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.

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.

Affordable, But for Whom?

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

Cross-Community Collaboration on NYC’s Municipal ID Program

Lack of identification hurts many different groups in different ways—from the homeless to immigrants, and they all need to be considered in the fight for an alternative.

Winning a Land Bank We Can Trust

Lessons from Philadelphia's Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land
Ralliers gather in Washington, D.C., with a sign that reads "Stop, Don't close public schools."

Don’t Call It a Comeback for Neighborhood Schools

In the face of widespread school choice, some D.C. residents are advocating for an equitable system of neighborhood schools. But what's the chance that will become a reality?

Review of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime & Resistance in the Heart Of San Francisco

I learned about the history of the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s maligned neighborhood, through walks in it with my Great Uncle, Milton Hendrick, and listening...

Social Innovation and Civic Participation

We have some insight from Sonal Shah, the head of the new White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, who is advocating...

Has the Fight Gone Out of Organizing?

After a brief, shining moment following the 2008 Republican National Convention, when it seemed community organizers would rule the country, they are now back on the defensive.

Obama’s Nomination: Just in Time For Labor Day

Bill Clinton stepped up the other night and did what he needed to do if the Dems want to win this election: he threw...

After the Politicking, Let’s Remember ACORN’s Vital Work

ACORN has been falsely charged in the news media, by politicians, and even by some supporters. This was the point driven home by Wade...

Accountability for Countrywide is Good for the Market

The annoucement of the Justice Department's settlement with Countrywide over violations of fair lending laws is a landmark victory that...

Three Ways the President’s Budget Benefits HUD

For low-income families that need affordable rental housing, the news from Washington in recent years has been bleak. Yet, while...

The Push for Public School

Confusion, ambivalence and anger all seem to accompany many discussions of public education. High stakes testing, positive behavior intervention and...

The False Choice Between Mobility and Community Development

What is it about community development that it constantly seems to be posited in a binary set of choices that...

Flint: Tainted Choices, Tainted Water

Like the water itself, the situation in Flint, Mich., should be crystal clear: elected and appointed officials, at the state and federal levels, have done...

Organizing Will Win

  For anyone who organizes and advocates for worker justice, the last months of 2016 felt like an unmitigated disaster. But even as we begin...

Moving Toward Solutions in Ferguson

Over the past few weeks, many news accounts have laid bare questionable—and perhaps criminal—police behavior and the subsequent and continuing protests by concerned citizens in and around Ferguson, Mo. On a single day, September 10th, at least three protests happened—one at the state capitol, one outside St. Louis City Hall, and one near Ferguson (a thwarted highway sit-in […]
A man, who is surrounded by people holding signs, speaks at a podium in in New York.

Moving Beyond Place-Based Community Organizing

How to train organizers to work across various communities, not just neighborhoods.

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.

Chicago Factory Occupation Victory Is Only The Beginning

In the past few days we’ve seen news of 3,500 jobs to be lost by the closing of U.S. Steel facilities in Illinois, Michigan...