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.

Reconnecting Jobs and Housing

National community development leaders discuss making the case for housing in a "jobs above all else" political environment.

DeMarco Replacement Named, CBO Supports Principal Reductions

We've heard noises before that President Obama might nominate Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) to replace Ed DeMarco as director of...

Education Reform Backlash?

Today in New York state, third through eighth graders are wrapping up their second week of increased testing under the...

Housing First, Or Housing Not-So-Fast?

Housing First, the model that says that homeless families need stable housing before they can address other problems in their...

Gentrification in Brooklyn the Result of Plans, Not Markets

Doug Henwood, editor/publisher of Left Business Observer, has an interesting piece in the Nation this week that argues that gentrification and displacement in New...

Prescription for a Legal Advocate

When we wrote in 2006 about Boston Medical Center's program to link patients to lawyers who could help improve their...

Resilience, Community Development, and the Problem with Charging Interest

“'Resilience' made #6 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Top 10 list of buzzwords for 2012 because it is...

Health and Housing: Where Should the Money Come From?

When we published our focus issue on health and housing and neighborhoods, one of the themes that came up in...

Police Train in Public Housing, Terrorize Neighboring Residents

When Lauren Manning, a resident of the Ida Yarbrough Homes in Albany, NY, posted this public photo on her Facebook...

Protestor Who Disrupted DeMarco Hearing, In His Own Words

You've probably heard that several underwater homeowners were arrested for disrupting Tuesday's House Financial Services Committee hearing at which acting...

Honoring Housers and Their Supporters: NLIHC 2013 Awardees

Every year the National Low Income Housing Coalition gives out a number of awards to individuals and groups who...

Has the Housing Movement Found Something to Unite Around?

I've been around the affordable housing field for a little while (not as long as many of our readers though...

A Light in the Voting Rights Darkness

When we wrote last year about the fights to preserve voting rights and voter turnout against mounting attacks leading up...

Building Codes: The Good and the Bad

Recently, Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions argued here on Rooflines that outdated building codes—including things like minimum sizes and parking...

Places of the Heart

Everyone has a story about third places—those gathering places that are not home or work—in the communities they have lived...

Bloomberg Thinks You Profited from the Housing Crisis

The following is, sadly, not a spoof, but a real cover illustration on an article about the housing market:Now,...

Health and the Spaces Inbetween

Last year, we published a focus issue on health and community development. We called the package “Are Our Neighborhoods...

More than Hair: Barbershops

Last year when I was walking my neighborhood, flyering for the Tale of Two Cities march and feeling out of...

Do Denser, Poorer Areas Need More Third Places?

"In Kibera, the streets are truly the public spaces, and people are out all day, every day: selling, socializing, trading. People make their living—they...

“Where Are They?” Do We Think of Third Places When We Make Decisions?

“No community should be without these kinds of spaces. Therefore, when we think about planning or revitalization efforts...

Where are people returning to the community from prison supposed to live?

The United States is incarceration happy. Our incarceration rate is five times as high as comparable countries, and has been the highest in the...

Hearts of the Neighborhood: “Third Places”

Several years ago, the family-owned florist two buildings down from my house closed. There was great consternation in the neighborhood...

Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Bank Regulators

 If you haven't watched this yet, you probably want to. Here's the...

Stories of Community

Several years ago, the family-owned florist two buildings down from my house closed. There was great consternation in the neighborhood about what would happen...
The Whittier Street Health Center.

Healthy Futures Fund to Connect Health and Housing Practitioners

Building affordable housing with integrated health services. Health centers in low-income neighborhoods.These are goals of a $100M investment fund.

Fighting Displacement Fights Crime

There's an utterly fascinating recent post by John Roman on the Metrotrends Blog of the Urban Institute called “Gentrification Will...

HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Launches

It took a few iterations, but HUD last week officially rolled out a demonstration project designed to showcase its plan...

How Do You Respond? Section 8 and Crime

In 2008, a sensationalistic article in The Atlantic tried to draw a causal connection between tenants with housing assistance...

Alcohol: Scourge of the Neighborhood or Revitalization Tool?

Community developers have had, and perhaps still have, a mixed relationship with businesses that serve alcohol.On the one hand,...

Stumbling to Solidarity

It’s been an exciting year in labor organizing, between the Chicago teachers strike, Port of Oakland shut downs, Wal-Mart walkouts,...

“Doing What They Do Best”: Lessons of Occupy Sandy

Many people have passed around the article “Occupy Sandy Emerges as Relief Organization of the 21st Century,” in the weeks...

“Costs of Place” Still Rising

Every once in a while, it's useful to take stock of the big picture numbers and trends that form...

Marijuana Legalization and Tenant Screening

Jokes abound about the legalization of marijuana use in Colorado and Washington. But it's not always a laughing matter. Affordable...

San Francisco Wins Affordable Housing Trust Fund

Though we don't yet have funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, and housing didn't get the play we...

Fair Share Advocates Have to Keep Up Their Guard

“Repeal efforts never go away. Advocates need to remain organized and ready to launch a defense or counter-attack.”...

Fear of Affordable Housing

Affordable housing developments proposed for affluent communities often face bitter, lengthy legal and political battles.These battles...

Dan Kildee, Center for Community Progress Founder, Heads to Congress

Whlie Michigan's 5th District may see their new Congressman, Dan Kildee, first as the nephew of their retiring 36-year current...

Tenants Do Vote, Or at Least They Try

One of the canards about why homeownership is so wonderful is that it increases all sorts of beneficial behaviors, including...

Writing About Recovery

Watching the scenes of devastation coming out of New York City and New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, it's hard not...

“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...

Stay Safe and Take Care of Each Other

Shelterforce hopes that all of our colleagues and friends in Hurricane Sandy's path are staying safe.We...

What Do We Call Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing?“We've eradicated that phrase from our language,” says Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of...

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims from Eviction and Homelessness

Imagine calling the police because you were in danger of your life. Now imagine getting evicted for doing so.

DeMarco Out; Jim Carr Stirs Up Conversation

Jim Carr, who published his bold vision for restructuring the housing finance market here earlier this week, is making waves...

It’s All About the Votes

With the news talking about close races in swing states, and voter intimidation in full swing, the importance of voter...

Out of the Limelight, But Still Hanging in the Balance

Housing and community development have been glaringly absent from both of the presidential campaigns and all of the debates this...

Notes from the Road: High Rises and the Four Concerns of City Government

I'm on the road this week, with stops in Chicago, Kalamazoo, and San Antonio. I left Chicago this afternoon by...

Countering the Lies

As a parent, I try to teach my children that “I told you so” is rude, and generally unhelpful in...

Hanging in the Balance

Are you part of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent? As we go to press, the furor over the leaked fundraising video in which the Republican...

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...

Debt Strikes—Mortgage and Student

I wrote on Monday about ESOP's mortgage strikers. The concept made me think of the student debt strike efforts....

Mortgage Strike!

Shelterforce began as a tenants' rights newspaper, and our early years were full of accounts of rent strikes—a powerful weapon...

Update: Going Upstream on Underwater Mortgages

In our Winter 2011 issue on capital markets and neighborhood stabilization we reported on some programs to buy mortgages and...

Happy Birthday Occupy!

Occupy Wall Street launched one year ago Monday, September 17, 2011. This past Monday, people converged on Manhattan's financial district...

Soil for the Grassroots

There has been a steady rising interest in urban agriculture over the past several years—from urban farms to community gardens...

Shared Equity Homeownership for Geeks

I was proofreading our second installment of The Answer earlier this week, which happens to be on whether shared-equity homeownership builds...

Fracking, Organizing, and the Good Jobs Message

 This past Monday, I attended a large anti-fracking rally here in Albany, NY, aimed at convincing...

Crossing Neighborhood Boundaries

Equitable regions are stronger, healthier regions for everyone. This is becoming more and more of a bedrock understanding within our...

Affordable Housing Gone Viral?

For those of us in the affordable housing field, the map from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of...

Eminent Domain to Stop Foreclosure: Clever, but Not the Only Solution

This article first appeared on Huffington Post.The heat wave may have broken, but the news is...

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.

Author Roundtable

Shelterforce authors discuss the roles of place, mobility, and displacement on health and neighborhoods.

Don’t Dump on Us

If it were not acceptable for anyone to suffer from substandard housing or the problems of disinvested neighborhoods, then many of the public health issues facing us would be automatically reduced.

Six Steps to Stabilize High-Foreclosure Neighborhoods

1. Don't Let the Lenders Lie. When lenders and servicers say they can't modify the principal on a loan because...

The Partners of Neighborhood Stabilization

This post is part of an ongoing series based on the National Fair Housing Alliance report, “The Banks Are Back,...

Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods: Q&A with Elyse Cherry

Boston Community Capital's SUN program has gotten a lot of media attention. How is it working and what's next?

Going Upstream

If a lender won’t or can’t modify, why wait until they foreclose? Some groups are taking matters into their own hands with note purchases or short sale programs.

Capital Markets & Neighborhood Stabilization

The articles in this issue depart from our usual stomping grounds a bit to look at capital markets and how they are partnering or might partner with community developers. Here's how we came to be consorting with private equity firms and their kin.

Capital Markets & Neighborhood Stabilization

The articles in this issue depart from our usual stomping grounds a bit to look at capital markets and how they are partnering or might partner with community developers. Here's how we came to be consorting with private equity firms and their kin.

Strange Bedfellows

What does it mean to stabilize neighborhoods at scale? Barring the appearance of a community development fairy godmother, it means having resources. The past...

Awardees Honored at NLIHC 2012

The National Low Income Housing Coalition gave out a number of  its annual awards this morning at its annual...

Four Kinds of Concentrated Areas of Poverty

In a fair housing workshop yesterday at the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual conference Sara Pratt of HUD's Office of Fair...

Fair Housing News from NLIHC 2012

The much-anticipated new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is not yet out, and probably won't be available for comment for...

With Merger, Enterprise Expands Financing for “Workforce” Housing, Commercial

Enterprise Community Investment, the for-profit financing subsidiary of Enterprise Community Partners, has merged with Bellwether Real Estate Capital to form Bellwether...

Everyone Saves with Short Sales

Short sale—in which a home is sold for less than the balance due on the mortgage but the lender accepts...

Raising Rents on the Poorest of the Poor?

Lest we get totally lost in the (important) debates about principal reduction and restructuring the secondary market, Barbara Sard of...

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.

True Costs, True Responsibilities

This past July, a Voice of San Diego investigation charged that rather than doing its job of providing “homes for those who can’t pay...

Work That Needs Doing

How many times have you pointed to something in your community and said “If only we could put someone to work fixing that ?”The...

Getting to 99%

I find the occupation of Wall Street terribly exciting.But of course, this is not the first protest of this sort in response to the...

CLTs Go Commercial

The idea of turning the community land trust model into an economic development tool is attracting growing interest, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how it would work.

“Detroitism”: What’s the Role for Community Developers?

Guernica, a self-described “magazine of art and politics,” has a fascinating essay by Wayne State University professor John Patrick Leary about the “ruin porn”...

The Just City

Yesterday was the second of three, day-long symposia being held this year by the Ford Foundation to celebrate its 75h anniversary. This one, subtitled...

Mortgage Resolution Fund Approved

In expected, but still very exciting, good news, Treasury has approved the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s application to apply Hardest Hit Funds to the...

Homeownership Today and Tomorrow: Building assets while preserving affordability

Can low-income families build enough equity in them to transform their circumstances? New research says yes.

New York State Gets on the Land Bank Train

Three years ago, New York state passed land banking legislation, but it went down to veto by Gov. David Paterson, who said he supported...

“Housing Gets People’s Interest Today”: State of the Nation’s Housing Press Conference

Yesterday, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard released its 2011 State of the Nation’s Housing report in an event at the Ford...

Quit the HAMP Bashing!

Joe Kriesberg, director of the Massachusetts Association of CDCs, is tired of hearing people bash HAMP. He wrote this piece about it last December,...

Drexel to Follow in Penn’s Community-University Footsteps

The University of Pennsylvania is well-known as a leader in community-university partnerships, and especially the kind that actually try to build community wealth. Under...

Single Point of Contact Won

Having a “single point of contact” for borrowers has been a repeated theme among those advocating for reform of HAMP, such as Sen. Jeff...

Reverse Redlining Suits Proceed

Last year, Ray Brescia wrote in Shelterforce about the potential for lawsuits against banks that engaged in predatory lending or reverse redlining, based on...

Arkansas Passes Foreclosure Info Law

While housing counseling funding is being slashed, it’s worth noting that Arkansas has enacted a modest yet important law (hat-tip Naked Capitalism) requiring that...

Is the Mortgage Interest Deduction Vulnerable?

Shelterforce and the National Housing Institute have been outspoken about the need to change the mortgage interest deduction — the country’s largest housing subsidy,...

Sustainable Homeownership vs QRMs

One of the many themes running through the interactive session “The Future of Mortgage Finance in America,” this morning at NCRC’s annual conference was...

Community-Labor: A Coalition Whose Time Has Come

Ed Gorman of the NCRC board introduced Mark Ayers, president of the building trades department of the AFL-CIO, as “the man who is opening...

Nonprofit Chamber of Commerce?

When you see a conference plenary session described as “positioning your organization for growth,” you probably expect some descriptions of grant writing strategies or...

Housing Counseling in Danger: They Say Cut Backs, We Say ??

Housing counseling works. Counselors form a critical bridge between servicers and homeowners in distress, advocating for them in the face of perverse servicer incentives,...

Rent Regulation in the Great Recession

Over at the Gotham Gazette, David King walks us through the latest round of politics over New York City’s rent regulation laws, which have...

No One Left Behind

By 2050, possibly sooner, people of color will be a majority in our nation. There is no way we can build a strong, stable...