EZ’er Said Than Done

The Empowerment Zone Initiative is becoming a model program for community revitalization. Will these programs lead to real community empowerment or will they become just a collection of tax incentives for businesses? The initiative’s experience to date offers clues and warnings.

Learning the Ropes

At first, John Taylor, education coordinator for Chicago Commons Employment Training Center, had doubts about the idea of partnering with a local bank for a financial education program. The Center’s students are primarily women who are transitioning from welfare to the work force – most of them have not had previous relationships with financial institutions. […]

Rekindling Hope in the American Dream

The East Baltimore neighborhood where Bette Ramsey lived with her adult daughter and 10-year-old grandson was a war zone, complete with drug dealers, gunfire, and crack houses. The Ramseys were desperate to live in a better environment. Through their church they learned of an outreach program in Baltimore County that helped families like theirs buy […]

George Knight

After nearly 25 years with Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC), and ten years as its executive director, George Knight is leaving NRC this September. Knight has been a tireless and outspoken advocate for the poor, from his roots as a community organizer in 1960s Chicago, where he successfully organized communities against redlining, to his years with […]

Homeowners, and Tenants Too

Coachella Valley’s 200 mobile home parks provide the only available housing for many agricultural workers in Riverside County, California. But living in the parks, which often lack electrical, water, and sewage systems, can be a hazardous proposition. Faulty wiring in one park caused two fatal accidents in 1998. The county responded by filing lawsuits against […]

Empowerment – From Rhetoric to Reality?

At its outset, the community development field was about resident empowerment. From the War on Poverty to the forging of the community development corporation industry, the goal has been – at least on paper – to arm residents with the knowledge and skills necessary to guide their neighborhood’s destiny through participation in and engagement with […]

Shelter Shorts

You can lead housing to the candidates, but… On June 24th, attempting to draw Vice-President Al Gore’s attention to housing issues, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) placed a house in front of the New York State Democratic Committee headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York City. IAF has been asking Al Gore and George W. […]

Money Doesn’t Always Win

“You know, LeRoy, money always wins.” At those words, LeRoy Lemos sprang into action. Lemos, a community activist and director of the PODER Project in Denver, Colorado, was organizing against a proposed expansion by the Auraria campus of University of Colorado-Denver (UCD) into the La Alma/Lincoln Park community, also known as the Westside. The wounds […]

Finding Ways to Cover Administrative Costs

This fall, at a philanthropy conference at the White House, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said emphatically that if the philanthropic sector was serious about making the world a better place, it had to provide more core operating support to nonprofits. CDCs nationwide wholeheartedly agree. “We are drowning in loan money, but very few people […]

Community Development Legislative News

New Bill to Establish National Affordable Housing Trust Fund  Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) introduced S. 2997, the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2000, on July 27. Stressing the severe lack of affordable housing for extremely low-income people, Senator Kerry stated, “What I am doing today is standing before the nation and saying […]

Neighborhood Principles For Smart Growth

Across the country, Americans have become frustrated with the way their communities are growing. People are troubled by increasing gridlock, vanishing farmland and open space, and a loss of a sense of community. In response, many planners and policies are promoting “smart growth” – growth and development that is more fiscally sound, environmentally responsible, human […]

Urban Decline and the Global Economy

Mollie’s Job : A Story of Life and Work on the Global Assembly Line, by William M. Adler, Scribner, May 2000. 352pp. $27.50. To understand the link between urban decay and globalization, start with William Adler’s Mollie’s Job. Adler tells the story of Mollie James, a Black woman who migrated to Paterson, NJ from the […]

Remembering a Housing Hero

Houser: The Life and Work of Catherine Bauer by H. Peter Oberlander and Eva Newbrun. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 1999. 320 pp. $85 cloth, $29.95 paper. (Paperback available in U.S. from University of Washington Press at $22.95.) Catherine Bauer was a hero, both romantically and practically. In her romantic life, she remained true […]