Wayne Meyer, president of New Jersey Community Capital.

Interview with Wayne Meyer, President of New Jersey Community Capital

New Jersey Community Capital shakes up our ideas of how nonprofit housers can and should approach neighborhood stabilization
A historical photo of a burned cross with the word "Freedom" in white across it.

“You’re Not Colored”: The Story of Two Civil Rights Activists of Japanese Descent

We heard about Ed Nakawatase and Tamio Wakayama's experiences as volunteers with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the American civil rights movement, and the extraordinariness of their witness to the history happening at the time compelled us to pursue a conversation.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

Interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

Plucked from New York City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Shaun Donovan is leading the effort to make the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development into a relevant, powerful agency.

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...

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.

Interview with Michael Rubinger, former CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Rubinger was at LISC's founding and from 1999 to June 2016, he headed the organization, steering it most recently on a path toward comprehensive community development rather than just housing work.

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.

The Housing Crisis and the Landscape of Affordable Housing

As home prices continue to fall, the notion that the real estate market will allow for lower-income families to secure affordable housing increases. But it's not so cut and dried. How much a home costs is only one of many factors when determining affordability. In March 2012, Shelterforce hosted a roundtable discussion featuring leading research and policy experts to explore those various components of affordability looking at just how the housing crisis changed the affordable housing landscape in the United States.

Interview with Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Director for General Government Programs at the...

Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Director for General Government Programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget has a portfolio that includes HUD, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Homeland Security departments, as well as the U.S. Postal Service and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. All of these make a direct and profound impact in the community development world.

Shelterforce Interview: Bill Apgar

William C. Apgar, Jr. is Executive Director of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies and a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard's JFK School...
Shelterforce spoke with (from left) former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros, who worked under President Clinton, and Mel Martinez, who worked under President Bush.

Interview with Former HUD Secretaries Senator Mel Martinez and Mayor Henry Cisneros

At the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Summit on Sept. 15 and 16, five former HUD secretaries joined a panel discussing their time at the...

Cushing Dolbeare, Interview by Winton Pitcoff

After 50 years working as an advocate for low-income housing, Cushing Dolbeare says she is finally committed to working on just housing for a...

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.

A Land Trust Q&A

Tracy Parent, the organizational director of the San Francisco Community Land Trust, was kind enough to answer some questions I had about SFCLT's work...

Interview with Shelley Poticha, Director of Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities

Shelterforce speaks with Shelley Poticha, director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, about implementing sustainable policy at the federal level while encouraging local innovation, keeping down the cost of green housing, and effecting change while dealing with federal government bureaucracy.
A group of activists and community-based partners in Philadelphia discuss how to deal with a Mantua neighborhood hotspot and possibly solve the problem through a process called “crime prevention through environmental design.”

Roundtable: Policing and Community Development

Many people in the community development field are conflicted about the police presence where they work. We invited a group of practitioners to share their experiences and talk through this tension.
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 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.

Shelterforce Interviews Two CRA Veterans

CRA – Taking It To the Next Step The success of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been significant. Thanks to the CRA, community groups...
From top left, Ingrid Gould Ellen of the Furman Center at New York University; Jamaal Green of Portland State University; Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions; and Rick Jacobus of Street Level Advisors. From bottom left, Greg Maher of the Leviticus Alternative Fund; Alan Mallach of the Center for Community Progress and a National Housing Institute senior fellow; and Charlie Wilkins, a consultant and co-author of the AEI paper.

Regulation and Housing Supply: Where the Left & Right Agree (Sort Of)

We gathered some people who have done a lot of thinking and studying on regulation to discuss what it might look like to actually remove obstacles that get in the way of developing less expensive housing options responsibly. What's possible? What are the trade-offs?
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.

Interview with Mayor Ivy Taylor, San Antonio, Texas

When Julian Castro, then-mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was picked to be the new Secretary of the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development last year, the city council voted in Ivy Taylor from among their ranks to replace him. The first African-American mayor of the largely Latino and Anglo city, and strongly identified as an urban planner, Taylor casts herself as someone interested more in getting work done than leaving a political legacy. However, she has not shied away from controversial positions, and her initial position that she would not be running for re-election fell by the wayside as she announced her candidacy on February 16, less than two weeks after this interview. We spoke with Mayor Taylor, who has a background in affordable housing, about what it’s like to move between the community development sphere and city government, some of her difficult decisions, and her vision for stable, mixed-income neighborhoods in the city she is serving.

Interview with Senator Robert Menendez

In February, on the heels of $25 billion attorneys general mortgage settlement, Sen. Robert Menendez unleashed the Preserving American Homeownership Act, a bill that would help eligible underwater homeowners by creating a program where banks reduce mortgage principal in exchange for a portion of the increased value of the home over time -- shared appreciation mortgage. The bill was timely because it mirrored Ocwen Financial's loan modification program, Shared Appreciation Modification, that creates equity by writing down an underwater borrower’s principal balance to 95 percent LTV. In this interview, Shelterforce talks to Menendez, (D-NJ), who serves as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee's subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, about this initiative, the ongoing federal response to the housing crisis, the Sustainable Communities Initiative, the Occupy movement, and more.
A woman in a red Cause Justa/Just Cause T-shirt holds a hand-lettered sign reading "Black and Brown for Tenant Protections Now"

Tenant Solidarity in Oakland

Q&A with Kitzia Esteva-Martinez, Causa Justa/Just Cause

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.
2093 mission street

Preserving Affordability in San Francisco—A Look at the Housing Accelerator Fund’s First Year

An interview with Bob Annibale of Citi Community Development and Rebecca Foster of the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, which aims to to preserve or develop 1,500 affordable housing units in its first five years. 

Shelterforce Interview: Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research

Bostic, now in his second turn at HUD, is known for his extensive work analyzing the roles that credit markets, financing, and policy play in furthering economic access for all.

Shelterforce Interview: Mercedes Márquez

HUD Assistant Secretary of Community Planning and Development Mercedes Márquez spoke with Shelterforce about NSP, technical assistance, and the importance of leveraging resources.

“Political Lift”: An Interview with Rep. Keith Ellison

As we head into the election home stretch, pieces of Rep. Keith Ellison's interview with Shelterforce in our latest issue keep coming to mind. Ellison...

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.

Interview with Sister Lillian Murphy, CEO of Mercy Housing

For Sister Lillian Murphy of Mercy Housing, your mission must not be an excuse to make bad business decisions.
Headshot of Thomas Menino, former Mayor of Boston

The Housing Policy We Need: An Interview with Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston

Thomas M. Menino, now serving his third term as mayor of Boston, became president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in May and quickly...

Interview with Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Jay Williams was the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, from 2006 to 2011, at a time when Youngstown was attracting notoriety for making the unusual assertion that, rather than longing for its bygone glory days before the steel mills closed, it was going to embrace a vision of becoming a smaller, yet more vibrant city. (See Shelterforce’s “Small Is Beautiful, Again”, for more on this approach and how it affects low-income residents.) Williams is now assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, and administrator of the Economic Development Administration. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, Williams served as the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, and he also served in the White House as deputy director for the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this position, he led efforts to engage mayors, city council members, and county officials around the country.

Shelterforce spoke with Williams at the conference of the National Alliance of Economic Development Associations last fall in San Antonio.

Sowing Seeds of Change: Q&A with John Atlas

Editors of sat down recently with John Atlas, NHI board president and author of Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, to discuss the organization itself, as well as organizing on a national level, tensions between organizing and development, and lessons learned from the downfall of the once-powerful antipoverty organization.

Jerry E. Abramson, Louisville Kentucky’s Progressive Mayor on Housing and Community Development

Housing is a serious issue in Louisville, Kentucky. Last October was Affordable Housing Month, a month sponsored by the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (MHC) that...

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...

Interview with Rinku Sen, president and executive director of Race Forward & publisher of...

In those exhausting and frightening days right after the election in November, I had the good fortune to catch Rinku Sen for a few minutes at the end of a long day of her organization’s biannual Facing Race conference. Though she must have been running on next to no sleep by that point, Sen was insightful, earnest, and eager to talk about the road ahead.

Common Ground: an interview with Rosanne Haggerty of Common Ground Commnity

Rosanne Haggerty was on vacation in Ireland not long ago when she decided to see how that country addresses the housing needs of its...
Jeanne Fekade-Selassie

New Money on the Block: Funders for Housing and Opportunity

A new funding collaborative, Funders for Housing and Opportunity, has just launched. The collaborative, officially a project of the New Ventures Fund, involves (so far) nine large and well-known foundations.
Chris Wilder, Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO, holds a sign that reads "Yes on A: Affordable Housing. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home." The initiative tied health and housing funding for county residents.

Housing Is Health: Ballot Initiatives in California Approved

A conversation with three county supervisors who were instrumental in moving affordable housing ballot measures forward in the California Bay Area by bringing in the health factor.

Interview With Tom Szaky, Founder, Terracycle

We spoke with Tom Szaky, TerraCycle's founder and CEO, about social enterprise, locating in a distressed community, and what he as an employer would want out of workforce development programs.
Members of Boston Liberation Health hold a banner that reads, "Capitalism, racism, and heteropatriachy are making us sick. Join Liberation Health."

How Organizing for Justice Helps Your Mental Health

How do social justice, organizing, and mental health interact? Shelterforce chats with clinical social worker Dawn Belkin Martinez to find out.

Nicolas P. Retsinas

Nicolas P. Retsinas, a senior lecturer in real estate at the Harvard Business School and director emeritus of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, talks with Shelterforce about his long service in the housing field.
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.
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.
Michael Bodaken

Interview with Michael Bodaken, retiring director of the National Housing Trust

Shelterforce took the occasion of Michael Bodaken's retiring from the National Housing Trust to speak with him about how he got into housing, some of his favorite projects, and his recommendations for the field going forward.
Public Housing building

It’s Time to Build New, Mixed-Income Public Housing

An interview with Ryan Cooper, co-author of the report (with Peter Gowan), Social Housing in the United States, about current approaches to government intervention in the rental market, the politics of home ownership, why public housing needs to be mixed-income, and envisioning a society that provides adequate, affordable housing to all of its citizens.
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.

Interview with Gordon Chin, Founding Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center

Gordon Chin started San Francisco Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), a longstanding CDC well-known in the field, in the mid-1970s. In June 2015, he released Building Community, Chinatown Style, a book about his professional life, the founding and evolution of CCDC, and the future of community development. Josh Ishimatsu, director of Research and Capacity Building at the National Coalition for Asian-Pacific American Community Development, and a regular Shelterforce contributor, spoke with Chin about where community development is going, and where it should go.

Shelterforce Interview: Sandra Henriquez

HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez spoke with Shelterforce to discuss the administration’s Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance initiative and address some of the concerns regarding PETRA’s push to allow public housing authorities to leverage private investments. 

An Interview with Wendy R. Sherman

Wendy R. Sherman was recently appointed President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation, as part of a significant expansion and restructuring that will...

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.

An Interview with Helen Dunlap

In September, Helen Dunlap was appointed president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She most recently served as HUD's deputy assistant secretary for...

Interview with Roberta Achtenberg, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Roberta Achtenberg, former Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, came to Washington from San Francisco, where she had been an elected member...
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.

Interview with Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary for Rural Development, USDA

At the Opportunity Finance Network conference in October, I finally got a chance to sit down and talk with...
richard rothstein

The Not-So Hidden Truths About the Segregation of America’s Housing

Our conversation with The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein on uncovering truths about our not-so distant history of federally mandated racial segregation in housing.

Interview with George McCarthy, President of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

After 14 years at the Ford Foundation, most recently as the director of the Metropolitan Opportunities Unit, George "Mac" McCarthy became the fifth president of the 41-year-old Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, trading in his long daily commute to New York City and returning to Boston, where he grew up. McCarthy brings to the job that critical and nuanced eye for detail that comes with being an accomplished housing economist with the mission of bringing social justice to those denied it around the world. Well-known for his blunt and honest views and his ability to challenge as well as inspire those he works with, McCarthy has long seen land use policy as a means to reach the equity goals he's worked for in his roles as a teacher, researcher, and funder.
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 Gabriel Metcalf, author of Democratic by Design

Gabriel Metcalf is president and CEO of SPUR, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes good planning and good government through research, education and advocacy....

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.

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.

The Barney Frank Challenge

Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the house Financial Services Committee, sits down with Shelterforce to discuss consumer protection, the future of Fannie and Freddie, the role of FHA, and rental housing and offers a challenge to advocates looking to effect change on the federal level.

A Year Later, Can the Grenfell Tower Fire Be a Catalyst for Reimagining Housing...

Glyn Robbins talks about what led him to view U.K. and U.S. housing policy as intertwined, how public protest stifled the Conservative Party’s 2016 Housing Act, and what’s changed in the wake of Grenfell Tower fire.
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.
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 Ron Faris, Ocwen CEO

We speak with Ocwen CEO Ron Faris about why principal reduction makes business sense and some of the myths that get perpetuated about it.