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.

We All Need to Join In The President’s Fight To Overhaul The Financial Industry

On Monday, as I entered Federal Hall on Wall Street to hear President Barack Obama’s speech, a huge crowd gathered outside the building hoping...

Why Keep Rural Housing Programs at USDA?

Rural housing professionals complain about USDA’s Rural Development/Rural Housing Service all the time. We also tout the advantages of...

We Still Need a Rent Freeze in NYC

Rents have become increasingly unaffordable in New York City. NYC has been in a housing crisis for decades. A housing...

3 Things Needed to Improve Transit-Oriented Development

Affordable and convenient transit is important to helping people access the employment, education and critical services required for physical and...

A Victory for Local Control re: Fracking

Localities in New York State appear to have won the right to ban fracking, thanks to a decision by the...

Policing in Communities of Color: We Want to Hear Your Voice

On Rooflines, bloggers have written directly about events in Ferguson, MO, and indirectly analyzed the social ramifications of racial and economic discrimination going unchecked in communities. From “Three-Strikes” Law enforcement, to sentencing disparity among races in crack/powder cocaine offenses, to aggressive policing strategies in communities of color, the relationship between law enforcement and people of […]

Tenant Protections Are a Cornerstone to Solving the Housing Crisis

I’ve read far too many think pieces, op-eds, and reports that neglect the role of tenant protections as a...

CRA Survives Its Toughest Challenge

There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result. –Winston Churchill The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has survived the most serious attack in...

All Hands on Deck: Bringing Universities More into the Fold

(with Sheryl Verlaine Whitney)  If there was one phrase heard more than any other during our work at HUD, it was “All hands on deck.” (Actually, it was second only to “Are you kidding me?”). In virtually every situation, whether it was implementing programs in response to the housing crisis, getting Recovery Act funds allocated […]

Budget Reaction Roundup: Social Security Cuts Dominate

Reaction to Obama's proposed FY 2014 is coming in fast and, in some cases, furious. We're seeing mixed feedback...
A key in focus

Despite Progress, States Have Work to do to Ensure Access to Affordable Rental Housing...

If expanding access to homeownership can reverse the trends of growing racial wealth inequality, why are we seeing so many states roll back the supports that make homeownership possible?

Cooking With Health, and Heritage, in Mind

A recent article in The New York Times discussed an initiative to bring fresh, healthy food to a low-income Bronx neighborhood in New York’s...

“Top Of The Pecking Order” for Housing Bubble Blowups

The New York Times has a pretty good rundown of all the players involved in the collapse of the sale of New York City’s...

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...
Close-up of the back of a t-shirt that says "Because the rent won't wait."

Renter Week of Action in Pictures

This past week, renter advocacy groups staged coordinated demonstrations in over 45 states to disrupt business as usual, including stand-ins at the personal residences of corporate landlords, banner drops, neighborhood tours of the housing crisis, and creative actions at city halls. With the help of #RenterWeekofAction convener Right to the City, Shelterforce has compiled photos from several such demonstrations throughout the country to highlight their scope.

My Holiday Wish List

The holiday season is a time when we express our lofty wishes and set new resolutions for personal improvement, but there is nothing lofty...

Using the Wrong Tools to Build Affordable Housing

Along with most Rooflines readers, I believe that having some portion of a community’s housing as long term or permanently affordable is a desirable...

Could Kit Homes Make a Comeback?

It's interesting to look at housing trends from the past to try to find ideas on how to deal...

Living the TOD Lifestyle in Denver: Growing Transit and Affordable Housing

A consequence of huge transit expansions is that nearby rentals and other housing tend to escalate in cost, and lower income residents—who may have...

Making Lemonade

Here’s a great example of the law of unintended consequences: The McCain campaign’s sour, distortive targeting of community organizing in an attempt to marginalize Barack...