America

EYES RIGHT!: Reflections on the November 8th ElectionsIn the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton preached: "The rich get the gold mine and middle-class gets the...

Public Housing: What Went Wrong?

Public Housing: What Went Wrong?The best-kept secret about public housing  is that most of it actually provides decent, affordable housing to many people. Properly...

Is It Time for a Populist Coalition of Low- and Middle-Income Americans for Affordable...

New York Times reporter Jason DeParle wrote: "Experts dicker over the details, but the housing problems of America's poor have grown so severe that...

Middle-Class Anger Examined

Boiling Point: Democrats, Republicans and the Decline of Middle-Class Prosperity  by Kevin Phillips, 307 pp. New York: Random House. 1993.The 1992 federal elections...