Organizing

Community development relies on policies, resources, and recognition that were won by decades of organizing—and organizing remains essential to face new threats, preserve existing wins, and continue to fight back against the big lie that the way things are is inevitable.

An illustration highlighting the 6 policies tenants are fighting for, including good cause eviction, right to habitability, right to counsel, rent regulation, tenant opportunity to purchase, and right to organize.

Tenant Protections 101

Tenant advocates have long been pushing for a “tenants bill of rights” to codify rules that protect renters from landlords. Here’s a rundown of the top protections housing justice activists say need to be included.
A group of adults and children stand with colorful orange, yellow and blue signs. One sign reads, "Stop increasing our Rent."

Top 6 Tenant Protections Renters Are Fighting For

Tenants are organizing together with increased urgency to get legal protections passed in their towns, cities, and states. What are the top protections tenants are fighting for?
An illustration show tenants rallying on the streets. Some have signs that read "Rent is Too Damn High." The illustration is part of Shelterforce's series "Tenant Power Returns."

Tenants Rights: It’s Not a Moment, It’s a Movement

In "Tenant Power Returns," Shelterforce examines how the energy and focus in the housing world is returning to tenant organizing.

Upstate New York Shelter Workers Vote to Unionize

Though Joseph’s House is lauded for its non-judgmental and harm-reduction principles, the shelter’s staff say they need a larger voice in how it’s run.

Putting in the Labor to Support Affordable Homes

With notoriously high housing costs in San Francisco pushing workers across occupations out of the city and into long commutes, the value of alliances between housing advocates and labor organizers are becoming increasingly clear.

Mattye Berry-Evans, a Member of the Resident Action Network

“Each and every person should have the opportunity to have safe, secure, adequate, and affordable housing. I wasn't able to have it, but I can help others have it.”
An aerial view of East Palo Alto.

How Rent Control Helped Create East Palo Alto

The story of East Palo Alto’s incorporation is one marked by great contention among local stakeholders, but also provides valuable lessons for organizers in forging and mobilizing local coalitions.

Omari Ho-Sang—A Housing Activist in Louisiana

March being Women’s History Month—an ideal time to celebrate the brave, bold, and thoughtful women who are influencing history—Shelterforce and Community Change have decided to continue the video series: Women of Color on the Front Lines.

Philly’s 1970s Fight to Revive Rent Control

As rent control reemerges as a strategy to address an intense housing crisis, we go back 50 years to examine the lessons learned from past struggles in Philadelphia.

Idalia Rios—A Community Organizer in California

Idalia Rios began her organizing career advocating for her son, who has a speech delay. In the process, she learned that even when advocacy begins with your own family, you have to fight for the class, school, and larger community to achieve lasting change.

Donna Price—An Organizer in Detroit

Once homeless, Donna Price persevered with unshakable strength, which landed her in a position she once couldn’t imagine.

A Note From Our Publisher—Lifting Up Women’s Voices

There are countless women who are driven to turn up the volume of their voices when faced with unfair circumstances. As the publisher of Shelterforce, I am privileged to lead a publication that makes way for many of these voices to be heard.
In purple chalk, it says "Housing is a Human Right."

Housing Solutions—Centering Community in Ownership, Control, and Long-Term Affordability

How is community control of housing realized? We explore different community ownership structures, how tenants form a cooperative, and how larger housing nonprofits can incorporate residents into decision-making.

How Community Ownership Is Evolving

The latest Shelterforce series takes a closer look at community land trusts and cooperatives to see how both are evolving.

A Bolder Future for Housing Justice: ‘These Times Call for Radical Actions’

Housing advocates working at the local, state, and national levels discuss new research and policy recommendations for advancing housing justice.

Advancing Antiracism in Community Development

How can the community development field stay aligned with the movements that led to its rise in the first place?

Building Camaraderie in a Virtual Workspace

How one community development corporation's youth program flourished during the pandemic

‘Opportunity Areas’ Shouldn’t Just Be Places With A Lot of White People

Why do we think moving to white neighborhoods will solve our problems?

Homeless Mothers in California Show How Radical Housing Activism Becomes Lasting Change

Moms 4 Housing and LA Reclaimers have proven that successful grassroots organizing can turn headline-grabbing occupations into long-term affordable housing.
A view of the Chicago skyline through a rusty chain-link fence

Fighting No-Fault Evictions with a Just Cause Ordinance

Despite a state-wide eviction moratorium, thousands of people have been evicted in Chicago since March. A coalition of housing advocates is proposing a just cause ordinance that would halt no-fault evictions.