Mabel Duffy, Myrtle Stern, and the May Day marching band occupy a major intersection in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Game of Chance: Mass Eviction in Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, hundreds of Penn Plaza residents were given 90-day eviction notices after their building was slated for demolition. The mass eviction was well known throughout Pittsburgh, but few knew what was happening inside the building.
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.
A sprawling white “hipster” is memorialized against a backdrop of romanticized visions of blight in a mural that dominates an intersection in the historically Black 7th Ward in New Orleans.

The Cultural Ramifications of Gentrification in New Orleans

Gentrification is not just physical displacement; it’s cultural appropriation across entire neighborhoods. Artists have an obligation not to participate.
Two woman hold a sign that reads, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed Taught me ..."

Preparing a Career Path for Community Change Agents

College credentials combined with local organizing experience helps create a new generation of community activists.

Who Will Lead Community Development Corporations?

Community development corporations are surprisingly short on executives of color. Why? And how can the field do better?
A black and white illustration of a head broken into puzzle pieces.

Chipping Away at Implicit Bias

Structural discrimination has led to an unconscious association between blackness and poverty and neighborhood disinvestment. Here’s what we can do to change the status quo.

Bridging Divides with Peer-to-Peer Strategies in Public Housing

Peer-to-peer strategies in public housing can keep residents engaged in programs offered within their respective communities by addressing cultural divides, trust issues, and employment barriers.
Two employees of Grace Federal Solutions in North Carolina, an African-American man and woman, chat in the hallway of their offices. The company secured a loan from a CDFI.

CDFIs Led By People of Color Face Financial Disparities Too

A lack of access to capital, capacity-building resources, and technical assistance significantly constrains the ability of CDFIs led by people of color to achieve greater impact.
A female doctor t the Daughters of Charity Health Center in New Orleans wears a white lab coat with a stethoscope and stands next to an African American woman, who is wearing a black shirt.

A Look at a Medical, Legal Aid Partnership in New Orleans

A health center has partnered with a legal services agency to better help patients by addressing the social determinants of health. This “medical-legal partnership” is part of a growing trend that’s taking place across the nation.
From left, Andrea Levere, Andrea Luquetta-Kern, Woody Widrow, and Holly Frindell.

In Pursuit of Financial Well-Being: A Conversation on Fairness, Accessibility, and Empowerment

In a world of growing financial complexity, predatory products, stagnating wages, and escalating inequality, financial insecurity is a dramatic problem. We gathered a group of leaders who are combating financial insecurity for a conversation on how it all relates.
A chart of the United States showing where the U.S. Financial Diaries study occurred - California, Eastern Mississippi, Ohio/Kentucky, and New York City.

Is Financial Unsteadiness the New Normal?

A yearlong analysis of 200-plus households suggests that we should add a third leg to the financial security stool along with income and assets: cash flow.
A ripple in water.

The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.

The Fight for Full-Time Work in San Jose

Unpredictable hours lead to unpredictable cash flow, which is a barrier to budgeting and saving. One response to this, the Opportunity to Work Initiative, would require that San Jose employers give more hours to part-time employees before hiring new staff.
A woman and man stand together smiling in front of their new home in North Carolina. They received a loan not based on credit scores, but on character.

Challenging the Almighty Credit Score

A majority of mainstream lenders base loan approvals on a hotly debated three-digit score. Are there better, fairer ways to assess risk?
Young students wearing red shirts laugh as they participate in a college-bound program in Indiana.

College Bound: A Look at Children’s Savings Accounts

Children's savings accounts for higher education, even those that have accumulated only small amounts of money, can change expectations for low-income students and they might also provide a vehicle for larger wealth transfers.

Financial Inclusion Begins With Our Tax Code

Changes to the tax code, and tax programs that support low-wage earners, will strengthen gains made in the asset-building field.

Why Financial Education Should Get Political

Financial curricula for low-income households often focus on personal choices about budgeting and saving, but if they don't also address systemic problems, exploitation, and discrimination, they aren't speaking to their audience's reality.
A woman in a pink, "I love San Francisco" sweater walks ahead of two women in light beige sweaters and a little girl who is wearing a pink coat and drinking a bottle of water. They are walking down a street and passing a black car that is parked on the left.

Community Building Despite Trauma

The trauma caused by poverty and the systems that reinforce it can short-circuit standard efforts to build community. A new method called “trauma-informed community building” aims to change that.
A black and white photo of Whitman, Philadelphia, residents shout and point to anti-housing demonstrators.

Integrating Whitman

A long-forgotten battle over a set of row houses in South Philadelphia makes current day NIMBYism look tame. What can housing advocates learn from how they finally got built anyway?

“Inclusive Communities” Are Inadequate for the World’s Housing Crises

Housing problems are growing and are likely to worsen with pervasive income inequality and a U.S. population projected to grow by 80 million people by 2050. Yet, the solutions do not match the demand.
Two young students wear smocks as they paint in school.

Build Mixed-Income Housing–But Not in Isolation

A focus on housing connected to education and wellness will be needed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
A white three-level building.

Don’t Build Mixed-Income Communities, Buy Them

Building when you could buy is inefficient—and contributes to economic segregation.

Making Mixed-Income Developments Work

A single development with an intentional income mix involves very specific challenges—both in its design and its management.

The Next Boom for Worker Co-ops?

Baby boomers are the largest percentage of business owners, and they’re headed toward retirement. The worker cooperative movement wants to keep the jobs they’ve created from disappearing.

Voices From the Field: Mixed Income

Do we need more mixed-income housing? Why or why not? The following data and observations were collected via a survey we conducted from late January through mid-February, distributed via Shelterforce Weekly and social media.

Bigger Forces at Play

If social inclusion and the creation of mixed-income neighborhoods is embraced by so many, why does it seem to be so difficult to materialize this vision for the city? Let's look at some examples.

Why We Must Build

We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis . . . but we won’t get out without building.

New Jersey Divests from Payday Lending

Advocates in New Jersey mobilize to make a state pension fund put its money where its state regulations are.
A classroom full of students in a charter school in St. Louis.

The Charter School Lenders

Despite the controversy surrounding them, charter schools have become a major segment of the CDFI field’s business, requiring new assessment tools to keep the lending mission-focused.

Why Are Community Development Lenders Financing Charter Schools?

The choice to support privately-operated, publicly-funded schools puts these lenders at odds with many of their usual political allies and constituencies. So what’s the motivation?

Above the Fray?

As the school reform debates rage on, community groups struggle to stay out of the politics and yet keep influencing the quality of education in their neighborhoods.
Two students wearing blue shirts stand in front of posters in their school.

Schools that Support Students’ Whole Lives

Community schools support kids, families, and neighborhoods in their mission to improve education.
A group of people stand behind a red ribbon before the opening of an art exhibit at a charter school. To the right, youngsters prepare to cut the ribbon with large scissors.

Charter Schools, Gentrification, and Weighted Lotteries

Charter schools in gentrifying neighborhoods have the power to exacerbate the inequity that exists between low-income residents and wealtheir newcomers. How can they use their power to instead ensure their student populations are as diverse as the neighborhoods they operate in?
A female dentist cleans a young boy's teeth.

The Place-Based Charter School?

What is the relationship between charter schools and neighborhoods—and what could it be?
Ralliers gather in Washington, D.C., with a sign that reads "Stop, Don't close public schools."

Don’t Call It a Comeback for Neighborhood Schools

In the face of widespread school choice, some D.C. residents are advocating for an equitable system of neighborhood schools. But what's the chance that will become a reality?

Gentrification and Public Schools: It’s Complicated

An influx of more affluent families and their resources and advocacy is just what every struggling school needs, right? Well . . .
A panoramic photograph of Austin, Texas.

More Bang for the Buck?

Austin, with prodding from advocates, pushes its economic development policy to go beyond big deal chasing.

Have We Been Wasting Affordable Housing Money?

It might seem like 10, or even 30, years is a long time to require affordability—until it’s over and your public investment is lost.

A Stubborn Gap

The difference in aggregate home value between blacks and whites in the American South has remained startlingly steady through periods of dramatic social change.

Can San Francisco Get Mixed-Income Public Housing Redevelopment Right?

The HOPE SF program is aiming to explicitly avoid many of the problems mixed-income public housing redevelopments have faced, to create a truly inclusive process.

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.

Organizing and the Community Land Trust Model

What happens when organizers win a campaign for community control of land? That depends a lot on the choices they make about how to exercise that control.

The Justice Gap

The post-Katrina work of legal services lawyers shows that if you care about equity, legal aid belongs high on the list of crucial disaster recovery programs.

Detours on the Road Home

Serious flaws in the Road Home program have kept many hard-working homeowners from coming back to the Lower 9th Ward. Let’s not repeat them after the next disaster.

Rising Tides, Rising Costs

In the face of climate change, flood insurance rates are rising. But program rules, and the history of who has been shunted into the floodplains, means the brunt is being bore by those least able to absorb it.

The Revitalization Trap

Place-based initiatives won’t address the kinds of injustice and poverty that community development was formed to fight.

With responses by Brentin Mock and Miriam Axel-Lute.

Building the Cars of the Future . . . in Detroit

How the nonprofit Focus: HOPE is helping to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit, and the Detroiters who need them.
The book cover for "Preventing the Next Mortgage Crises" by Dan Immergluck.

How to Prevent the Next Mortgage Crisis

Yes, we need to finally achieve certainty in our housing finance system. But not the way most people are suggesting.

Learning to Stretch

Community development corporations find ways to embrace new immigrant communities and new challenges.
Two women, one on the right stares off camera as the other bends to speak to her.

Serving the Community, In Their Language

From hiring priorities to translation headsets to special requests of the phone company—the exciting and important work of serving multicultural, multilingual populations.

Building Multiculturally

One culture’s idea of the ideal house is different from another. Luckily, floor plans are adaptable.

Citizenship Is an Asset

Naturalizing is a great way to improve opportunity, but it’s expensive. How can we open that door to more of the immigrants who qualify?

Immigrant Integration Services Must Aim to Build Assets

Financial coaching and small business development services should be right up there next to learning English.
Female construction worker and her son.

Protecting Immigrant Workers

The Texas construction industry is a good example of what happens when immigrant workers rights are not respected. But this organization is fighting back.

Profile of the Immigrant Population

Knowing who is immigrating here, and where they are settling, has implications for policy.

English Required for a Mortgage?

Language barriers pose an obstacle to fair access to credit, but this population is overlooked in fair credit discussions.

Vulnerable Workers Mean Vulnerable Communities

Anti-immigrant laws and the lack of a solid path to citizenship leave immigrant workers vulnerable to exploitation—and harm the whole community.

Not Just Any Job

Community lenders and local governments wrestle with how to encourage—or simply require—that jobs created with their support provide real pathways to opportunity for those who need them most.

Staying Ahead of the Age Wave

Groups working with older adults, including many community developers, are crafting a range of creative interventions, from home modifications to service-enriched housing models, to allow seniors to age in place. Will it be enough?
A senior park in California called Pismo Dunes.

The Benefits of Aging in Manufactured Housing Communities

As places for low- and moderate-income Americans to age in place, manufactured housing communities present an impressive array of advantages—and some financial risks.

Safe Banking for Seniors

To support older adults to safely age in community, we need to consider what they need out of banking—and what they need to be protected from.

Meeting the Housing Needs of an Aging Population

Our aging population is more economically and ethnically diverse than any before, and will require a greater and more varied inventory of housing stock.
A smiling African-American man in a baseball cap sits at a table in a social lounge type room with other people in the background.

Keeping Seniors Healthy by Fostering Connections and Community

For high needs seniors with chronic illnesses, health is not merely—or even mostly—a matter for medical professionals.

Capital Catch-up

Community lenders try to address the capital crunch faced by small businesses of color.
Tommy Murray, a homeless veteran.

Ending Veteran Homelessness: A Goal with a Plan

The administration's campaign to end veteran homelessness involves unprecedented cross-agency collaboration, a willingness to embrace new methods, and substantial resources. It's a combination that just might work.

Serving Those Who Served

Community organizations, including some that are not veteran-specific, are figuring out how best to reach and serve an increasing number of veterans in need.

Clearing a Path to Employment for Veterans

Veterans tend to have many job skills—but translating that into civilian employment is often harder than it should be.

Without More Affordable Housing, Veteran Homelessness Will Return

Federal funding to end veteran homelessness has had a real impact, but a nationwide shortage of affordable housing could make its success temporary.

Short-Term Funds With Long-Term Impact

The changes that stimulus funding made in Lane County, Oregon’s homelessness prevention will last past the funds themselves—but they could have a lot more effect, especially for veterans, if federal funding continued.

Vets Get Access to Land Trust Homeownership

VA home loan guaranties and community land trusts are perfect partners—but not everyone knows that yet.

Implementing Vouchers for Veterans

A look at what HUD-VASH supportive housing vouchers can do, from the perspective of one of the agencies administering them.

Sprawl vs. Unions

The three very different stories of the building trades in Atlanta, Denver, and Portland, Ore., show just how much urban development patterns affect workers.

Out from Under the Table

An enterpreneurial training program in Detroit has an unexpected side benefit—legitimizing existing but unofficial businesses, and poising them for growth.

Forging a Transformative Vision

Building economic power through community ownership is the antidote to the systemic failures of our current system.

Thinking Outside the Big Box

Urban centers need to come up with creative solutions to keep their local economies safe from the crushing force of big-box retailers.

The Cooperative Solution

Cooperatives align closely with the goals and values of community developers and deserve more attention as an economic development strategy.

To Build a Community Economy, Start With Solidarity

How residents who can't afford to buy in can still get the benefits of co-op work and housing.

Getting Rid of the Middleman

A Brooklyn organization discovers that helping its constituents form worker cooperatives tackles poverty and social isolation in a way traditional job readiness training can't.

Focus on Scale Up, Not Start-up

To truly transform local neighborhoods, we must shift our attention to invest in enterprise scale, not start-ups, as a long-lasting solution for creating good jobs.

Keeping the Jobs in House

Humboldt Construction Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chicago CDC, has been providing local employment and high-quality work for over 30 years.

Lifting the Fog on Section 3

When it's more appealing to circumvent the law requiring that jobs in public housing construction go to qualified residents than to follow it, something needs to change.

Beyond the Box

A movement for second chances takes root.

Hitting Construction Hiring Goals

How do you ensure that the jobs a new development is supposed to bring to a community actually go to underrepresented populations?

Building Bridges, Building Muscle, Building Momentum

Two cities show how community-based organizations and labor can overcome their historical divide to work together.

An Organizer’s Work Is Never Done

An unprecedented local hiring win is a stepping stone in a trajectory to turn workforce development on its head.

We Should Be Working Less

Changing our assumptions about what constitutes "normal" full time work could help address all sorts of social problems, from unemployment to civic disengagement.

Put Your Spending Where Your Goals Are

Local procurement policies take money already being spent and direct it to local businesses to get more economic development benefit for the buck.

Are You Subsidizing Big Business?

Massive corporations, not start-ups or local job creators, get the lion's share of state and local development incentives.

Manufactured Locally

While there is much debate about the state of large-scale domestic manufacturing, a few places are quietly supporting local manufacturing for items that have been made overseas for some time, from jewelry to jeans.

Residents Need to Own Community Change

To get beyond superficial “input,” involve residents in a development from start to finish, from planning to implementation to ownership.

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?

Coming to Consensus

When and how can consensus decision making work for community-based organizations?

Power to the Members

Community development and planning organizations with a voting membership are rare, but the ones that do prioritize a democratic structure say it's well worth the additional work.

When The Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses Fought Back

Financial Justice is the untold story of how a diverse group of progressive organizations took on the powerful financial lobby, pushed Congress to create a strong new consumer protection agency and against the odds, won.

Two Structured Community Development Funds: A Peek at How They Work

The details, lessons, and impact of two innovative community development funds created by Enterprise Community Partners.
A man, wearing a blue shirt, gives a presentation at a conference. He stands in front of a screen.

The Role of Government in Impact Investing

Impact investing may seem like a market-based concept, but government can and does support, enable, and participate in it many ways.

Letting the Dollars Land

To realize the promise of community investment, the capacity of specific places to absorb available capital needs to grow.

Inside Gentrification: The Emotional, Physical, and Financial Implications

The following is a condensed conversation between practitioners and thinkers about gentrification sparked from a blog post about neighborhood revitalization on Rooflines. With so...

The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development

The changing face of achieving equity in health, education, and housing in the United States.
In the center are blue doors that are surrounded by orange, white, and brown pieces of metal-looking material. This is what a warehouse looks like in a Mumbai slum.

What Mumbai’s Slums Do Right, And Why We Should Emulate Them

Sometimes to understand our own cities and community development practices it is helpful to understand a radically different setting. In the slums of Mumbai...