Fall 2018

The cover of the Winter 2018 edition of Shelterforce magazine.Rarely are abandoned buildings and dumped-on lots counted in the asset category. And yet, thinking of abandoned properties as merely problems we wish would go away, rather than opportunities that we need better tools to access, feeds into some of the less productive ways vacant properties have been handled over the years. Scroll down to read more, plus other features and columns from this issue, or purchase a copy to hold in your hands.

The cover of the Winter 2018 edition of Shelterforce magazine.

There’s Opportunity in Vacancy

Thinking of abandoned properties as merely problems we wish would go away feeds into some of the less productive ways vacant properties have been handled.

The Two Vacancy Crises in America’s Cities

Vacant properties are a serious problem in two kinds of neighborhoods. To address them, we need to know which kind we’re looking at.
State policies on everything from taxation to land bank funding can make the difference between a vacant property and a well-care-for property like this one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

State Policies Play a Central Role in the Fight Against Vacant Property

Abandoned and vacant properties seem like a quintessentially local problem. But state policies have a huge effect on how well municipalities can fight it.

Making a Pipeline for Vacant Building Rehab

Baltimore’s Vacants to Value program sparked revitalization block by block with a few key legal powers and partnerships.

How to Fight Vacancy? Do It All

The fight against vacancy in Youngstown, Ohio, shows us that we shouldn’t rely on a single strategy—everything is needed at once.
Avalon Trace was renamed Cottage Gardens after the 176-unit complex was sold to a new owner in 2018.

Condemning Asthma, Not Homes in North Carolina

An apartment complex in North Carolina generated 120 times as many hospital visits as would have been expected for its population, until a creative coalition forced its sale and worked with the new owner to change things.

Transforming Vacant Land Into Community Assets

Vacant land activities can be low cost and high impact; the price of failure is not steep, but the return on investment can be high.

How to Fund Land Banks

The number of land banks grew dramatically in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. So has our understanding of how to successfully fund them.
A once-vacant lot in Philadelphia that has been cleaned.

Greening Vacant Lots: Low Cost, Big Effect in Philly

A Philadelphia program is cleaning up abandoned lots, helping formerly incarcerated residents get jobs, and improving the overall health and well-being of neighborhoods.

The Mission: End Childhood Lead Poisoning in Rochester

In the 1990s, Rochester, New York, had an alarmingly large number of children who had elevated lead levels in their blood. Decades later, the rate has decreased by 85 percent. This is how a local coalition made it happen.

Public Land Should be Used for Public Good

When a vacant lot in Oakland was close to becoming the home of a 24-story, market-rate development, local activists worked together to prevent it from happening.
The third installment of Shelterforce's Health and Community Development supplement.

Fall 2018 — Health and Community Development Supplement

In our third supplement, we focus on a coalition's work to lower the number of asthma-related hospital visits from an apartment complex, and how sitting on a porch can be good for your health. Click on the photo to download a copy.

Q: Can Nonprofits Get Out the Vote?

A. Yes! Nonprofits are often uncertain about what they can legally do, but they can get out the vote among their residents, clients, and staff.
porch party

Sitting on a Porch Can Be Good for Your Health

To help combat isolation and reweave the connecting fabric that had been lost, a neighborhood arts center launches an initiative that eventually became a movement.

A Review of The Fight for Fair Housing

The collection of 17 essays captures and explains the dynamism of the fair housing movement with its remarkable contributors.