What is the National Housing Institute and how does it relate to Shelterforce?

The National Housing Institute (NHI) is the 501(c)3 organization that publishes Shelterforce. NHI has also done some research and holds periodic convenings, but our primary purpose is and always has been Shelterforce.

Why are you called Shelterforce?

Shelterforce was started as a tenants’ organizing publication in 1975, so our name evokes the idea of being a force for [decent, affordable] shelter, or perhaps forcing reluctant landlords to provide it.

Can you help me find housing?

No, we are a media organization, not a social service or housing provider. If you are looking for affordable housing, or housing-related legal assistance, there are places you can go for help, but they vary widely from state to state.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has a page of resources for those who are at risk of homelessness or are homeless.

USA.gov provides links and guidance to various government resources to help with a variety of housing needs, including HUD and FHA programs.

Legal aid attorneys try to help low-income individuals and families with a variety of rental complaints. Local offices can often guide you to more housing resource information in your state.

Every representative in Congress has a staff member whose job it is to assist the people they represent. Click here to find your representative, enter your zip code, navigate to the information on his or her district offices, and call the office that is nearest to you. Ask for the person who handles constituent services, explain your situation, and ask for suggestions on how to best access housing assistance in your district.

The CDC eviction moratorium has expired. Federal rent relief will be distributed by states and localities. We also encourage you to find a local tenant organizing group for support, and seek advice from a Legal Aid attorney.

So do you basically cover housing issues?

Not anymore. Though that is our history (and therefore reflected in our names), and we do cover a lot of affordable housing topics, we recognize that housing by itself is not enough to create healthy neighborhoods or stable, empowered households. Therefore for the last 15 years or more we have covered the full range of topics that might fall under the heading of community development, including transportation, economic development, creative placemaking, healthy communities, community organizing, and much more.

Do you accept submissions?

Yes! See here for more details.

Do you take ads?

Yes! See here for more details.

How are you funded?

Like every other mission-oriented publication, we are primarily reliant on grants and donations. We are grateful to our funders for their support. While our earned income from advertising is important, it does not, and is unlikely to ever cover the full costs of producing Shelterforce. Help us keep doing our good work with a one-time donation or becoming a Shelterforian.

Do your funders have a say in your content?

No! We maintain strict editorial independence, and have been known to criticize the hand that feeds us more than once. Many of our funders do have good insights on the field, and good connections or ideas, and we treat these with the same standards as ideas from any other source. Sometimes we do accept grants to allow us to increase coverage in specific areas that we already had an interest in covering, but we maintain editorial control of what we write.

Can I place a paid blog post on your site?

No! We do not accept paid editorial content. Advertising must be clearly identifiable as such.

What happened to your 2015 issues? Did you take a year off?

No, we didn’t! But due to some staff turnover and the fact that we had been drifting incrementally behind schedule over the course of a few years, we wiped the slate clean in 2015 and made our cover dates match their mail date. Every subscriber got the number of issues they paid for, never fear.

When did you stop your print publication?

In 2020, we made the decision to cease our quarterly print publication so that we can focus our time and resources on producing more—and better—stories, and getting them online more quickly, where the vast majority of our readers already are. Since then, we’ve launched Under the Lens, Shelterforce’s deep dives into a single topic or theme.