Matthew Brian Hersh

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Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.

“Political Lift”: An Interview with Rep. Keith Ellison

As we head into the election home stretch, pieces of Rep. Keith Ellison's interview with Shelterforce in our latest issue keep coming to mind. Ellison...

Rep. Keith Ellison

In the spring of 2008, as the country plunged into the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Keith Ellison, a freshman Democrat...

Direct Action Governing

When community developers and organizers get elected to office, how do they preserve the community-minded sensibility and ethos that got them there? What lessons can they bring back to their colleagues on the ground? Shelterforce sat down with a cadre of organizers- turned–New York City Council members to find out how to bolster the bridge between the city and City Hall.

Big News for Pennsylvania Voting Rights

You can add Pennsylvania to the list of states to have a voter ID law shelved, at least for now....

Providing Tools to Age in Place

A bill that would establish a program to ensure support services for neighborhoods with high concentrations of seniors cleared a...

Where the Community Comes Together

There's a place in every community where people congregate to exchange ideas, socialize, pray, engage, or just plain hang...

Cory Booker’s #Neighborhood

If there was some radio silence on Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker's Twitter feed on Tuesday, it was only because...

Good News for Voting Rights

A three-judge panel blocked Texas's voter ID law today, stating the law would curb voter turnout and would foist “strict,...

7 Questions Candidates Need to Answer on the Housing Crisis

Aside from Romney VP pick Paul Ryan proposing to abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, any talk of fixing the...

Olympic Redevelopment in London: Displacement or Empowerment?

The Olympics are filled with fascinating storylines that illustrate an athlete's life-long goal of competing at the games—often overcoming...

Senator Robert Menendez

On February 9, 2012, 49 attorneys general announced the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement. That same day, Sen. Robert Menendez introduced the Preserving American...

Interview with Senator Robert Menendez

In February, on the heels of $25 billion attorneys general mortgage settlement, Sen. Robert Menendez unleashed the Preserving American Homeownership Act, a bill that would help eligible underwater homeowners by creating a program where banks reduce mortgage principal in exchange for a portion of the increased value of the home over time -- shared appreciation mortgage.The bill was timely because it mirrored Ocwen Financial's loan modification program, Shared Appreciation Modification, that creates equity by writing down an underwater borrower’s principal balance to 95 percent LTV. In this interview, Shelterforce talks to Menendez, (D-NJ), who serves as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee's subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, about this initiative, the ongoing federal response to the housing crisis, the Sustainable Communities Initiative, the Occupy movement, and more.

Urban Farms and Growing Communities

Urban farming has long served as  a way for distressed communities to turn blighted land into socially and economically productive...

FHA Expands Disposition Program

HUD announced today that it will make 3,500 distressed loans available through its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program—part of an expansion to the...

What Are the Goals of Community Planning?

What are our priorities when it comes to neighborhood planning? According to the results of a public opinion poll...

Is Demo a Good Use of AG Settlement Funds?

While the $25 billion national mortgage settlement is widely viewed as a “first step” toward fixing a larger system...

Peoria LISC

What does it mean when the country's largest community development intermediary opens its first new office in 15 years in...

Preserving and Improving Affordable 2- to 4-unit Properties

In a Shelterforce–hosted roundtable discussion of leading research and policy experts to looking at what makes housing affordable and how the nationwide housing crisis...

The Challenge of Scattered-Site Rental Management

In the winter 2011 issue of Shelterforce we looked at the difficult challenge behind managing scatttered-site rental housing by nonprofits, and...

Going Upstream, Bulk Note Purchase Programs Look to Keep Families in Their Homes

The latest issue of Shelterforce examines a handful of short sale and bulk note purchase programs—Second Opporunity of Arizona, the Mortgage Resolution Fund, Oregon's Loan...

Housing the Political Agenda

It's official, at least it is to you. In order to get housing on the agenda this election cycle,...

How Should AG Settlement Funds Be Used?

If money from the national mortgage settlement is not used for principal reduction, how should it be spent? We...

Should FHFA’s REO-to-Rental Pilot Program Address Affordability?

Recently the National Low Income Housing Coaltion, as part of a blog series looking at discrimination in the marketing and maintenance...

How Would Ending the Census Survey Affect Our Work?

The U.S. House of Representatives last week voted to eliminate the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, in the latest move...

What’s the CDC Model?

No one expects that a one-size-fits-all definition for community development or a blueprint model for effective CD is attainable—it must...

How Are the AG Settlement Funds Being Used?

Enterprise Community Partners has issued a new report on what all 50 states are doing with funds received from the national mortgage...

It’s All FHA’s Fault!

While we're used to seeing articles that blame the homeowner for some part of the housing crisis, some of the...

The Hard Part

Reclaiming REO at a scale that protects neighborhoods will involve a delicate dance between ground game and national reach, and between nonprofit and for-profit capacities.

Detroit: Precise Associates

“When we try to stabilize neighborhoods, rather than being scattered in approach, we try to buy as many properties as possible in a given...

New Jersey: Community Asset Preservation Corporation

“One of the main challenges in preserving neighborhoods everywhere is figuring out how to better establish a permanent, durable, capital pool that is more...

FHFA’s DeMarco: Finally Coming Around on Principal Reduction?

Speaking at an event at the Brookings Institution, Addressing the Weak Housing Market: Is Principal Reduction the Answer?, FHFA Acting...

CAP Report Argues Shared Appreciation Strategy for GSEs

A new report from the Center for American Progress sets it sites on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as it urges...

Greening the Affordable Housing Business Model

Enterprise Community Partners has formed the National Multifamily Energy Services Collaborative intended to “design and implement a full suite of green services to help...

Are Things Really Looking Up in the Housing Market?

Where are those “green shoots” in the housing market? With unemployement numbers slowly coming down, and with the economy making...

Church Foreclosures on the Rise

Boston's historic Charles Street AME never missed a mortgage payment, but the church could not refinance and ultimately fell in...

The Lifecycle of Predatory Equity

The New York City Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) has a new report out that examines the “lifecycle” of predatory...

Partnership Potential: Land Banks and Community Land Trusts

In October 2011 a coalition of Philadelphia-based community, faith, and labor groups under the umbrella of the Campaign to Take...

Connecticut’s Affordable Housing Commitment

Earlier this month, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy announced a proposal that would increase the state's commitment to affordable housing by...

$25B Foreclosure Settlement Lays Groundwork to “Fix a Broken System”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has unveiled the long-awaited $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers—the result...

AGs Inch Closer to Foreclosure Deal

A $26 billion robosigning settlement between states and the nation's largest banks could be announced as early as Thursday, according...

Sh*t NY Slumlords Say

The folks at the SurRealEstate blog (the organizing and policy department of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board) poked some fun...

New York AG Sues Banks Over MERS

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sued Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase over the banks' use...

White House Announces Refi Aid

President Obama announced today a move that could allow millions of homeowners—including underwater homeowners— a chance to refinance their mortgages...

HAMP Modification to Include Principal Writedowns

The Home Affordable Modification Program will make further attempts to extend relief to struggling homeowners, the administration announced last week,...

Gallup: U.S. Wants Government to Help Fix the Housing Market

Even though some in the House chamber winced at the president's mention of a mortgage investigative unit during the State...

Mortgage Task Force Moves Quickly as AG Settlement Resurfaces

Eleven financial institutions have been subpoenaed by a new mortgage investigative unit assembled to examine fraud related to mortgage originations...

Schneiderman’s Role in Financial Crimes Unit Is Welcome News

A settlement between attorneys general, federal officials, and the nation's five largest mortgage lenders is reportedly anything but final following...

Too Many Bargains With Pending Foreclosure Settlement, Advocates Worry

Housing advocates and many legislators are voicing their concern with an anticipated $25 billion settlement stemming from an investigation by...

Interview with Shelley Poticha, Director of Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities

Shelterforce speaks with Shelley Poticha, director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, about implementing sustainable policy at the federal level while encouraging local innovation, keeping down the cost of green housing, and effecting change while dealing with federal government bureaucracy.

A First Look at Real CFPB Authority

Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is properly equipped with Richard Cordray as its director, news that it will...

In Case You Missed It: Can Lease Purchase Save Us?

Last week's webinar, “Can Lease Purchase Save Us?,” sponsored by NHI/Shelterforce and NeighborWorks America, provided an in-depth look at the lease purchase model that...

Waiting for Details: NJ’s Foreclosure Relief Corp.

New Jersey has roughly $300 million in a housing trust fund that is currently unused, so on first glance, a...

The New Bottom Line: A Coalition Built to Last

The New Bottom Line, an alignment that is highlighted in the Fall 2011 issue of Shelterforce, recently received the “Most...

Do As I Say, Not (Necessarily) As I Do

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued some guidance to banks about the “obligations and risks related to foreclosed property.” The...

BPC’s Housing Commission Sounds Promising…

The DC-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Center announced the full member roster of its housing commission last week. The announcement comes two months after...

Cleveland Has a Foreclosure Problem?

You might have caught 60 Minutes flying over Cleveland last Sunday for a quick look at the city’s challenges stemming from rampant foreclosures and...

Occupy Giving Organizers a “Shot in the Arm”

The Occupy movement took a welcome turn in the last few weeks when it began organizing around the issue of foreclosures. For a populist...

“When Houses Become Widgets”

“What can cities do when limited-liability entities start buying up distressed properties as investments and then ignore basic maintenance?” asks Stephen Clowney, an assistant...

Does the Current Reliance on Credit Scores Deny Deserving Applicants?

Last week, we asked readers if credit scores were too much of a driver in home loan approval. You answered overwhelmingly that yes, credit...

Occupy Our Homes

As readers of this blog likely know, today is the national kick-off for a new phase of the occupy movement...

Can Nonprofits Use Volunteerism to Achieve a Sustained Increase in Capacity?

Last week, we asked readers if volunteerism could play a factor in growing an organization’s capacity. Respondents offered a mixed...

Criminalizing Homelessness

Last week, when we asked if homelessness should be a more prominent Occupy Wall Street issue, we pointed to an article by author Barbara...

Will the Occupy Wall Street Crackdowns Energize or Deflate the Movement?

Last week we asked you how the widespread crackdowns on the Occupy Wall Street protests would affect the movement. More...

Do You Incorporate Green Building Principles Into Your Development Work?

Last week, we asked if you about adhering to green building principles in your development work and the response was...

Bringing the Occupy Movement to the Community

As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue in public settings all across the country, it’s interesting to watch how the movement begins to take...

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...

Is Homelessness an Occupy Wall Street Issue?

In her recent Mother Jones column, Barbara Ehrenreich writes “What the Occupy Wall Streeters are beginning to discover, and homeless people have known all...

Is It Important to Save the 30-year Fixed-Rate Mortgage?

Last week, we asked you to share your thoughts on preserving the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Here’s how you responded. Selected reader comments at the...

What are your thoughts on proposed changes to HARP to help out underwater borrowers?

Last week, we asked readers “What are your thoughts on proposed changes to HARP to help out underwater borrowers?” Here’s how you responded:You said:“While...

Politics the Wellstone Way

A few years ago, Dave Beckwith, executive director of the Needmor Fund, wrote in Shelterforce about The ABCs of Organizing that offered an overview...

Have you participated in any bank accountability/economic justice demonstrations?

Last week, we asked readers “Have you participated in any bank accountability/economic justice demonstrations through New Bottom Line, Occupy Wall Street, or similar groups?”...

How do you feel about the proposed QRM rule that would exempt banks from...

Results of the Shelterforce poll of October 12, 2011Click continued for more resultsYou said:“20 percent is far more than necessary to protect banks against...

Challenging Markets, Innovative Financing

A contract-for-deed program making headway in North Minneapolis offers another look at how using the CLT model to offer potential homeowners once saddled with...

10-5-11 Poll: Should nonprofits manage scattered site rentals?

Click continued to see selected feedback.You said:“Yes. It’s been my experience that nonprofits often do and should manage scattered site rental units. This is...

9-28-11 Poll: How do conflicting market data affect your neighborhood stabilization efforts?

You said:“Sadly, we may know our economy, but the funding sources require us to use the economists or market study data that may...

Stops For Us

In the winter 2010 issue of Shelterforce, we published an article, Organizing for Inclusive TOD that looked at various transit and transit oriented development...

Bringing the CLT Home

Shelterforce has done quite a bit recently on community land trusts and tracking their ever-increasing role in creating affordable housing and stabilizing neighborhoods. In...

Candidate (and Tenant) Perry’s Housing Record

In June, Rooflines published a piece by Kevin Jewell, a consultant for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service outlining Texas Governor Rick Perry’s...

FHLBanks’ Affordable Housing Progam Can Be a Model for Economic Development Funding

Carol Wayman, federal policy director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development argues in the latest issue of Shelterforce that while community economic developers understand...

CDCs Step In Where Banks Fear to Tread

Early in 2010, the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program released a report indicating that half of the $1.4 trillion in...

CLTs as an Economic Development Tool?

In the Japantown section of San Francisco, a task force is revisiting a 1999 neighborhood plan that once gave a perfunctory nod to how...

Conrad Egan

I suspect I came to the same conclusion when titling this post as Harold Simon did when thinking of a title for our summer...

Looking Ahead: Shelterforce’s 36th Anniversary Issue

In the latest issue of Shelterforce, we examine housing and community development not only by looking back, but also by offering critical analysis for...

House Subcommittee Votes to Eliminate Housing Trust Fund

A House subcommittee voted to stamp out the National Housing Trust Fund this week, signaling a very difficult road ahead for fund advocates. Of...

New York’s Rent Laws Extended, But at What Cost?

The legislative frenzy that led up to the passage of New York State’s marriage equality bill eclipsed a deal to extend the state’s rent...

En Mass.: CDCs Generate $1B in Economic Investment from ‘07 to ‘10

A new report issued by the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations that documents the collective impact of CDCs across the state shows CDCs...

Million Dollar Wasteland? Responses to HOME Investigation

Recently, The Washington Post ran a series, Million-Dollar Wasteland, that waded through layers of project mismanagement and bureaucracy depicting the shortcomings of the HOME...

State of the Nation’s Housing: 2011

New data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies show that the Great Recession that has plagued all sectors of the housing market continues...

Making HAMP Achievable

Despite now-stalled attempts by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to end a cocktail of foreclosure programs — Home Affordable Modification Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program,...

With Cuts in Housing Counseling Funds, It’s Wait and See

Laura Buxbaum, the director of housing resource and policy development at the Maine-based Costal Enterprises Inc. showed up at this...

Budget Cuts and Homeless Veterans

In March, as part of a series looking at the impact of state and local budget cuts on communities across the country, New Jersey...

Bostic on Green Finance: Investing in Sustainable Outcomes

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has posted a brief, informative interview with Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, on...

NLIHC Report: Rental Homes Remain Out of Reach

The gap between income and rent continues to widen, and “high unemployment, falling wages, and low rental vacancy rates driven by a post-recession return...

Twin Cities’ Central Corridor Light Rail Gets a Big Boost

Here’s some great news for a transit project happening in Minneapolis-St. Paul that has brought together transportation and equity advocates in not only creating...

Can’t Offer Housing Counseling Without the Funding

One of the highlights of this year’s National Community Reinvestment Coalition conference was the luncheon on Day 2, which took place in the Hart...

Benton Harbor and the Continued Golf Course Wars

The little twin cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor — two lakefront localities in southwest Michigan are divided by a cultural rift far...

“The Fight Continues.”

Michael De Los Santos, community organizer and outreach and project coordinator with the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina talks about working within communities...

“Better Ideas to Help Our Community”

Dolores Swartworth, an at-large member of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, spoke with us at this year’s National Community Reinvestment Coalition conference on the...

Mitigating the Impacts of the Current Foreclosure Crisis

NHI/_Shelterforce_ Associate Director and Editor Miriam Axel-Lute appeared at an event last Tuesday, co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and National Council of La...