COVID-19

How is the community development world responding to the COVID-19 crisis? What are the most pressing policy issues that organizations should be paying attention to? How are groups across the U.S. coordinating? Shelterforce will be delving into these issues and lots more.

We welcome reader stories about the challenges and the moments of hope and collaboration that you’re seeing on the ground, and questions you want answered. Please let us know: what kinds of information would be useful for you to hear? Email us at info@shelterforce.org.

 

a sign that promotes social distancing.

Three Lessons Learned from Working in Isolation

A New York-based organizer says although we may be physically divided due to social distancing, we can be emotionally bounded through our common purpose.

5,000 Meals—Little Tokyo Orgs, Restaurants Team Up to Feed Low-Income Seniors

The Little Tokyo Eats program has so far purchased over $55,000 in food from 11 local restaurants for seniors living in low-income housing in a Los Angeles neighborhood. How did the program make it through a rough first week of food fulfillment?
A FEMA sign posted outside the hurricane Harvey disaster recovery center.

FEMA Offers Full Reimbursement for Pandemic Shelter Costs—But Cities Are Still Jittery

Cities and counties have been slow to take advantage of the promise of full and retroactive FEMA reimbursement to expand emergency housing programs, frustrating housing advocates. What’s getting in the way?
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...

Why We Must Protect Young People from Homelessness Now

As past economic crises show, insufficient action today could all but ensure that high school and college graduates will struggle with housing insecurity as they age.

Health Care and Community Development Partnerships in the Time of COVID-19

For health care institutions and community development organizations that focus on low-income communities’ social determinants of health, this year has been a doozy. The...

As Rent Relief Efforts Drag on, Treasury is Redistributing Funds

“This is not about reward and punishment … It’s about speeding up effective relief for families in need of housing security and eviction protection.”
homeowners_foreclosure sign

Don’t Just Defer Loans—Start Modifying Loans Now

We have learned how to successfully provide broad-based mortgage payment relief to millions of American households in need. There’s nothing to stop us this time around from doing it right.

Lasting Affordability Is the Path to Resilience

We now have a unique opportunity, generated by a combination of life-threatening conditions and focused political will stemming from the Black Lives Matter movement, to re-prioritize local housing policies and resources.

How Democrats Can Fix the Affordable Housing Crisis

With Democrats taking back the Senate, can the Biden administration go beyond immediate-term rent relief to win more ambitious housing solutions?

Banks Can Earn CRA Credit for COVID Response—But Who’s Benefiting?

All banking activities, regardless of whether they benefit middle- and upper-income or low- and moderate-income people and communities, could count in the next round of CRA exams. This would further disadvantage communities that are already disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

How Scaled Affordable Housing Asset Management Helps in the Time of COVID

Peter Madden does asset management for a portfolio of around 2,200 units of primarily low-income, subsidized housing across New York City. And yes, most...

Improving Racial Equity via Emergency Rental Assistance

Five ways to ensure that rental assistance reaches communities of color with high levels of need.
rural cooperative

We Need a Rural New Deal

COVID-19 is a combined health and economic crisis poised to further devastate rural communities already suffering severe economic stress. Already, rural health care systems...
Squatters occupy the Arion building in Seattle after it sat vacant for months. There are signs that read "Operation Homestead" and "It's Alive" outside the large white building.

History Shows that in Times of Crisis, Housing Activists Get Radical

A recent spate of vacant home occupations echo squatters campaigns of the past.

Will the Joe Biden Administration Bring Rent Relief?

President-Elect Joe Biden has a substantial housing plan, which clearly draws heavily from the affordable housing and community development fields. The plan is thoughtful...

How Affordable Housers Perpetuate Past Harms, and How They Can Do Better

Some elements of affordable housing—from the development process to the way buildings are managed—are rooted in racist assumptions that dehumanize residents. Here are some simple ways you can be a better housing provider.

Nonprofit Housing Providers Face Down COVID-19

As organizers struggle to get strong eviction moratoriums passed and enforced around the country, there’s one sector where evictions during the pandemic were not...

The Most We Can Do: A National Mandate for Housing Justice

As the United States wrestles with its long history of racial injustice, shared-equity programs stand as one solution to address inequality and exclusion in the realms of housing.
A protestor holds a "Rent Relief Now" sign during a North Carolina demonstration this month

In Unprecedented Times, Nothing Less Than Universal Rent Relief Will Do

If we stick with yesterday’s policy and programs in an unprecedented year of crisis, we will leave an unconscionable number of people, families, and communities behind.