view of the Indianapolis skyline

After the Fall

Is community development simply becoming a trickier and more competitive business? CDCs once had free run of the landscape of distressed communities. Today, competition to redevelop in these communities is intensifying.

Dennis West on ECI’s Rise and Fall

Did Eastside Community Investment push the envelope too far? We did a whole lot of things right for a long time. In spite of what happened, there’s a pretty remarkable legacy. The difference between success and failure is a very thin line. And it’s getting more acute all the time. It’s becoming a very competitive […]

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective CDCs

1 CDC leaders must be aware of their own limitations and recognize they’re responsible for developing staff and building institutions. Any entrepreneurial venture – not just a CDC – can become a prisoner of its own vision. To make sure the vision doesn’t outrun a CDC’s capacity, the CDC’s top staff, board, and funders need […]

Boosting the Capacity of CDCs

Despite documentable growth in the number and capability of community development corporations (CDCs) across the country, many observers of the field still believe that limitations in the abilities of individual groups hinder the industry as a whole. These observers suggest that problems among a handful of the older and larger CDCs are symptomatic of an […]

New Hope for Public Housing?

America’s hulking public housing towers have provided a shifting symbol through the years. When built, they symbolized a generous system, giving comfort to Americans who needed help finding shelter. They gradually transformed into the symbol of urban decay, and President Reagan stood in front of abandoned towers declaring that somehow the buildings themselves were responsible […]

CDCs, Social Capital, and Housing Quality

In a deteriorated section of Brooklyn, New York, one building stands out on the block. It is newly renovated and better kept than surrounding properties. The CDC that owns it did a thorough renovation financed in part by special funding for rehousing families from homeless shelters. These funds transformed previously derelict apartments into clean, modern, […]

From Movement to Industry and Back Again

A remarkable thing has happened over the past three decades. Throughout the country, in urban and rural communities, nonprofit community-based development organizations (CBDOs) such as CDCs, faith-based groups, and community action agencies have stepped forward to undo the damage done by bad government policies, the cruel and greedy hand of the market, and the remaining […]

Shelter Shorts

Landlord Must Accept Section 8 The New Jersey Supreme Court said in March that landlords cannot refuse to participate in the Section 8 program if one of their tenants becomes eligible for it. The court, in a unanimous decision, said Franklin Tower One, L.L.C., which owns an 18-unit housing development in West New York, must […]

Ten Common Sense Ways to Fill Your Development Funding Gap

One of the most challenging stages of any affordable housing project is securing the final subsidies that make the project financially feasible. The difficulty lies with the fact that at this stage all the usual grant sources and government subsidies have been exhausted, yet a gap remains. The following is a summary of my favorite […]

Remaking Public Housing

Charter Oak Terrace: Life, Death and Rebirth of a Public Housing Project, David Radcliffe. 194 pp. Hartford, CT: Southside Media, 1998. As housing authorities across the country attempt to transform public housing developments into the working class communities they were at their inception, the question looming large in the minds of many affordable housing advocates […]

Strategy Shift Yields Jobs from Marriott

A local organization affiliated with National People’s Action, a 27-year-old coalition of grassroots neighborhood groups, won a public meeting with Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard in February. One of the assumptions behind the meeting was that if the superintendent himself agreed to the group’s demands, residents of the group’s turf would get an improvement in […]

1,000,000 Homes at Risk

Sweeping changes in national housing policy have put hundreds of thousands of public and federally assisted (Section 8) housing units at risk. These drastic policy changes – driven by congressional budget cutting mandates and devolution – will dramatically reduce the size of the affordable housing stock in the next decade. These public and Section 8 […]

Community Development Legislative News

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition President Submits HUD’s FY2000 Request The Clinton administration submitted its FY2000 budget request to Congress on February 1. The FY2000 HUD budget emphasizes community development programs, getting more capital into underserved communities through increases in current programs, and the creation of a handful of small programs. Of the […]