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.”

Michael Bodaken

Interview with Michael Bodaken, retiring director of the National Housing Trust

Shelterforce took the occasion of Michael Bodaken's retiring from the National Housing Trust to speak with him about how he got into housing, some of his favorite projects, and his recommendations for the field going forward.
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.

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...

From Eyesores to Assets: CDC Abandoned Property Strategies

To save a neighborhood that’s in danger of going down, you can’t simply add new homes. You have to put the process of decline in reverse

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.

The Just City

Yesterday was the second of three, day-long symposia being held this year by the Ford Foundation to celebrate its 75h anniversary. This one, subtitled...

Preparing for Change

CBOs, particularly those involved in comprehensive community building efforts, need to do a better job of involving residents and other constituents in planning and...

Peoria LISC

What does it mean when the country's largest community development intermediary opens its first new office in 15 years in...

CDFIs: The Boom Sector in the Community Development Field?

Three weeks ago I went to Philadelphia to attend the annual conference of the Opportunity Finance Network, the trade association...
NYC skyline painted on brick wall.

New York City Becomes a Hotbed of Community Land Trust Innovation

New York seems poised to move the concept of community land trusts in new and exciting directions.
rusty door knock

Panacea or Problem? The Possibilities in Opportunity Zones

With Opportunity Zones, the potential is there for great benefit, but it is not yet clear where, how, and to whom any benefits will accrue. People who care about connecting residents and businesses in distressed communities with opportunities need to act now so they fulfill their promise.
Parks can be a key component of building resilience. Two women walk adjacent to Buffalo Bayou Park in downtown Houston, Texas.

Designing for Climate Change

How can affordable housing be more resilient to extreme weather and better prepared to deal with the consequences of climate change?

“Stop Killing People” in Chicago

It’s a national scandal that we’re failing to protect our children.

Why Leadership Pays

In previous blog posts (Why Evaluation Stinks), I’ve discussed how the fragmented nature of the nonprofit sector makes it very...
medical marijuana business

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, March 30

Helping Cannabis Entrepreneurs of Color | The "Business" of Homelessness | Housing Is a Mental Health Issue | Justice for Wage Theft Victims | 2020 Census Already Off to a Bad Start?

Not Your Average Community Garden

A good community garden is a space that nurtures hope, natural abundance, and growth, and eventually moves beyond food and into the realm of relationship-building that can help sustain healthy communities.
Black and white photo of a row of police cars.

The Problem with “We Have to Do Something”

This summer, Eve Ewing, a sociologist of race and education at the University of Chicago, wrote an article called “The Chicago Negro and the...
young men playing horn instruments

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 13

Really, YIMBYs? | TOD Without Displacement | Tracking 80 Million Evictions | MLK's Campaign, Revitalized | Airbnb Hastening Demise of NOLA Culture? | Bike "Borrowing" for Equity | More
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.
grand rapids skyline

Smaller Cities Are Laboratories for Change

In smaller cities it is typically much easier to engage high levels of leadership, get traction for strategies that are more visible, engage the wider community, build trust, and scale solutions more quickly than in larger areas. Here are a few examples.