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.

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.

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.
The top portion of a police car with sirens. Is harm reduction policing possible?

Harm Reduction Policing?

Shelterforce spoke with 2019 MacArthur fellow Lisa Daugaard about how her work in homelessness set her on her path, and how diversion programs can build political will to increase support for affordable housing and public health.

Interview with John Henneberger, 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.
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.
A National Guardsmen rescues three people on a boat in LaPlace, Louisiana,after Hurricane Ida brought flooding to the area.

The Harbinger of the Modern Disaster Era: An Interview with Andreanecia Morris

From Katrina to COVID to Ida, the director of Housing NOLA talks about FEMA, communications systems, racism, and resiliency.
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.

Interview with Tony Pickett, Urban Land Conservancy

Probably no one in the country is in a better position than Tony Pickett to talk about efforts to include long-term affordable housing in two of the nation’s largest Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ventures: Denver’s FasTracks plan, and Atlanta’s Beltline project.
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.
Construction of the 1296 Shotwell development looms over the Mission District

The Case for Letting Developers Pay Not Build

The question of integrating affordable housing units required by inclusionary zoning on-site versus allowing developers to pay a fee to locate them off-site has long been a contentious one.

The Green New Deal

Majora Carter saw natural beauty and economic empowerment in her South Bronx neighborhood where others saw only a dumping ground. She's changing the urban landscape in a way that's been an eye-opener to people around the globe.

Interview with Richard Baron, CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar

It still surprises many people that Richard Baron, the CEO of one of the largest for-profit affordable housing developers, got his start in the field supporting public housing tenants in a rent strike.
The view of downtown Richmond, Virginia, as seen from Jefferson Park.

Interview with Mark D. Constantine, president and CEO of Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Mark Constantine gives us a view of one foundation’s attempt to learn to walk the walk and how that commitment can influence the work one organization does to create a culture of health in its community.

Making Inclusionary Housing Programs a Force for Racial Equity

Three city administrators go beyond the press releases to talk about what it really takes to make an inclusionary housing requirement serve households of color.

Ron Sims: Retiring from HUD, Not from Public Service

Shelterforce caught up with the HUD deputy secretary on the precipice of retirement, nearly two-and-a-half years after joining the agency. Sims brought to HUD not only his political savvy, but also an unshakable commitment to equity and sustainability. In this exit interview, we talk about his accomplishments at HUD, plans for the future, and what he thinks needs to be done in order to stabilize the housing market.