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Nineteen people stand in a semi-circle facing the camera, on a partly paved road near some mobile homes and parked cars. They are mixed in age, gender, and skin color, and most have one arm raised high, making a fist; one person is raising both arms with thumbs up, and one person has not raised her arms.

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Close up view of rock, scissors, and a sheet of white paper on a red table or desk. The rock is oval gray rock with a band of white quartz through it, the scissors have purple plastic grips and metal blades. The scissors are positioned such that they appear to have just cut the paper, and the rock is resting on the paper, half concealed by a portion of it.
Housing

Legitimate Debate or Short-Sighted Complaints? 5 Reasons Affordable Housing Is Expensive to Build

There’s no denying that affordable housing can be expensive to build. But we need to look at the long-term benefits of those investments to see the bigger picture.

A sign on a brick wall advising drivers of a steep hill. The sign is all-caps black lettering on a white background.
Housing

How ‘Tenant Stewards’ Are Using TOPA to Form a Co-op

Organized by a pandemic-era mutual aid group, this housing cooperative is taking advantage of D.C.’s pioneering Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. But the pressure of paying back a loan with mounting interest could stymie the group’s plans to provide affordable housing.

Q: What Are the Three Major Types of Community- or Resident-Controlled Housing and How Do they Work? Brief descriptions of cooperative, community land trust, and mutual housing association with clip art illustrations. Image links to PDF version.
Affordability

Q: What Are the Three Major Types of Community- or Resident-Controlled Housing and How Do They Work?

There’s a lot of momentum toward resident-controlled housing. Do you know the three major forms it takes?

A collage of photos from stories that appeared on Shelterforce, with 2023 etched in the center.
Community Development Field

Shelterforce’s Top 10 Stories of 2023

What were the biggest Shelterforce stories of the year? We count down the top 10 of 2023.

Aerial shot of a huge hotel, 12 or 13 stories high, surrounded by mature trees, other apartment buildings or hotels, with a roadway in front of it. The building is shaped vaguely like a stick figure of a person, but with a C-shaped head.
Organizing

The Unfulfilled Potential of D.C.’s TOPA Law

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase laws empower renters to get control when their buildings go up for sale. But in D.C., the hurdles to becoming owners are many, and often insurmountable.

An aerial view of a large, four-story, U-shaped housing development, still being built, and surrounded by settled neighborhoods on the three sides that are visible. The roof is white and the various sections of the exterior walls are blue, tan, brick, or white. The ground around the structure is still raw dirt, with several trucks and machines in view.
Affordability

Can Residents Get More Out of Tax Credit Housing?

Arrangements in which LIHTC tenants share in the development’s financial benefits, or become partial or full owners, are rare—but some properties have pulled them off. This scan of several examples shows the possibilities—and the conditions needed for them to succeed.

A view of a city from a grassy hillside. Just beyond the hill is a large settlement of one- and two-story houses, mostly visible by their roofs. Beyond them rises a steep, evergreen-dotted, and rocky mountain. The sky far beyond is white, except for a bit of blue at the right. No people are visible in this photo.
Housing

Western States Look to These Lands for New Affordable Housing

In several western states, state-owned trust lands were created to support schools and other community benefits.

An orange and brown playground apparatus including a slide, monkey bars, and a treehouse, sits on a bed of wood chips in a grassy park on a sunny day. Four children of varying skin tones play on the equipment. Beyond the park area a man in uniform watches the playground and behind him is a clapboard house.
Arts & Culture

Rebuilding After Trauma: Public Spaces in Cleveland

Traumatic events, and the ongoing traumas of vacancy and disinvestment, can be strongly associated with the places where they occurred. In Cleveland, several organizations are bringing new function and meaning to traumatized spaces.

View from across the street of a row of six apartment buildings, all three stories, in varying brick shades. All have square patches of lawn in front and wrought-iron fences with gates. At far right is parked a silver sedan. There are no people in the photo.
Housing

How It’s Working: Laws That Help Tenants and Nonprofits Buy Buildings

Shelterforce checks in on three communities that have passed policies giving tenants and nonprofits first dibs on purchasing property. Are these policies keeping residents in their homes?

A stylized drawing of an urban scene done in the style of a blueprint. A crane looms over rows of buildings.
Policy

Will ‘Critical Race Theory’ Attacks Undermine Urban Planning Education?

Laws meant to restrict professors from discussing how race has shaped public policy could target the factual discussion of housing policy and its history—but professors say they don’t intend to go along.

Organizing

Tenant Organizing in Unexpected Places, a Webinar

Tenants aren’t just organizing in places like California and New York—hear about tenant organizing in small and mid-sized cities from Maine, Maryland, Texas and Kentucky.

Community Development Field

Eminent and Notorious: Radical Urban Planner Chester Hartman (1936-2023)

An appreciation of the life and work of Chester Hartman, a radical planner in the service of a vision of social justice.