And The World Keeps Changing

Twenty-five years ago, in the midst of a growing tenant movement, I chaired a meeting at Pat Morrissy’s old wood frame house in East Orange, New Jersey to discuss creating a national housing publication. So began Shelterforce. Nixon had just been reelected. George McGovern’s “new politics” alliance of the poor, black and white upper middle […]

Shifting Fortunes

The history of housing in this country could well be capsuled as a story of unintended consequences. Twenty-five years ago, we were beginning to deal with the effects of earlier practices: The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) affirmative advocacy of neighborhoods segregated by race and income and the impact on inner cities of the dramatic expansion […]

We Build the Road as We Travel

Twenty five years ago, Chicago’s west side had suffered rapid racial change, disinvestment, five riots (quelled by National Guard troops), and disintegration of community institutions. Earlier national efforts such as the War on Poverty and Model Cities had suffered demise and defunding, and little hope existed of major infusions of government dollars. The 150 mostly […]

Time to Remove the Rose-Colored Glasses

The community development movement has gone from advocating for social change to narrowly providing housing and economic development. As the movement returns to a broader agenda, can it overcome resistance to funding organizing and lack of accountability? Though outwardly positive and peaceful, the community development movement has been marked from the beginning by sharp philosophical […]

Twenty-Five Years of Building Power and Capacity

The first issue of Shelterforce was published during an era of reaction and retrenchment after a period of profound social movement among poor people. The civil rights movement in the South and then the northern cities, the mobilization of Mexican-Americans throughout the Southwest, the militancy among Native Americans, and the Poor People’s March on Washington […]

Building Assets to Fight Poverty

As asset-building policy continues to expand, inclusion of the poor is the greatest challenge. Homeownership, as the fundamental American Dream, should be at the center of asset-building policy and community development.

Twin Pursuits

We know by now that effective community development requires more than just improving housing or neighborhood conditions. It involves community building: strengthening voluntary institutions and making democracy work through direct citizen participation, both goals that depend on effective leadership. But physical development work tends to crowd out these other community building initiatives. In fact, some […]

Everything Old is New Again

With this issue, we celebrate Shelterforce’s 25th anniversary. Shelterforce has come far during this time, from a small quarterly newspaper to a glossy bi-monthly. Unfortunately, the problems that made Shelterforce necessary in 1975 remain today. For those of us working in low-income neighborhoods, the clearest problems face us as we walk down the streets: dilapidated […]

Shelter Shorts

News Flash: Segregation in Public Housing! Almost half a century after the Fair Housing Act, it has finally become unacceptable for the agency charged with enforcing it to allow segregation in its own buildings. HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo announced on March 23rd that HUD was taking measures against public housing’s segregation by race and class, […]

Anniversary Fundraising

The Center for Anti-Violence Education in Brooklyn, New York works to end violence against women and children through community education programs, self-defense courses and martial arts training. In 1993, we raised nearly $25,000 from individual donors and events. However, for our 20th anniversary in 1994 we set an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 from individual […]

Using Information to Confront Corporate Power

In 1991 the United Steelworkers of America, locked in a bitter labor dispute with Ravenswood Aluminum Co., decided to extend the battle beyond the firm’s plants in West Virginia. They sent several investigators to Switzerland to research the links between Ravenswood Aluminum and fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich, who had fled the United States in […]

New Markets Initiative Expected This Year

One of the major community development initiatives expected to move in this Congressional session is the President’s New Markets Tax Credit program (NMTC). The New Markets Tax Credit is designed to encourage $15 billion in private sector equity investments for business growth in low- and moderate-income rural and urban communities. How would NMTC work? If […]

Community Development Legislative News

H.R 1776 Seeks to Expand Homeownership On Thursday, April 6, H.R. 1776, a far-reaching and far-ranging bill with more than a few provisions communities should be concerned about, passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 417-8. Prior to passage, the bill, also known as the “American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 1999,” […]