Has Homeownership Been Oversold?

Discussion about homeownership almost always seems to begin with some reference to owning one’s own home being a part of “The American Dream.” Homeownership has come to stand for wealth, stability and civic participation. As such, many view homeownership not merely as something for low-income families to aspire to, but as their ticket out of […]

Building Assets with Permanently Affordable Housing

Since 1984, the Burlington Community Land Trust (BCLT) in Burlington, VT, has developed and sold nearly 250 single-family houses and condominiums to first-time homebuyers. All of these owner-occupied homes have been subject to permanent controls over their occupancy and resale to maintain their availability and affordability for low-income households far into the future. The first […]

Section 8 Is Broken

The Patterson Park neighborhood, on the East Side of Baltimore, stands perched precariously between renewal and collapse. A mixed-income population, almost evenly divided between white and black, lives here in nearly identical blocks of rowhouses, clad in red brick and drab formstone. Some of the poorer blocks look ragged, and residents complain about drugs and […]

Building Wealth

Community development corporations have attracted billions of dollars of public and private funds to revitalize urban neighborhoods and rural communities. But global and national economic policies have undermined these efforts, and poverty has increased in many low-income communities throughout the United States. The challenge for CDC practitioners is to link community economic development and wealth […]

HUD’s Exit Strategy?

“All of the truly needy will not get vouchers. I’ll say that in a minute,” the HUD secretary bluntly told editors of the Washington Post while also acknowledging that the administration would like to get completely out of the business of subsiding housing for the poor. Of course, the secretary who said that was Samuel […]

Shelter Shorts

Dubious Distinction Homeowners in the Bronx and Brooklyn – mostly low- and moderate-income families – pay more of their income on housing than people anywhere else in the country. The two New York City boroughs topped the list of US counties ranked by the percentage of single-family homeowners spending at least 35 percent of their […]

Winning a War, But Losing the Battle

Victory in a tenant organizing campaign is usually defined by improving conditions for the tenants involved – an egregious repair problem is fixed, landlord interactions improve, or the building changes hands to a better owner. For the tenants of the Lake in the Woods apartment complex in Louisville, KY, however, victory has been a little […]

The United Way’s New Business Plan for Community Development

These cannot be fun times at the United Way of America (UW). An astonishing scandal at the National Capital chapter, covering Washington, DC, and the northern Virginia suburbs, continues to reverberate through the organization. One UW chapter after another is revealing a tendency to double-count some fundraising, resulting in problems calculating true administrative costs. Many […]

How a City Was Changed Forever

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco, by Chester Hartman with Sarah Carnochan. Revised and Updated Edition. University of California Press, 2002. 432 pp. $24.95 (Paperback) The San Francisco of 2003 is a very different city from the one that greeted visitors 30 years ago. This book is a tremendous help in understanding why. […]

Local Lessons for Legislators

The new legislative season is usually a time of optimism for housing advocates, many of whom believe that the right words, coupled with the proper legislative and public relations strategy, will finally enable the powers that be to “see the light.” As Jerry Jones pointed out in these pages last month (Shelterforce #126), there is […]