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.”

green shoot pushing up from under concrete block

Community Development Is Crucial in This Moment

One month ago, when I began the first draft of this article, the world was drastically different. Well before we became part of this...
A group of people stand three feet apart, mouths open as if shouting, outside a building that looks like a court. In the foreground a young white man in sunglasses with political buttons on his jacket holds a sign reading "Shut down housing court until coronavirus is past." In the center, a Black woman with a neon yellow T-shirt and black jacket holds a sign reading "Defend your home versus exposure to the virus? No one should have to choose."

Massachusetts Affordable Housing Providers Lead With Voluntary Eviction Moratorium—But There’s More to Do

Boston didn't have the power to suspend evictions itself, so while advocates pushed the courts and the state legislature, affordable housing providers agreed to a voluntary eviction moratorium and the city encouraged other landlords to join.
Love statue

A Love Letter to the Next Decade of Community Development

For a long time, we’ve been too quiet about what’s working and what’s fueling us. But our field has major reasons to be proud; reasons you could miss in the cacophony of daily news.
Westerly Creek development

Pulling the Rug From Under Community Development?

Investments and funding motivated by the Community Reinvestment Act are more foundational to the work of community developers than is often discussed. But if regulations change the incentives for banks, the effects on communities will be dramatic.

Why Organizations Should Invest in Home Repairs to Improve Health

A closer look at the relationship between health and the home repair needs of lower-income households.
water storage tanks in Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky

How a Dozen Organizations Are Fighting Persistent Poverty Together

A national coalition of development financial institutions, CDCs, and financial intermediaries have banded together with local leaders who live in communities where more than 20 percent of the population has lived in poverty for more than 30 years.
tiny houses illusion photograph

Tiny Houses: Does Size Matter?

The suggestion of tiny houses as a solution to housing unaffordability is both condescending and impractical. Here's why.
redlining map and racial equity

Redlining Would Be Relegalized by CRA Reform Proposal

In an attempt to make compliance easier for banks, regulators are proposing to incentivize the very thing the Community Reinvestment Act was written to fight.

Shelterforce’s Top 10 Articles of 2019

We're sharing the most-read Shelterforce posts of 2019. We hope you enjoy them all and share with anyone who may have missed them.
bank brach counters

New Writings Suggest Incremental Change is Best Path for CRA Reform

These writings suggest that careful reform of CRA regulations can build upon the progress in lending and investing if the reforms are incremental instead of “transformational." 
asset based deficit based

The Opposite of Deficit-Based Language Isn’t Asset-Based Language. It’s Truth-Telling.

How do you describe the people you work for and with, or the neighborhoods you work in? Do you use primarily “deficit-based” language like...
Little Tokyo neighborhood

“Welcome to Little Tokyo, Please Take Off Your Shoes:” Remembering Dean Matsubayashi

Sustained resistance to gentrification and displacement requires more than antagonism. It requires a community organized around an open, positive alternative vision that has both big ambitions and achievable, intermediary steps.
Talking revitalization graphic

Talking About Revitalization When All Anyone Wants to Talk About Is Gentrification

Strategies for turning the conversation back to places where gentrification is not only *not* present, but not impending.
land trust new communities

The Community Land Trust Movement Imagines Its Future

The 50th anniversary of New Communities was an opportunity for celebration and reflection—some of it critical—about the CLT movement.

Small Numbers, Great Expectations: A Case for Rural Investment

“Drop dead” wasn’t an acceptable answer to urban decay in the 1970s. And it isn’t the right answer for struggling rural areas today.
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.
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: