Blog

The Shelterforce blog (formerly known as Rooflines) is a forum for voices in the community development, affordable housing, community organizing, neighborhood revitalization, and related fields to challenge each other and other stakeholders; share ideas, successes, and failures; and pose questions to one another. Learn how you or your organization can submit a post.

A liquor store in Baltimore.

Closing Liquor Stores, Hoping to Gain Public Health

A new code in Baltimore will reduce the number of liquor stores in the city. Will the change result in a drop in violence? What will happen to store owners?
redlining map and racial equity

Can Using a Racial Equity Lens Increase Capital in Communities of Color?

If CDFIs adopt the standard of using appraisals to determine our loan amounts, we would make very few loans in the communities we were founded to serve.
thought bubble

“So, what do you do?” How to Have Conversations about Homelessness

Conversations about homelessness with those outside the field’s bubble can be exhausting, but there are several strategies and techniques that can help steer the conversation in a productive way.
courageous philanthropy cover

Reawakening “Courageous Philanthropy”

A review of Courageous Philanthropy: Going Public in a Closely Held World, by Jennifer Vanica.
opportunity zones construction

Pushing Opportunity Zones to Fulfill Their Promise

Some guidelines to ensure that Opportunity Zones are transformational and not transactional.
bright sunlight on city street

The CFPB Needs Sunlight: Keep Easy Access to HMDA Data

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's reassurances on continued public access to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data are not very reassuring.
four people linking hands together

Let’s Get Explicit: Social Justice in Asset Based Community Development

Four Asset Based Community Development practices that support social justice frameworks when practitioners make them explicit and intentional.
Two women help a senior go up the stairs to her home.

Helping At-Risk Homeowners Stay Put With a Land Trust

For some homeowners at risk of losing their home, City of Lakes Community Land Trust has been able to keep them in place by bringing their home into the land trust.
People at a rent-reform rally in New York City, 2015

Rent Control Is at a Turning Point

Advocates around the country now have current data on what rent control expansion would do to help low-income, cost-burdened renters.
men making guitar

Arts, Culture, and Community Mental Health

Examples of projects around the country that are infusing community development with creativity and collaboration and stimulating the potential for unique mental health benefits.
group lobby day photo

The Collaboration Behind California’s Successful Statewide Ballot Campaign for Housing

As housing becomes ever more urgent an issue, California's model for running a statewide ballot campaign offers insights to organizations around the nation.
The cover of The One-Way Street of Integration by Edward Goetz.

Fair Housing Policy Approaches Exacerbate Inequality

A review of The One-Way Street of Integration: Fair Housing and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in American Cities, by Edward G. Goetz.
An emergency entrance of a hospital.

Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health

While individual-level interventions are beneficial, characterizing them as efforts to address social determinants of health conveys a false sense of progress.
lightbulb as a small terrarium with plant growing inside it

A Hole in our Vision: Race, Gender, and Justice in Community Development

In years past, the community development field imagined how to change the world. So, what would it take to change anew? Nancy O. Andrews argues that it takes asking ourselves the right questions.
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.
remix graffiti

Can We Ditch Tax Incentives and Support True Economic Development?

Because recent advocacy has succeeded in achieving a change in government accounting standards that led many cities and states to disclose the total costs of the tax abatements they provided last year for the very first time, we now are gaining a better sense of just how much these abatements take away from education and other public services.
Women hold up signs that read "No RAD at Elliot Twins" and others.

Fearing Privatization: Public Housing Activists Push Back Against RAD Plans

As their city rapidly gentrifies, a group of public housing residents are anxious about potential RAD and Section 18 conversions and battling the public housing authority to resist them.
seattle houses in hillside

Fixing a Regressive Tax Structure that Perpetuates Inequity

In Washington state, the dilemma for advocates is how to ask city and county elected officials to significantly increase public resources for housing when their only current choices are regressive tax tools.
Six tiny houses share a common deck.

Tiny House Villages in Seattle: An Efficient Response to Our Homelessness Crisis

Over the past three years, Seattle has led the country in piloting tiny house villages as a response to the homelessness crisis. Here's how they're doing it, and the lessons they're learning.
Woman construction worker carrying wood

The Paradox of Prevailing Wage

The complicated relationship between the Davis-Bacon Act, Black construction workers, and Black-owned construction businesses in Boston.