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.

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.
Members of Picture the Homeless protest outside councilwoman's office with signs that read "Organizing for Justice and Respect" and "We Need Housing, not Warehousing."

When the Homeless Took Over

As the homeless and affordable housing crises become a focus on local and national campaigns, we must remember the rich history and critical contributions of homeless organizers.
Two men sitting on steps of real estate office protesting discrimination in housing

Trump Administration Takes Giant Step Backward on Racial Equality

A HUD proposal virtually eliminates the long-standing disparate impact doctrine and would leave more families vulnerable to housing discrimination.
renter rights rally

How California’s “Sleeping Giant” Woke Up and Won Statewide Rent Caps

California's momentous statewide win for statewide rent caps is owed to organizers and the power of organizing. Now that the giant is awake, what's next?
moving boxes in empty apartment

Creating Moves to Opportunity in Seattle-King County

Starting in 2017, researchers at Opportunity Insights and several other universities partnered with the Seattle and King County housing authorities, J-PAL North America, and...
displacement protest

To Address Displacement in Your Community, Start by Asking, “Who’s Financing It?”

While developers, tech companies, and greedy landlords are often cited as the usual suspects driving the housing crisis, one group is often overlooked: the banks that finance the deals.

Using Multiple Community-Based Land Trusts to Save Farmland

Agrarian Commons closely resemble community land trusts, but they are unique in that they work collectively to provide long-term affordable and equitable access of small and mid-sized farms.
night out kids potato sack race

Celebrating a Different Definition of “Safety”

Night Out for Safety and Liberation provides an alternative to annual police-sponsored community events, and is growing in popularity around the nation.

Why Opportunity Neighborhoods Aren’t Really for Everyone

Families living in opportunity neighborhoods are seen as actively translating opportunity into real benefits through their actions. But, of course, this is not what really happens.
mixed-income townhome development

The Geography of Mixed-Income Neighborhoods

Where are "naturally-occurring" mixed income neighborhoods, how do we support them, and how do we use them as examples to model?
Eviction notice: door with envelope taped to it

As Affordable Housing Units Expire, Los Angeles Lags in Preservation Efforts

As thousands of affordable housing units expire, L.A. lags behind other cities in its preservation efforts. But one group of tenants may be victorious.
aerial view of construction worker sawing board

How Successful is Your County in Accessing Community Development Funding?

some communities in the United States seem much better than others at attracting grants and financing for community development—even after adjusting for their relative needs. Here are some of the surprising trends:

The Role Student Housing Plays in Communities

Off-campus housing for college students has grown extensively over the last decade, and communities across the country are hoping to gain control over its spread and potential negative impact on neighborhoods and available affordable housing.
group photo

Harnessing the Creativity of Artists to Unlock Community Wealth

With collaboration among Dallas' arts community, a place-based initiative called CultureBank invests in social impact artists in order to steward community assets to promote the health and well being of residents.
A group of people gather outside an apartment complex to discuss community land trusts.

Are We Diluting the Mission of Community Land Trusts?

CLTs’ dependence on external grant funding to acquire land and maintain their operations make them particularly susceptible to mission drift. Coming in with this knowledge, organizers may still be able to use the tool adequately or opt for other collective land ownership strategy.
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.

A Health Insurer and a CDC Collaborate to Move the Needle on Housing and...

David Adame of Chicanos Por La Causa, and Joe Guadio of UnitedHealthcare talk about the value of addressing social determinants and lessons they’ve learned.
row of dark brick houses

What is the Future of the Black Urban Middle Neighborhood?

What does the future hold for urban Black middle and working class neighborhoods in cities, and is there any way to shape it?
home with sold sign

Don’t Diminish the Importance of Homeownership in CRA Reform

A significant reduction in attention paid to home mortgage lending on CRA exams would be neither economically efficient nor equitable.
A young man repairs a bike as part of a program in Hawaii that offers young men and boys healing spaces.

Informal Gathering Spaces for Healing Community Trauma

All communities—especially those carrying heavy burdens of trauma and inequity—deserve the transformation and resilience that healing spaces can provide.