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.”

Winning Back the Government’s Love (and Money)

If people grapple with real budget trade-offs, they might appreciate government spending more, and redirect it to programs that benefit their communities.

Impact Investing Resources

If you want to explore impact investing further, here are some places to start.

Health Care Confronts Challenge to Shift from “Volume to Value”

Health care, as we all know, is a big business. U.S. hospitals alone have $782 billion in total annual expenditures, which is roughly five percent of gross domestic product. Hospitals also purchase an estimated...

The Changing Model of CDCs

Staying relevant in a changing economy will push CDCs to place importance on green initiatives, sustainability, and out-of-the box funding methods.

Address Merger Concerns Before the Merger

The Virginia Housing Coalition (VHC) and the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH) both began in the early 1980’s as grassroots statewide advocacy organizations. They supported each other’s work and had their own policy...

We Must Find the Legacies of Racism Within Our Own Organizations, Too

We can’t begin to disentangle the racial dynamics of the institutions we want to fix if we are unwilling to get to the root of the same dynamics in our own organizations.

Why Was ShoreBank Allowed to Fail?

In August, when the FDIC seized ShoreBank of Chicago, it represented the demise of the oldest community development bank in the United States. The bank, according to its Web site, will carry on as...

Looking Forward

In 1975, the founders of Shelterforce took a leap of faith. They understood the profound problems facing distressed communities struggling to find decent housing and opportunity. They started a publication that would examine and...

The Value of the Local Touch

Last November, we surveyed readers about what they thought the rise of high-capacity nonprofit housing developers meant for neighborhood-based community developers that use real estate as a tool in their work. Specifically we asked...

Community Development Corporations at a Crossroads

For nearly half a century, community development corporations (CDCs) have been a tool of choice for organizing and implementing grassroots economic development programs. Emerging in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, CDCs represented...

The Regional/Local Dance

Q & A with Kimberley Burnett

Thinking Gray—And Positive

When I think about all the boards and committees I’ve served on, the clean-up days and neighborhood association events and protests I’ve attended, I picture a lot of gray. Not skies, but hair. Older...

A Nation—and Neighborhoods—of Immigrants

The story of neighborhood populations changing with waves of migrants is a classic part of the history of American cities. We are, as most school children have heard, a nation of immigrants—some voluntary, some...

Taking a Sustainable Approach

Over the next 36 years, the biggest issue facing community developers will be energy. Many experts say we have already hit peak oil production and the evidence that climate change is upon us is...

Housing for Families, Not Just Households

It’s time to do away with a mortgage-industrial complex that turns “families” into “households” with income earners, credit scores, and debt ratios.

A Ground-Up Approach in a Top-Down World

Community development in the last 20 years has been hindered by the perpetuation of real estate as a vehicle for wealth creation.

Fair Housing and Community Developers Can Work Together

Two organizations in New Jersey show that with a good working relationship, a balanced approach to healthy communities and housing choice for all can be more than pretty words.

Four Lessons Learned from Collaboration

We’ve seen a renewed interest in non-profit collaboration (see articles in Shelterforce here, here, and here) but effective and successful collaboration takes more than simply finding like-minded people to walk with you. Working with others,...

Beyond Social Service: Sustainable and Dynamic CDCs are Key to Economic Recovery

As a program director at the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) in Minneapolis, coupled with my prior corporate experience as human development consultant in Costa Rica, I’ve seen that healthy economic development organizations are...

Tapping Into the Power of Technology

One of the greatest changes affecting the community development field has been in technology, and the benefits and challenges it brings. Because my background is in community technology, or bringing basic technology access to...