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.”

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:
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.