Miriam Axel-Lute

Miriam Axel-Lute
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Miriam Axel-Lute is editor of Shelterforce and associate director of the National Housing Institute. She lives in Albany, New York, where she serves on the Community Development Alliance board.

Connected Neighborhoods

Transportation is the second largest direct expenditure for American households, after housing. Of course transportation costs vary widely based on where you live, how...
asset based deficit based

The Opposite of Deficit-Based Language Isn’t Asset-Based Language. It’s Truth-Telling.

How do you describe the people you work for and with, or the neighborhoods you work in? Do you use primarily “deficit-based” language like...

The Inside World of ‘Change Makers’

Reading Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman alongside Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas is a fascinating thought experiment.
Talking revitalization graphic

Talking About Revitalization When All Anyone Wants to Talk About Is Gentrification

Strategies for turning the conversation back to places where gentrification is not only *not* present, but not impending.
tractor with sign

New Communities Inc. at 50: Thoughts on Identity and A Different Way Forward

The story of the nation's very first land trust shows that sometimes it takes people who have been repeatedly left out of systems to shake us into remembering to aim big, consider new strategies, and leave no one behind.
view from street of empty bakery

Is Success Making CDFIs Too Risk-Averse?

Shelterforce's Miriam Axel-Lute in conversation with Ed Gorman of NCRC on whether community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are taking enough risk, and therefore, falling short of their mission.

Changing the Way We Think About Poor Rural Communities

Rural communities are very different places—separated by climate, geography, and often race. But in many other ways, these communities are far more similar than different.

Shifting our Thinking About Rural Coverage

Shelterforce has had its comfort zones, and we’ve largely stayed within them. But it was time to shift our thinking so rural areas were more clearly part of the fold.
Washington DC skyview construction

Behind the Scenes of NCRC’s Gentrification Report

A conversation with an NCRC senior research analyst about the organization's report on gentrification, what its findings show and don’t show, and what the policy implications might be.
sign defining "gentrification"

It Doesn’t Matter if Your Neighborhood Is Going to Eventually Gentrify

“We could use some gentrification here.” Let's never say this—we must refrain from debating the long-term likelihood of gentrification in distressed places.

Using Theater to Envision Racial Equity Solutions

Techniques from the arts world can help us envision and re-envision relationships and systems to spot stress points and opportunities within communities.

From Sustainability to Resilience

My first reaction to the emergence of “resilience” as a lens for viewing community development was mostly informed by skepticism.
home with for sale sign in foreground

Time to Delink Homeownership from Asset Building

Using homeownership as an asset-building mechanism and retirement plan might not be a great thing for our society.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Carson Lies Again as He Announces Plans to Leave HUD

HUD secretary Ben Carson told the right-leaning outlet Newsmax on Monday night that he intends to leave his cabinet post at the end of...

Closing the Divide Between Fair Housing and Affordable Housing

The Regional Affordable & Fair Housing Roundtable pulled off something that has often been elusive—building enough trust between fair housing advocates and place-based community developers to lead to their signing on to a joint agenda.
The cover of the Winter 2019 edition of Shelterforce magazine, which focuses on housing markets.

Housing Markets Vary—So Must Our Tactics

There is widespread understanding about the vast differences in life outcomes that statistically come with different neighborhoods.
Laura Foote (in yellow shirt at center) at a counter-protest to a rally opposing statewide upzoning bill SB 827. She's surrounded by fellow protestors who are holding signs that read "We Need More HOmes" and "More Homes for All."

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?
A Daly City-bound BART train west of Dublin/Pleasanton station.

Is Local Control Good or Bad?

And how do we get more of the good and less of the bad?
The F Market line is one of several light rail lines in San Francisco that uses historic equipment.

Who Most Needs Access to Core Neighborhoods?

We have a limited number of dense core neighborhoods where getting around without a car and without a lengthy daily commute are possible.
Boston residents participants marched to a nearby national gathering of YIMBYs with a sign that reads "Displacement is the Crisis ... We Are The Answer."

What We Don’t Know About Development and Displacement

The data on the relationship between new development, affordability, and displacement is not nearly as clear-cut as advocates (of all persuasions) often imply.