Whatever Happened to ...

To know where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. Every now and then we need to take a look back to see how things have changed—how did promising or ambitious initiatives pan out? Did the trends that seemed to be going strong stay on course? How were thorny challenges resolved? Our first official Under the Lens series revisits some of our past coverage and asks, “Whatever happened to that?”

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View from across the street of a restored nine-story building dating from 1909. The facade is brick and terra cotta, with arch details over the second-story windows and on the top floor windows.

The Permanent Affordability That Wasn’t: Lessons from the Pythian Building

A high-stakes, high-profile community land trust project once hailed as a triumph in New Orleans ended in disaster for its residents, but it’s important to draw the right lessons about why.

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An across-the-street view of a large domed building with broad steps leading up to the pillared front. Two people on the sidewalk are taking a photo, and two others are strolling by. The sky is a deep autumnal blue and the trees lining the plaza are in bright fall reds and oranges.
Reported Article

West Virginia Tackles Vacancy With Tax Reform

In 2018, Shelterforce wrote about the Center for Community Progress’s recommendations for tax reform in West Virginia to address vacancy. Guided by CCP’s suggestions, the state auditor’s office has recently passed two laws to change its tax sales process and keep properties in use.

View from across the street of a row of six apartment buildings, all three stories, in varying brick shades. All have square patches of lawn in front and wrought-iron fences with gates. At far right is parked a silver sedan. There are no people in the photo.
Reported Article

How It’s Working: Laws That Help Tenants and Nonprofits Buy Buildings

Shelterforce checks in on three communities that have passed policies giving tenants and nonprofits first dibs on purchasing property. Are these policies keeping residents in their homes?

A group of people stand around a person with a megaphone. There are signs in the back of the room.
Reported Article

What Happened to Rent Control in Minneapolis?

Minneapolis voters gave their city council the power to enact rent control by ordinance. Two years later, the future of rent control is still in limbo.

A roadway in Missoula, Montana. There are some buildings to the right, and mountains in the back.
Reported Article

Where Missoula Built Sidewalks, A Health Equity Focus Followed

The Missoula City-County Health Department is working to expand health equity through a full-time government position, five years after a health initiative brought new sidewalks to low-income neighborhoods.

Reported Article

Louisiana to Drop Lawsuits Against Katrina Survivors Over Recovery Grants

Louisiana sued thousands of homeowners for not following the rules in how they spent recovery grants. After a joint news investigation, the governor announced that the state won’t try to collect the money.

A ribbon-cutting for two newly renovated rowhomes on Westmont Street in North Philadelphia. Pictured is a family cutting a ribbon. They are surrounding by lots of people in masks.
Reported Article

New Philly Land Trust Was Promised Dozens of Homes; How’s It Going?

Two years ago, Philadelphia officials agreed to give 59 vacant buildings to homeless advocates. The historic deal has faced several setbacks, but is still moving forward.

Reported Article

Paying Hospitals to Build Housing—New Jersey Program Expands

More affordable housing projects approved, new funding for scattered-site improvements for substandard housing, and talks about replicating the program beyond the Garden State.

North Minneapolis tenants pose together with their fists in the air during a barbecue
Reported Article

Looking Back: Good Outcomes for Affordable Housing on Transit Land, Tenants Facing Eviction, and More

In our next installment, we take a look at some positive outcomes—what happened with affordable housing on transit-owned land, cooperative agency work in Massachusetts that helped at-risk people, and the Minneapolis tenants who were facing eviction after court wins against their landlord.

Practitioner Voice

Burdensome Documentation Requirements Keep NOLA Homeowners from Getting Home

The Road Home program was supposed to help thousands of families rebuild their homes after Hurricane Katrina. Instead, $33 million was left undistributed, and now the Louisiana Office of Community Development is suing homeowners who couldn’t rebuild.

Reported Article

CLTs Still Going Commercial—Nonprofit Offices, Hairdressers, and a Sausage Factory

Community land trusts, better known for permanently affordable housing, expand into commercial spaces for a wide range of reasons, and in a wide range of ways.

Atlanta's BeltLine bike path bordered by new homes.
Reported Article

Affordable BeltLine Project Still in Progress in Atlanta

It was a decade ago when the Atlanta BeltLine partnership set a goal of creating almost 6,000 units of affordable housing, as well as a collaborative of land trusts. What’s happened since? Did the partnership achieve its intended goals?

Reported Article

From PETRA to RAD—The Path to Converting 140,000 Public Housing Units

More than $10 billion in private financing has been invested in public housing thanks to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. But housing advocates say it comes at a cost, and there still isn’t enough oversight of the program.