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.”

Why Do We Care About Health Equity?

The fight for health equity—for everyone to have a roughly equal shot at the potential and choice that good health offers—is of course, similar to the fight for economic justice and the work of community development.

Community Development: Let Your Mission Do the Talking

In Part 1 of this post, I discuss the issues around the term “gentrification.” Here are two other terms that have become problematic in...
This Opa-locka, Florida resident had his loan request approved based on his character and not his credit score.

When a Person’s Character Trumps Their Credit Score

Some CDFIs approve loans based on a person’s character instead of their credit score. But they only recommend doing so when you know the applicant.
An apartment complex in Minnesota that was under threat of being sold to a luxury developer.

Beating Luxury Developers at Their Own Game

The tide is starting to change as a number of organizations have partnered with nonprofits to make deals to acquire naturally occurring affordable housing.
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.

Let’s Turn This Old Barn into a Theater!

For many cultural organizations, buying a fixer-upper is a good strategy for acquiring a home at a reasonable price...
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
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.

Tools of the Trade: Measuring the Health-Related Returns of Community Development

Partnerships are becoming more the norm and less the exception, but how do we know that they are actually having a good effect on health, well-being, and economic opportunity?
A street is covered with flowers and photos of Heather Heyer, as people look on the background

Terrorism in Charlottesville — And Possibly Your Town Next

The Trump-era increase widespread racial terror, as was on display in Charlottesville, is going to affect community developers' work at least as much as as his legislative and funding agenda.

Can Organizing Resuscitate Community Development?

There has been a lot written about the uncertain future of community development and the way forward for community...

Turns Out Innovation Is Officially Overrated

Many nonprofits and social enterprises face constant pressure to be “innovative,” whether from funders or charitable business leaders who want...
mural artist

Arts Build Community

CDCs now recognize that art and cultural activities can be useful tools toward building a community's identity, meaning, and spirit. But bank regulators have not yet reached a sufficient level of comfort with this new strategy.
pencil with eraser shavings

Your “Opportunity” Map is Broken. Here Are Some Fixes

If we are truly going to reduce our housing policy objectives to the realm of goals related to “opportunity,” I would like to offer some guidelines for its proper use.

The Mysterious Art of Collaboration

Five housing organizations' effort to merge reveals both pitfalls and practical possibilities for bringing community development groups together.

On Board

How do you make a community development organization's board welcoming to residents and low-income members, and ensure that once there, they are more than window dressing?

Why Leadership Pays

In previous blog posts (Why Evaluation Stinks), I’ve discussed how the fragmented nature of the nonprofit sector makes it very...
Residents of four historically African-American neighborhoods hold up a sign that reads "This Land is Our Land! #TentCityATL"

The Right to Stay Put

There is much work to be done around housing and equitable development, but the solution is not simply to move people around. A key challenge is creating real choice.
Kids dance at a neighborhood street festival

What Happens When a CDC Pivots to a Health-First Focus?

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation in Cleveland finds that being an early adopter of a community health focus has its advantages.
tents and tarps on a lot

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 6

Gentrification Is Bad For One's Health | Housing Teachers-At School | Protecting Space for Local Business | TOD Doesn't Have to Displace | Community Artists Win in Court | More . . .