The Power of the Community Press

When grassroots groups in the North Lawndale community of Chicago protested the lack of local labor in the reconstruction of an elevated subway line, the North Lawndale Community News made sure that those who weren’t there knew that it happened. The protest, coupled with the coverage, resulted in a change in policy to recruit workers […]

Millennial Misfire: the Millennial Housing Commission Report

It’s telling that the nation’s major news media virtually ignored the Millennial Housing Commission’s May 30 press conference and the release of its report, and hardly anything was in the next day’s news accounts. David Broder wrote a Washington Post column a week later, lamenting the lack of attention to the report and the issue […]

Landlords Blacklist Activist Tenants

“You can’t get an apartment if you were evicted,” said the broker before she hung up on me. “The reason doesn’t matter.” I had already been refused two apartments because my landlord had booted me. I appealed the case in court, but lost. After the decision was handed down, we had precious little time to […]

Beyond the Fringe: Predatory Financial Services

When the Maryland Center for Community Development (MCCD) began to examine the financial services available to low-income people statewide in 1999, its goal was to learn more about why individuals choose limited-option, high-priced services, and to explore alternatives that can be implemented or directed by nonprofit, community-based organizations. Ultimately, we wanted to find ways to […]

Stepping Up the Pressure on Payday Lenders

Payday loans – one- or two-week consumer loans with exorbitant interest rates – are the antithesis of sound community banking. But banks that should know better are affiliating with payday lenders, risking their own safety and soundness, and neglecting their CRA obligations to respond to legitimate deposit and credit needs. The Office of the Comptroller […]

Livable and Affordable: Good design in affordable housing

Although many developers consider “good design” an unnecessary frill, it can contribute to affordability. In fact, poor design can compromise the effort to address the needs of the 30 to 50 million Americans who lack decent and safe affordable housing. The cornerstone of affordable housing design is containing and even reducing construction costs and life-cycle […]

Old Story – New Twist

Thankfully, it’s not 1991 all over again. Despite similarities and some setbacks, there are hopeful signs ahead. Most of our readers know that the National Housing Trust Fund Act has received a tremendous amount of support from individuals, organizations, and legislators from around the country. As the Act made its way through the legislative process, […]

Shelter Shorts: Community Development News

Down But Not Out The campaign for a National Housing Trust Fund suffered a setback in July, when the House Financial Services Committee voted 35-34 to reject the establishment of the fund as an amendment to its omnibus housing bill. In its stead, the committee went with an amendment that offers substantially less funding, and […]

High Stakes for Public Housing: Organizing Public Housing Residents

The Millennial Housing Commission (MHC) report represents stage two in an agenda to give increased decision-making powers to local public housing agencies, and target federal assistance for public housing away from the very poor. Some of the commission’s proposals were foreshadowed in the 1998 Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, and call for less regulation […]

Nonprofit Enterprise

For someone who’s spent 20 years trying to right the wrongs created by our economic system, I’ve come to a startling discovery: Commerce can be used to create social change. Dozens of progressive nonprofits are developing and selling goods and services that support and extend their missions. In doing so, they are discovering new strategies […]

Boom – The Sound of Eviction

Boom – The Sound of Eviction (96 minutes, 2002), a documentary directed by Francine Cavanaugh, A. Mark Liiv, and Adams Wood. Individuals $20 donation + $3 postage; institutions $200 + $3 postage. Whispered Media, P.O. Box 40130, San Francisco, CA 94140. www.boomthemovie.org. For anyone involved in tenant and community organizing over the last three decades, […]

FHA, Turning an American Dream into a Neighborhood Nightmare

Neighborhood leaders know that it is impossible to truly revitalize communities without solving the severe housing abandonment and foreclosure problems plaguing urban areas. It is this premise that led National People’s Action (NPA) to embark on a three year campaign during the Clinton Administration to reform HUD’s Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) single-family mortgage programs. NPA’s […]