Community Action Agencies

Born amid 1960s strife, nearly 1,000 Community Action Agencies fight poverty all over America today. While CAAs deliver essential services, a renewed focus on citizen involvement and collaboration is needed to win the ongoing war on poverty. When Project Now Community Action Agency in Rock Island, Illinois, tried to convince the city to preserve and […]

National Congress for Commuity Economic Development (NCCED)

More than three decades after the community development field began to grow by leaps and bounds, community-based development organizations are still taking on the same challenges they did in the 1960s. Persistent poverty, neglected infrastructure, and a widening economic gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” are enormous issues for these small nonprofits to tackle […]

CDC Networks and Intermediary Organizations

As the community development industry has grown, networks, associations, and intermediaries have developed to support CDCs and other community-based organizations. Some provide funding, some offer training, and others provide direct technical assistance. They all provide forums for local organizations to learn from others’ experiences, and share their knowledge and skills. Brief descriptions of four organizations […]

Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown, by Roberta Brandes Gratz

In The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way (2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1994), Roberta Brandes Gratz wrote about urban rebirth from the bottom up, with a particular focus on successful community-based regeneration efforts around the country. In that book, Gratz coined the phrase Urban Husbandry to convey the incremental, multi-faceted process […]

One Hundred Issues Later: Battles Won, War Goes On

One hundred issues and 23 years ago, a group of tenant activists, community organizers, and legal aid attorneys came together to begin a new publication – Shelterforce – to provide information and a national forum for housing justice activists. Back then, as today, poor people in urban and rural areas did not own their own […]

Shelter Shorts

Self-Help CDFI Creates New Market for Low-Income Mortgages Fannie Mae, the largest banking organization in America, may soon be rewriting its lending criteria, bringing homeownership to hundreds of thousands of low-wealth people, thanks to the work of Self-Help of North Carolina, an innovative community development financial institution (CDFI). In 1994, Self-Help began the Home Loan […]

Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition Wins Railroad Jobs

In 1997, residents of Los Angeles area neighborhoods in the path of what will be the largest public/private rail transportation project in the country learned of the impact the project would have on their neighborhoods – in the form of noise, traffic, and other inconveniences. A handful of community-based organizations (CBOs), along with the Center […]

Raising Money on the World Wide Web

Anyone who knows me will probably laugh at the idea of me writing an article about using the “web” to raise money. I am one of the least technical people around, and have cruised around the web only a handful of times. Finding it about as interesting as watching grass grow, I am probably missing […]

Encouraging Middle-Class Homeownership in NYC: a review of New Life at Ground Zero

New Life at Ground Zero: New York, Homeownership, and the Future of American Cities. by Charles J. Orlebecke. Albany, NY: The Rockefeller Institute Press, 1997. 267 pages. $42.95 (hard cover) “Public-Private Partnerships” has become a popular buzzword over the past two decades. Whether they are successful, who pays, and who benefits have been the subjects […]

Homes and Hands

How do community land trusts (CLTs) work? Can they be created in small as well as large communities? Do they require building or rehabbing on a single site or scattered sites? Can various forms of tenancy, such as co-op or rental, be part of a CLT? This excellent video, produced by the Women’s Educational Media […]

How to Make People Count

Guess how many beans are in the jar and win. How many times have you entered such a contest, even paid money to guess? Well, suppose that there are 435 different jars; that you have a limited amount of time; that the true answer is unknown; that some of the beans are hidden; that your […]

Housing and Community Development Legislative News

Housing Reform Bills After a year of trying to reach consensus on major public and assisted housing reform, House and Senate staff are hoping to complete this legislation by the end of September. The House bill, H.R. 2, and the Senate bill, S. 462, propose significant changes to how federal public and assisted housing dollars […]

Andrew Cuomo

Perhaps the most well-known secretary since HUD’s inception, Secretary Cuomo has made much of his efforts to rebuild HUD and restore Congressional and public faith in the department. A year into Cuomo’s term, Congress and the media are slowly beginning to show signs of acknowledging that housing and urban development issues are worth at least a small degree of attention.