Conrad Egan

What do Saul Alinsky, Students for a Democratic Society, HUD, and the Housing and Community Development Department of Fairfax County, Virginia, have in common? Conrad...
Ai-jen Poo speaking.

Interview with Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance

Ai-Jen Poo has been organizing with domestic workers for over 15 years, helping in New York to win some of the first statewide labor protections for occupations often exempt from labor laws, and expanding this campaign to a nationwide vision for a strong caregiving workforce and infrastructure for elder care. In 2014 she became a MacArthur Fellow, but this was hardly her first award.

Interview with Gabriel Metcalf, author of Democratic by Design

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of SPUR, discusses his new book, "Democratic by Design: How Carsharing, Co-ops, and Community Land Trusts are Reinventing America."
HUD Secretary Julian Castro poses in a formal headshot in front of an American flag.

Interview with HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Shelterforce got a chance to speak with Secretary Julian Castro about some of the current ways in which he’s working to make HUD a force for good in people’s lives, and what steps there are left to be taken.

Rep. Keith Ellison

In the spring of 2008, as the country plunged into the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Keith Ellison, a freshman Democrat...
Kresge president Rip Rapson

Interview with Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation

If you look at what Rip Rapson has accomplished and the insight he brings to his current work, you'll get a much better picture of who he is and the challenging work he spearheads at the Kresge Foundation.

Interview with John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service–Part 1

It’s not every year (or even every decade) that community developers and housers see themselves represented in the ranks of the coveted MacArthur Fellows (or “genius grant” recipients). That in and of itself would be sufficiently exciting, but when Shelterforce staff sat down to talk to John Henneberger of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, one of the 2014 MacArthur geniuses, we certainly found ourselves impressed and excited. Driven by a sense of justice since college, he has been on the frontlines of the fight for equality and equity since those years. Henneberger has extensive knowledge of the field, an ability to clearly relate many of our most basic concerns to each other, and a clear-eyed focus on end goals above interim measures. In this two part interview, he talks about expansive definitions of “fair housing,” exciting organizing work in Texas that the rest of the country should keep an eye on, the role of a state-level advocacy organization, and much more.
Nikole Hannah-Jones

We’re All Enforcing “Separate But Unequal” Schools—An Interview With Nikole Hannah-Jones, a MacArthur “Genius”

Shelterforce spoke with MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" recipient Nikole Hannah-Jones about her research into the persistence of racial segregation, and how without government intervention, average Americans have done an excellent job of enforcing "separate but unequal" schools.

Shelterforce Interview: Ron Sims

HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims doesn't just want the 8,500 employees he oversees at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to do their jobs: he wants them to challenge themselves, even if there's a risk of failure.

Andrew Cuomo

Perhaps the most well-known secretary since HUD's inception, Secretary Cuomo has made much of his efforts to rebuild HUD and restore Congressional and public faith in the department. A year into Cuomo's term, Congress and the media are slowly beginning to show signs of acknowledging that housing and urban development issues are worth at least a small degree of attention.

Closing the Divide Between Fair Housing and Affordable Housing

The Regional Affordable & Fair Housing Roundtable pulled off something that has often been elusive—building enough trust between fair housing advocates and place-based community developers to lead to their signing on to a joint agenda.

Educate, Motivate, Organize

An Interview with Chokwe Lumumba, mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
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.
Damon Rich

The “Who Put That There?” Test—An Interview with Damon Rich, a 2017 MacArthur “Genius”

Architect and urban planner Damon Rich on democratizing design, neighborhood change and displacement, and having the freedom to choose collaborators.

Interview: Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña

The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is dealing with an evolving set of discrimination challenges facing families, changes in the very definition of "family," and the political realities of the 112th Congress. Trasviña is no stranger to this balancing act.
Melvin L. Oliver, Ph.D., joined the Ford Foundation in 1996 as vice president for asset building and community development.

Interview with Melvin L. Oliver of the Ford Foundation

Melvin Oliver, vice president for asset building and community development at the Ford Foundation, talks about community development, black and white wealth, and racial inequality.
Dripping faucet.

The Connection Between Water, Justice, and Health

Our talk with Radhika Fox, the CEO of the US Water Alliance, about water justice and ways to build stronger communities.

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.

Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.

Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.

When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations.

Sheila Crowley speaks from a podium as she holds a piece of paper.

Interview with Sheila Crowley, past president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition

Crowley has led the organization through dramatic times, keeping a focus on those with the most pressing housing need when many wanted to just talk homeownership.

Interview with John Henneberger of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service–Part 2

John Henneberger talks about expansive definitions of fair housing, exciting organizing work in Texas that the rest of the country should keep an eye on, the role of a state-level advocacy organization, and more.