Interview with Cushing Dolbeare

After 50 years working as an advocate for low-income housing, Cushing Dolbeare says she is finally committed to working on just housing for a while. In 1974 Dolbeare founded the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). She ran that organization from 1977-84 and 1993-94, and is now chair emeritus. She began her housing career in […]

LA Story – The Los Angeles Coalition that Made a $100 Million Housing Trust Fund Happen

January 2002 was not an auspicious time for launching expensive social initiatives in California’s largest city. Still reeling from September 11, Los Angeles faced a $200 million deficit. Mayor James Hahn had imposed a hiring freeze and 10 percent budget cutbacks. And yet, there was Hahn, on January 17, announcing the establishment of the nation’s […]

Building Blocks (Block Group Organizing)

Ralph Quinn was ticked off. Things in his Utica, New York neighborhood were getting intolerable. His high school step-daughter was propositioned seven times by local prostitutes while waiting for the school bus one morning. The house next to his was literally crumbling – bricks falling from the chimney had hit his house – but was […]

Running on Faith (Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives)

In the latter part of January 2001 the phrase “faith-based” seemed to be on everyone’s lips. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) had just been unveiled, and another executive order established centers within five cabinet departments – Justice, Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development – to […]

Back to Basics

Times aren’t easy for housing advocates. The HUD budget, like so many other domestic programs, has been treated as expendable in favor of boosting the military. Despite proclamations from various economic wizards that the recession has bottomed out and recovery is well underway, those living at the margins remain vulnerable. (The rising tide of prosperity, […]

Organize! A media campaign on the value of affordable housing

Advocates for affordable housing and a high-powered public relations firm make an unlikely team, at first glance. But that’s exactly who teamed up over the past couple years to create a statewide media campaign in Minnesota aimed at improving public opinion of affordable housing. In 1999, the Minneapolis Foundation announced a competition to award funds […]

Using Special Events for Fundraising

Special events or fundraising benefits expand the reputation of an organization, provide participants an interesting time, and sometimes make money. Because of their variety and flexibility, special events are excellent strategies for acquiring, retaining, or upgrading donors. Organizations serious about building a broad base of individual donors need at least one or two events annually […]

The New Urban Leaders (by Joyce Ladner)

The New Urban Leaders, by Joyce Ladner. Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2001. 135 pp. $22.95. Kent Amos was an IBM executive who, with his wife, raised at-risk foster children at home. In the mid 1980’s he decided take this calling further. He quit his comfortable job to form the Urban Family Institute, which is […]

Time for a Common Sense Policy on Homelessness

On any given day, at least 800,000 people are homeless in the United States, including about 200,000 children in homeless families. Over the course of an average year in the late 1990s, at least 2.3 million and perhaps as many as 3.5 million people experienced homelessness. This approximates 1 percent of the total U.S. population, […]