Spring 2018

The front cover of the Spring 2018 edition of Shelterforce magazine. It shows an African-American man speaking through a bullhorn. The theme is In this issue we also take a look at where models of permanent affordability and shared equity stand now, how they have fared over time, and how they could be or are being expanded into new places —even some places where the existing community development organizations weren’t so excited to see them coming.

Scroll down to read more, plus other features and columns from this issue, or purchase a copy to hold in your hands.

We ask: What don't people who are getting rental assistance get a job? The Answer: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job!

Q: Why Don’t People Who Get Rental Assistance Get a Job?

A: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job! Ninety-four percent of rental assistance receipts are ...
A group of residents stand outside of the Oak Hill Meeting House holding a sign that reads "We Own It." They are clapping and cheering.

The State of Shared-Equity Homeownership

Though the need is greater than ever for resale-restricted, affordable homes, the growth of this model of homeownership appears to be limited.
A group of people stand outside their home, a housing cooperative in Maine.

The Power of Community to Segregate or Liberate

In order to successfully realize projects that serve the cause of social justice, community control must include strong leadership that actively cultivates the principles of inclusion, solidarity, and equity.
The polygon outline is the residential census tract for the participants’ housing project community, represented by the single black marker. Green markers represent places participants identified as positive, healthy, and good, while red markers represent places identified as negative, unhealthy, and bad.

The Real Limits of Census Tracts, and Other Boundaries

We can’t truly understand how a person’s health is affected by where they live if we look only at data within arbitrary boundaries like census tracts and ignore the places people actually go and don’t go every day.
An apartment complex in Minnesota that was under threat of being sold to a luxury developer.

Beating Luxury Developers at Their Own Game

The tide is starting to change as a number of organizations have partnered with nonprofits to make deals to acquire naturally occurring affordable housing.
A view of a community in Oregon, with an American flag framing the left hand side. Lots of trees in the area.

The State of Permanent Affordability

In the face of accelerating gentrification, along with ongoing speculation and eviction, the idea of putting a substantial number of homes outside of the reach of the speculative market has been gaining momentum across the country.

Controlling Land Collectively: The CLT Ground Lease Reimagined

Community control often gets conflated with affordability for neighborhoods seeing rising prices, and it’s obviously good to make land stay affordable. But affordability is not the same as democratic decision-making.
Several residents, as well as some children, enjoy outside exercise equipment.

Getting Health on Board

It’s becoming increasingly common for community development corporations and grassroots housing organizations to have board members from the health care sector. Here's why.

Community Land Cooperatives Should Oversee Neighborhood Economic Development

This nonprofit is organizing a real estate investment cooperative for the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, with the exclusive purpose of incubating, funding, and assisting “community land cooperatives.”
A family of four sit under an umbrella in front of the land trust home.

Community Ownership Redefines ‘Highest and Best Use’

The “highest and best use” of real estate should be the maximum fulfillment of social, environmental, and economic benefit for the greatest number of stakeholders including future generations.

Settling Homeless Families in Vacant Homes

Take Back the Land broke into foreclosed, vacant homes, performed repairs, and housed homeless families in them. The most hopeful lesson to draw from the land occupation and the squatting activities is that pressure can be applied anywhere.

The Linchpin of a Just Housing System

A vision is rooted in the belief that housing is a human right, not a commodity to maximize profit. Homes For All believes it is possible to create a just housing system in which everyone has affordable and dignified housing.

“More Than the Sum of Our Property Values”

How can power over land be used in such a way that people who are at a political disadvantage—who are poor, members of racial, ethnic or religious minorities, very young or very old, or have a disability—benefit? How about those who cannot speak for themselves, like trees or rivers?
A home at the Dos Pinos Housing Cooperative, the only limited-equity housing co-op in Davis, California.

A Low-Cost Ownership Oasis in a Desert of Apartment Unaffordability

When this limited-equity cooperative in California began more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t the most affordable place to live. But now the co-op’s monthly costs are 50 percent lower than the average market-rate apartment.
Members of a limited-equity housing cooperative in D.C. gather on the front steps in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Creating the Commons

The commons can be understood as a set of resources that have been de-commodified: that is, these are resources that are used to directly support life, rather than to extract a profit through sale on the market.

Corbin Hill Food Project Land Transfer

To the Corbin Hill Food Project, community control over land manifests itself not only through land ownership but also through the emergence of a food system that is guided by values of sovereignty, racial equity, and shifting of power.

Co-ops: Resistance to Living in the Land of the Lord

For Section 8 recipients, a step toward economic mobility (and community control) can be limited-equity cooperatives. A Section 8 voucher can be used to pay some of the monthly carrying costs of a co-op unit.

Interrupting Inequality Through Community Control of Land

Our belief is that community in CLTs emerges not from the simple fact of membership, but from the relationships, cooperative efforts—and disputes–of those occupying and making decisions over the land.
Eastern Market food advertisement banners on old buildings in downtown Detriot.

Inclusionary Housing in Soft or Mixed Markets

The time to strike isn’t when the iron is hot. Cities in soft or mixed markets should adopt inclusionary housing policies before the housing market heats up and the process becomes even more challenging.
Two people write down thoughts about what they think Chinatown's future should be.

Collective Ownership Is a Community Control Tool

A campaign pushed city government to begin the disposition process for a public parcel of land that is now proposed for a multi-use project that includes 171 units of 100 percent affordable housing.