Summer 2018

Shelterforce cover for issue 191 focusing on renters rising. Articles focus on rent regulations, discrimination against voucher holders, rent control, and more.With the much-belabored and fretted-over rise in the proportion of renter households after the foreclosure and financial crisis has also come a resurgence of tenant organizing—or housing justice organizing as many groups are calling it. Rent regulation is no longer being discussed as a vestigial holdover from a previous age, but again actively debated and organized for.

Shelterforce cover for issue 191 focusing on renters rising. Articles focus on rent regulations, discrimination against voucher holders, rent control, and more.

Renters Rise Again

Rent regulation is no longer being discussed as a vestigial holdover from a previous age, but actively debated and organized for by renters and activists.
Kennetha Patterson of Homes for All in Nashville speaks on a megaphone during Renter’s Week of Action.

Tenant Power: Organizing for Rent Strikes and Landlord Negotiations

In the face of high rent increases and substandard housing, many tenants are realizing they are not alone in their landlord troubles and are joining together to push for building-level wins, and policy change.
A single-family home in San Jose, California.

The Dark Side of Single-Family Rental

After the foreclosure crisis, global equity firms snapped up thousands of single-family homes to rent out. This massive shift in the market has not been good for aspiring homeowners, tenants, or neighborhoods.
A San Francisco, California, building that was privatized through the RAD program.

The Promise and Peril of HUD’s RAD Program

After a public housing property in Hopewell, Virginia, was privatized through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, some families were threatened with eviction and...
The Daley Center in downtown Chicago. It’s estimated that each year, more than 15,000 people in Cook County will get a public eviction record despite having no eviction order or judgment against them.

Eviction Filings Hurt Tenants, Even If They Win

From Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year, thousands of tenants, landlords, and attorneys make their way to the Daley Center in downtown Chicago....
Alicia Spradlin and her daughter Faith live in apartments that have been set-aside for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan members.

Setting Aside Housing for Frequent Health Care Users

Housing specifically for those who frequently use health care services makes sense on many levels, but it also raises questions about privacy and lining up who pays and who benefits.
Mesa 5 cooperative members explain how the housing complex’s services and maintenance work.

Solutions to an Unjust Housing System

Four scalable land and housing models can provide justice, and homes, for our communities. But we need support to protect them from market pressure.
Landlords commonly refuse to rent to voucher holders, a practice known as “source of income discrimination.”

Section 8 Voucher Holder Denied Housing

Despite having a housing voucher—a legal source of income—a Buffalo, New York, woman could not find a landlord who would rent out their property to her.
“I was trying to fix my life. And this put a halt on it,” says Khristen Sellers. Khristen faced sexual harassment for housing.

A Cruel Choice—Sexual Favors for Housing

Across the U.S., sexual harassment at the hands of landlords, property managers, and others in the housing industry can drive poor women and their children into homelessness. It is a problem badly understood and virtually unstudied.
This woman says Four-County employees assaulted her. She did not want her face shown.

Taking Sexual Harassment Seriously: Tips for Nonprofits

Sexual harassment is a topic that’s not often addressed in the community development field, but it should be.
The book cover for The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism By Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak.

The Fate, and Power, of Cities: A Review of The New Localism

The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak. Brookings Institution Press, 2018, 304 pp., $25.99 hardcover, also available on e-book. Purchase a copy at brook.gs/2LOjunA

Q: Can Prohibiting Source-of-Income Discrimination Help Voucher Holders?

A: Yes. Currently landlords in most places can discriminate against voucher holders, and many do. For example: An African-American female tester using a voucher was denied...
A hemodialysis machine in a bedroom.

A Bad Mix: Utility Shut-Offs and Chronic Illnesses

In most states, a household can avoid or delay termination of its utility service due to overdue balances if the shut-off would significantly impact their health. But the process isn’t as simple as it may seem
North Minneapolis tenants pose together with their fists in the air during a barbecue

Despite Win Against Landlord, Minneapolis Tenants Still Face Eviction

North Minneapolis residents fight to take control of their buildings after city administrator finds homes to be uninhabitable.
supporters of ban income bias bill

Section 8 Allowed

Early research shows that laws prohibiting discrimination based on source of income may improve outcomes for Housing Choice Voucher holders.
Michael Bodaken

Interview with Michael Bodaken, retiring director of the National Housing Trust

Shelterforce took the occasion of Michael Bodaken's retiring from the National Housing Trust to speak with him about how he got into housing, some of his favorite projects, and his recommendations for the field going forward.
rent control

Dear Business School Professors: You’re Wrong, Rent Control Works

A university study on rent control makes three crucial mistakes in its assessment of the policy's effect on San Francisco's housing market. Housing advocacy organization Tenants Together sets the record straight on rent control's role, and who is actually to blame for the city's unaffordability.