Community Development Field

Shelterforce considers “community development” to be an extremely broad term. But there are still many conversations about the ways in which that broad work happens. Comprehensively or in coalitions of specialized organizations? Locally or regionally? Place or people? While the answers to all of these are usually “both,” there are many conversations to be had about “how.”

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.

Creative Ways to Finance Agriculture

In Montana, small family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, and farmers and ranchers are unable to compete with giant agriculture mergers. But there are several ways to help improve the farmland accessibility issue.

Evaluating a Program’s Health Outcomes

The Health Outcomes Demonstration Project, a partnership between Success Measures at NeighborWorks America and Enterprise Community Partners, helped organizations measure their programs’ impact on residents’ health.
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:
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.

Getting to the Heart of the Opioid Crisis

In some ways, dealing with the opioid epidemic is a natural fit for community development groups. At the heart, it’s often a problem of poverty: a lack of jobs and opportunities. Here's how CDCs are using their skills to address the crisis.

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.
a manufactured home

How to Temper the Influence of Private Equity in Manufactured Housing

The risk of onerous lot rent increases and the fear of eviction are more threatening than ever as private equity enters the manufactured housing market.
sign defining "gentrification"

It Doesn’t Matter if Your Neighborhood Is Going to Eventually Gentrify

“We could use some gentrification here.” Let's never say this—we must refrain from debating the long-term likelihood of gentrification in distressed places.
CSI’s former space at 215 Spadina in Toronto

Nonprofit Centers: Hubs for Connection and Collaboration

To understand nonprofit centers and how they achieve their impact, it’s helpful to think of them in layers: the building as an asset, the building as a program, and the building as a platform for collaboration.
communities exercise-people with sign

Prioritizing Inclusion and Equity in the Next Generation of Mixed-Income Communities

An introduction to a new series of essays on mixed income communities that will comprise the fifth volume in the San Francisco Fed's 'What Works' series.

Investment Without Displacement: From Slogan to Strategy

How investments can be leveraged to ensure residents get to stay in their communities and reap the benefits of new amenities and increased accessibility.

Using Theater to Envision Racial Equity Solutions

Techniques from the arts world can help us envision and re-envision relationships and systems to spot stress points and opportunities within communities.
redlining map and racial equity

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

If CDFIs adopted traditional appraisal standards to determine loan amounts, they'd make very few loans in the communities they 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.
A man helps put together solar-powered generators in rural Puerto Rico.

The Rural Difference in Natural Disasters

There are distinct differences between natural disaster response and recovery in rural and urban communities. How can community-based organizations better respond to disasters and help rural communities prepare before disaster strikes?

From Sustainability to Resilience

My first reaction to the emergence of “resilience” as a lens for viewing community development was mostly informed by skepticism.
A child stands in front of a sign that reads "Low Water Landscape." Photo by 100 Resilient Cities

Resilience 101

Community development fits well within the growing resilience movement—and connecting the two more explicitly could make their work even more powerful.
Several groups gather at the Bayou Bienvenue to rid the area of water hyacinths. Joint efforts like this help build neighborhood resilience.

NOLA Brings a Holistic Focus to Resilience

Cities cannot weather the effects of climate change without going beyond infrastructure to address institutional racism, historical inequities, and access to physical and mental health services.