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.

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.

Editor’s Note: 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.

Tenants Block Evictions by Any Means

Tenant organizers across the country—in places like Virginia, Louisiana, and New York—have taken direct action against surging eviction cases through tactics like mass outreach, shutting down court hearings, and picketing lawyers who represent landlords.

Housing Organizing in the Year of the Pandemic

California housing organizers reflect on what changes, and what stays the same, during a pandemic.

Activists Win Control of Vacant Philadelphia Buildings: Now What?

The city and the activists involved have referred to the organization that will receive the properties as a community land trust, but as of late October it was not yet clear how the group will be structured.

NJ Tenant Organizing—Looking Back at the Film Techos y Derechos

A decades-old tenant organizing film—now in digital form for the first time—is still relevant today.

Crossing the Digital Divide During COVID

Flyers, phone calls, and podcasts, oh my! Organizations blend past and present strategies to stay in touch with community members.
Image of Chicago's 606 trail, which many housing advocates say contributed to local gentrification

Keeping Gentrification From Following Green Space

LA organizers work with park professionals on policies to allow green space investment in neighborhoods that have lacked it without paving the way for displacement.

It’s Time to Move On From Community Consensus

When we rethink the problem as one of political voice rather than community consensus, it opens up new, innovative techniques to determine public priorities.

‘We Need Those Houses’­—Activists Take Over Vacant Housing Authority-Owned Homes

About 50 people—mostly single mothers and their children—have been living in vacant Philadelphia Housing Authority units since March. The move-ins are both acts of necessity and a political protest against the PHA.
Photo of the Commons in downtown Ithaca.

Did Ithaca Really Cancel Rent?

In early June, residents and organizers successfully pressured the Ithaca Common Council to pass a resolution that requests that the state grant them the authority to cancel rent in response to COVID-19. Contrary to many headlines, it didn't actually cancel rent—yet.
a sign that promotes social distancing.

Three Lessons Learned from Working in Isolation

A New York-based organizer says although we may be physically divided due to social distancing, we can be emotionally bounded through our common purpose.
A large group of cheering people wearing yellow T-shirts hold a sign that reads "Homes Guarantee". In the background, a large sign reads "People before profits, politics, polluters."

Housing Justice Organizers Don’t Want to Return to ‘Normal’

As they organize for immediate relief for those whose housing was affected by the pandemic, tenant leaders are also building power to demand long-term changes.
decade of fire

Out of the Flames

A review of a documentary about the decade-long period in the South Bronx when 80 percent of its housing, home to around a quarter of a million people, was lost to fire.