All Print Issues

Summer 2011

Issue #166

36th Anniversary

This issue marks our anniversary, but in a different way. When we mark the passing of time, we often look back. This is necessary and valuable. But progress comes when new ideas are born and nurtured to fruition, and when the enthusiasm, commitment, and insight of young leaders is let loose . . . the way it was 36 years ago. And so for our 6 times 6 anniversary, we invited six exceptional young community development leaders to describe how they see the CD world and what’s needed to turn every place into a community of opportunity. They come from different parts of the country and represent some of the rich tapestry of America. They are accomplished, determined, and optimistic, while dealing with today’s realities head on.


Fighting for the Trust Fund

When we reported earlier this year on the often-frustrating saga of finding a legislative home for the as yet unfunded National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) created by the Housing and […]


Housing Counseling in Crisis

In April, when the so-called budget compromise for continued FY2011 funding was reached, the entire $88 million HUD Housing Counseling budget was left in the garbage heap. This a was […]


What’s in Store for PETRA?

At the time it was unveiled last year, the Obama administration’s Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act, or PETRA (see SF, Summer 2010), was described as either something […]


What’s in Store for PETRA?

At the time it was unveiled last year, the Obama administration’s Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act, or PETRA (see SF, Summer 2010), was described as either something […]

Community Development Field

Doing More with Less

Our job is not to deliver services, but to empower clients to make as many decisions about their life as they can.

Community Development Field

Know Your Rights

A community that is not equal under the law is not going to be equal anywhere else.

Community Development Field

Building Grassroots Power and Coalitions in the CDC Movement

I am continually inspired by the potential for building grassroots power and coalitions for affordable housing and community development.

Community Development Field

Taking a Sustainable Approach

Over the next 36 years, the biggest issue facing community developers will be energy. Many experts say we have already hit peak oil production and the evidence that climate change […]

Community Control

Mission: Accomplished

For the past five years, I have been involved with a project in Eastern Oregon in a town with a population of 3,310. The town is in a rural area […]

Community Development Field

Community Development Is in Everyone’s Interest

One of the main principles of organizing is self-interest. People are motivated to take action by the desire to improve their own lot. Students lobby to increase Pell grants to […]

Community Development Field

Fighting for Responsible Corporate Partnerships

As with the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, we need a new mechanism for the next 36 years that forces corporations to anchor themselves in our neighborhoods.

Community Development Field

We Still Have the Power

What do activists, policy makers, advocates, scholars, and citizens of other countries do to surmount the challenges that face us here? What knowledge and wisdom can we import? What can we export?

Community Development Field

Tapping Into the Power of Technology

One of the greatest changes affecting the community development field has been in technology, and the benefits and challenges it brings. Because my background is in community technology, or bringing […]

Community Development Field

Community Development and Ending Homelessness

The discussion of homelessness is dominated by stories of personal mistakes, bad luck, and mental illness. In contrast to this narrative, we know that roughly 10 percent of all people […]

Community Development Field

Winning Back the Government’s Love (and Money)

If people grapple with real budget trade-offs, they might appreciate government spending more, and redirect it to programs that benefit their communities.

Community Development Field

Beyond Social Service: Sustainable and Dynamic CDCs are Key to Economic Recovery

As a program director at the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) in Minneapolis, coupled with my prior corporate experience as human development consultant in Costa Rica, I’ve seen that healthy […]


Do One Thing and Do It Well

Changes in policy, economics, and needs force the community development field to move forward to meet today’s challenges.

Community Development Field

A Ground-Up Approach in a Top-Down World

Community development in the last 20 years has been hindered by the perpetuation of real estate as a vehicle for wealth creation.

Community Development Field

Looking to Alternative Markets for Housing, Jobs, and Assets

As public resources, grants, and publicly owned lands dwindle, community developers have had to seek out new approaches to continue their work.


Priorities: Existing Housing Over New Construction

In the Pacific Northwest, the affordable housing industry is just beginning to understand the unsustainable building practices that were common in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Community Development Field

Education, Cultural Literacy, and Representation Are Essential for Success

Education, digital literacy, and Congressional representation are the greatest challenges for the Latino community.

Community Development Field

Creating Access and a Supportive Environment

Community development is about more than real estate. It is about our evolution as neighbors in a highly networked yet still disconnected world. We know the answers, yet we continue […]

Community Development Field

It’s About Community, Every Step of the Way

We must start thinking about the role of community development in aiding the strengthening of our states, nation, and potential contributions to the global economy.

Community Development Field

Building Leadership in Communities of Color

In these times of change, investing in and institutionalizing practices to develop emerging leaders will be critical for sustaining and expanding community development efforts.

Community Development Field

Housing for People, Not for Profit

Poverty is not contagious or created by poor people, but is caused by systems of oppression such as racism, classism, gender discrimination, and homophobia


Better Living by Urban Restoration

It is the larger social and cultural environment of a home that creates health, not the housing unit considered on its own, concluded a 1990 issue of the Bulletin of […]

Community Development Field

1975 Was a Good Year

We’re not the only 36-year-old in town. Here is a small sampling of other 36th birthdays taking place this year:


Housing Investments Are Neighborhood Investments

Community developers must take on the broader challenge of using housing-based investments to prompt broader neighborhood-wide improvements.

Community Development Field

New Objectives for Affordable Housing

In this age of the Great Recession, it’s imperative to establish a new objective for the affordable housing movement. There is a need for a radical reframing of what we […]

Community Development Field

The Challenge of Change

Just as it did at the start of the community development sector some 30 years ago, the industry finds itself facing public sector cuts and growing housing needs.

Neighborhood Change

Making Light Rail Stop for Us

A promising, billion-dollar Twin Cities light rail project almost bypassed lower-income neighborhoods on its route, but thanks to a coalition of community groups, it will now make all local stops.

Community Development Field

Where Are They Now?

Shelterforce was founded in 1975 in East Orange, N.J., by a collective of tenant advocates and organizers. Where are those collective members now?

Community Development Field

How Do We Get It Done?

Protests in front of government buildings have their place, but advocacy is not mutually exclusive with taking action directly.


Massachusetts CDCs

Massachusetts CDCs generated over $1 billion in economic investment from 2007 to 2010 — Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations’ annual Growing Opportunities, Assets, and Leaders (GOALs) report.

Editor’s Note

Looking Forward

In 1975, the founders of Shelterforce took a leap of faith. They understood the profound problems facing distressed communities struggling to find decent housing and opportunity. They started a publication […]

Community Development Field

Eliminate the Poverty Trap of Means-Adjusting

Want to do something radical and transformative for affordable and public housing? Eliminate means-adjusted rents in family properties. Not means-testing, the entry review that assures incoming households meet the program’s […]

Community Development Field

Housing Policy Should Be About People, Not Product

Most low-income households in the United States live in private-market housing. American housing policies, though, rather than focusing on the needs of that majority, have focused disproportionately on providing a […]

Community Development Field

The Promise of Sustainable Design

I think if there is a silver lining in the foreclosure crisis it is this: more Americans are recognizing the critical importance of quality, affordable rental housing.

Community Development Field

Use Planning to Filter and Focus

As a population that knows how to both “think” and “do,” leaders in community development naturally take interest in tackling the various components of urban revitalization. From strategic planning to […]

Community Control

It’s All About Choice

Rather than just developing homes for sale, City of Lakes CLT lets buyers pick houses to bring into the land trust.

Financial System

More Mission

The Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Banks is a marked success, and should be a model for expanding the system’s investment in economic development.

Community Control

CLTs Go Commercial

The idea of turning the community land trust model into an economic development tool is attracting growing interest, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how it would work.


How Do You Choose?

How do community developers whose goals include neighborhood revitalization identify which businesses or other non-residential tenants (library, healthcare center) are likely to create the most positive momentum in a given area? It’s certainly more art than science. We asked a few long-time community developers for their thoughts.

Community Development Field

Filling the Lending Vacuum

As credit tightens and higher and higher numbers of commercial real estate loans enter default, CDCs are stepping up to fill the financing gap in economic development deals from which conventional lenders have been retreating.


Conrad Egan

What do Saul Alinsky, Students for a Democratic Society, HUD, and the Housing and Community Development Department of Fairfax County, Virginia, have in common? Conrad Egan. Over his five-decade career, […]

Community Development Field

Housing for Families, Not Just Households

It’s time to do away with a mortgage-industrial complex that turns “families” into “households” with income earners, credit scores, and debt ratios.


Bank Fees of a Different Kind

A proposed bank accountability bill in California that had received considerable national attention has suffered something of a setback, but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of it. Assembly […]