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The cover of the Winter 2018 edition of Shelterforce magazine.
Editor’s Note

There’s Opportunity in Vacancy

Thinking of abandoned properties as merely problems we wish would go away feeds into some of the less productive ways vacant properties have been handled.

Housing

The Two Vacancy Crises in America’s Cities

Vacant properties are a serious problem in two kinds of neighborhoods. To address them, we need to know which kind we’re looking at.

State policies on everything from taxation to land bank funding can make the difference between a vacant property and a well-care-for property like this one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Community Development Field

State Policies Play a Central Role in the Fight Against Vacant Property

Abandoned and vacant properties seem like a quintessentially local problem. But state policies have a huge effect on how well municipalities can fight it.

Community Development Field

Making a Pipeline for Vacant Building Rehab

Baltimore’s Vacants to Value program sparked revitalization block by block with a few key legal powers and partnerships.

Neighborhood Change

How to Fight Vacancy? Do It All

The fight against vacancy in Youngstown, Ohio, shows us that we shouldn’t rely on a single strategy—everything is needed at once.

Community Development Field

Transforming Vacant Land Into Community Assets

Vacant land activities can be low cost and high impact; the price of failure is not steep, but the return on investment can be high.

Policy

How to Fund Land Banks

The number of land banks grew dramatically in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. So has our understanding of how to successfully fund them.

mallach book cover
Review

Can Cities Fix Their Polarization Problem? A Review of The Divided City

How different would cities look and how different would people’s lives be if those with the power to set policy and invest resources prioritized the most vulnerable residents and the neighborhoods they live in?

A man and a woman stand in front of a chalkboard sign that reads "This House Could Be ..."The man is writing on the board, as many others have done. Some of the suggestions for what the house could be include a community gathering space and a senior center.
Community Control

Rebellion Spurs Opportunity and a New Housing Movement

How a Baltimore collaborative plans to make shared-equity housing a significant sector in the local housing market.

An African-American man and woman stand happily outside on their front porch. The woman is wearing a red coat and a black and white hate, while the man is reader a read Oakland A's hat and a black jacket.
Housing

Getting Ahead of Gentrification in the South Side of Columbus

More than a decade after several groups came together to improve substandard housing in the South Side of Columbus, signs of gentrification and forced displacement are beginning to emerge. Can something be done so current residents can afford to stay in their neighborhoods for years to come? The short answer is yes.

An illustration of a headshot that has racially loaded terms enscribed on it. Surrounding the tombstone are reasons why these terms should not be used.
Explainers

Q: Is It Time to Bury Racially Loaded Planning and Development Terms?

Shelterforce has gathered some racially loaded terms that are common in our field. We suggest you use these sparingly and carefully, if at all.

Disinvestment

Filling Commercial Vacancies with Food Pantries

When I tell people that food pantries can be a new and innovative way to help lift up communities, they look at me as if I’m a bit out of […]