Organize!

In our Organize! columns we explore various lessons in organizing strategies and tactics, going beyond the outside story of a campaign to look at how it worked or what lessons it might have to teach us.

Organizing with the State on Your Side

In California, municipalities are required by law to plan for their fair share of affordable housing. Has this put housing advocates out of a...

Patience and Politics

State education departments are always looking for ways to improve low-performing schools, and not always finding them. In 1992, the Texas Education Agency agreed...

Putting “Community” Back in “CRA”

The Community Reinvestment Act and regulators have been unable to hold banks accountable to distant and distinct local communities—so nonprofits have stepped in to do the heavy lifting.

Occupy Wall Street: A New Wave of Fair Housing Activism?

Is there a new community reinvestment movement afoot?

The Right to Know

 Josefina de la Cruz’s migration history does not stop at her arrival from Mexico in 1972, but continues through five different Chicago neighborhoods, most...
Three members of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California give a thumbs up as they hold "Register and Vote" signs in different languages.

How the Bay Area Got $2 Billion for Affordable Homes

San Francisco Bay Area voters approved bold new investments in 2016 after housing advocates--part of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California--ignited a successful electoral strategy for the general election. Here's how it worked.

Housing Set-Asides: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In August 2002, Kevin Jackson, director of the Chicago Rehab Network, sent a letter out to network members and supporters to introduce a campaign...

Alabama Arise Fights For Tenant Protections

It was hardly an unusual story in 1993 in Montgomery, Alabama. A tenant had spent months trying to get her landlord to fix a...

Persistence Pays

Employees of Erickson Cosmetics Company (makers of Banana Boat lotion) only wanted what they had earned. Especially workers like Juana Vasquez who worked at...

A Matter of Trust

Although a March 2007 Zogby International poll found that affordable housing was an important election issue, most elected officials have yet to place creating...

Building a Better City: Europe’s Affordable Housing Standard

In the United States, nonprofit builders of affordable housing often compete against each other as well as against larger, better-capitalized private builders for limited...

Winning a War, But Losing the Battle

Victory in a tenant organizing campaign is usually defined by improving conditions for the tenants involved – an egregious repair problem is fixed, landlord...

A Victory Over the Slumlords

When the last light in her hallway at the Juanita Apartments in Burien, a working-class city just south of Seattle, burned out in January...

Homeless Revolution

An organization of homeless New Yorkers rallied residents of Harlem and Manhattan to stand up and take notice of the city's long-standing practice of warehousing vacant properties.

Affordable, But for Whom?

How a box of felt pieces helps organizers help New York communities advocate for their real affordable housing needs 

Improving Schools from the Bottom Up

Two years ago, when Oakland ACORN was considering a new citywide initiative, members voiced one concern loud and clear: the poor conditions of the...
Residents in Austin, Texas, sit in a micro-unit home.

Flipping the Script

A nonprofit forgoes the typical community meeting for a "living charrette," which leads to greater neighborhood feedback about a proposed 24-acre development in Austin, Texas.

Living Wage Lives in L.A.

It was 1996, and an economic Godzilla loomed over Los Angeles, coming to crush the city's precarious prosperity. That, at least, was the way...

All Organizing is Constant Re-organizing

In 1990, a manufacturing plant in San Antonio laid off more than 1,000 employees, most of them Mexican-American women with limited formal education. The...

Winning a Land Bank We Can Trust

Lessons from Philadelphia's Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land