Shelter Shorts: Community Development News

Supreme Court Family Values If you live in public housing and a member of your family is using drugs – whether you know about it or not – you could soon find yourself on the street. The Supreme Court ruled in March that a federal drug law allows for the eviction of public housing tenants […]

Target: Problem Properties

Photo Courtesy of HANDS, Inc. For 12 years the building at 151 Chapman Street (above) stood vacant on a prominent corner, a menacing landmark that attracted squatters and generated no taxes for the hard-pressed city of Orange, New Jersey. Many nearby residents saw it as an omen of what was to come, not just for […]

So You Want to Be a Developer: Community Organizing Groups Consider Housing Development

The second week of October 2001 was a busy one for Nobel Neighbors, a community organizing group in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. It organized 30 residents to attend a rally against predatory lending, met with HUD to discuss the management of abandoned housing in the area, and worked on beautification projects, social services, violence […]

Ten Things to Consider Before Getting into Real Estate Development

1. Check the fit: Values. Have a frank discussion about the values and practices that are most important to your group. Which of those are likely to be challenged by your involvement in this project? How will you address those challenges when they arise? Can you imagine moving from being an advocate for a resident […]

Going the Other Way: Adding Organizing to Development

Some groups move in the opposite direction from Nobel Neighbors, starting out with a development focus and adding in organizing for the same reasons Nobel is adding development – visibility, empowerment, credibility. The Little Village CDC on Chicago’s primarily Mexican southwest side has yet to do a development project. Although it was formed specifically to […]

The Spirit of Rural Community Development, by Nelda K. Pearson

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia everyone knows the saying, “You can tell when times are hard. The gardens get bigger.” Although dependence on home-grown food is not as common as it was even a decade ago, anyone who lives here can see other clear signs of economic distress by what people are […]

Over My Dead Body

In the weeks after September 11, there was much talk of a revival of popular respect for government, of a renewed sense of public purpose. Part of what brought us together in those dark hours was fear and anger, but something deeper was also at work. For one thing, there were the firefighters. For a […]

Shelter Shorts: Community Development News

Big Victory in L.A. Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn has unveiled a plan calling for the creation of a $100 million trust fund to build affordable housing in Los Angeles. Hahn’s endorsement is the culmination of a three-and-a-half year campaign by housing advocates to establish a stable funding pool for housing in the nation’s […]

Fundraising: Federal Funding for Community Economic Development

Seeking federal funds for community economic development involves dealing with constantly changing sources, new programs and the need to think creatively. Office of Community Services Some of the old alphabet soup of Federal programs are still around but are extremely competitive. Arguably the best existing source is the Discretionary Program of the Office of Community […]

Place Matters (Dreier, Mollenkopf, Swanstrom)

Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century, by Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf and Todd Swanstrom. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2001. 334 pp. This book represents another attempt to argue for a national urban policy, but this time the authors urge a “metropolitan” approach that will simultaneously address the needs of suburbs that are […]

Housing Needs a Champion

HUD budget woes are nothing new. Federal budget authority for low-income housing assistance took a deep plunge in the early 1980s, and ever since, success has been measured largely by how much damage to housing programs could be prevented. Despite major housing legislation in 1990 that, among other things, created the HOME program, federal investment […]

Organizing with the State on Your Side

In California, municipalities are required by law to plan for their fair share of affordable housing. Has this put housing advocates out of a job? Not quite. There’s a big difference between a general state mandate and solving the housing crisis. But the requirement has provided a way for Bay Area housing activists to get […]