Learning from Adversity

When East Side Community Investments, Inc. experienced financial crisis and ultimately failed, it was a wake up call to all who care about community development corporations and the work that they do. (See Shelterforce #104.) East Side had been one of the biggest and most productive CDCs in the country. Previous studies of CDCs focused […]

Anatomy of a Merger

The merger of two nonprofit housing development corporations in Nashua, New Hampshire, provides an opportunity to examine one path these organizations can take to increase the odds of survival.

Can This Collaboration Be Saved?

If you’ve been part of a collaboration that really worked, you know how powerful that can be. You were part of a group that accomplished important things together. In the process, you developed strong new working relationships for yourself and your organization. You helped to create a community climate in which people see that it […]

Enraging the Right

It’s not everyday that a powerful right-wing think tank takes aim at a grassroots organization – after all, there are many groups working in the trenches on behalf of the poor. But not all of them have the track record of ACORN. That’s why City Journal, the influential journal of the conservative Manhattan Institute, accorded […]

Gentrification with a Twist

It’s a familiar story, at least on the surface: A neighborhood in decline is “discovered” by people with money, who snap up beautiful but run-down houses for a song, driving up prices and displacing longtime residents of lesser means. But what happens when the residents are working-class African-Americans – and the gentrifiers are themselves an […]

Fighting the Fight Again

When Paul Veneski broke into a Brooklyn firehouse and chained himself to a fire truck in May, he was following in his father’s footsteps. Almost 30 years ago, Adam Veneski led the takeover of the same firehouse after New York City threatened to close it during the city’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s. The firehouse […]

Shelter Shorts

Comfortably Numb Rocker Has Feelings for Homeless The glamorous lifestyle of rock stars can seem profligate, but sacrificing a $5.9 million London home for charity is still a magnanimous gesture. That is what Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour did after watching a video about Common Ground, the New York-based nonprofit. Gilmour sold the property and […]

Housing Set-Asides: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In August 2002, Kevin Jackson, director of the Chicago Rehab Network, sent a letter out to network members and supporters to introduce a campaign to win an affordable housing set-aside – a requirement that all private developments over a certain size include a specific percentage of affordable housing. “We only need look west to Colorado […]

And the Brand Plays On

Take this true/false test: Our organization understands the value of raising the visibility of its brand among clients, constituents, policy-makers and funders. Audiences we’d like to reach clearly understand who we are and what we do. Our brand generates a positive feeling about our organization to the point that people trust and respect what we […]

Helping Consumers Become “Swindle-Proof”

The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Manufactured Homes and Land: How to find a reputable dealer and negotiate a fair price on the best kept secret in American housing, by John Grissim. Rainshadow Publications, 2003. 235 pages. $19.95 (Paperback). Finally, consumers have a detailed map of the manufactured home marketplace, and housing advocates get a front-line […]

Saying No to “Ney”

Representative Bob Ney (R-OH) has introduced HR 833, “The Responsible Lending Act,” under the guise of protecting consumers from predatory lending. But the bill would actually exacerbate the problem by weakening existing federal law. The Ney bill invalidates all state and local predatory lending laws, including those that afford additional protections. Lenders have clamored for […]

At Home in a Changing World

Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era, by Thad Williamson, David Imbroscio and Gar Alperovitz. Taylor & Francis, Inc., 2003. 412 pp. $29.95 (Hardcover). For community development devotees interested in connecting local and global issues – and who have the stomach for all the details – here is a book for […]