Building a Home and a Future

Elsie Robinson once worked as a cashier at a Salvation Army store during the day and as a stocker at the local Wal-Mart in the evening. It was a tiring schedule but there are few well-paying jobs to choose from in Duluth, MN. “I was sleepy from working the night before, unloading pallets of merchandise,” […]

Home Girls in the House

Girls participating in a WiCC-sponsored Summer Youth project making picnic tablesPhoto courtesy of WTHC Women in Construction at first attracted older women but soon the project drew interest from younger women fresh out of high school, too. Michelle LeBeau admits to skepticism at first. “We were prepared for women in their late 20s to 40s, […]

Strategies For Survival

When the SUMMECH Community Development Corporation of Atlanta lost its development director in early 2003, the organization was left with several projects in the predevelopment stage and little capacity to move forward. In an environment with diminishing resources, adding staff overhead was not the best alternative. Instead, SUMMECH decided to partner with another CDC to […]

New Beginnings

When Barbara Pesante lost her sight five years ago after a staph infection injured her optic nerve, she tried unsuccessfully to obtain assistance in her homeland, Puerto Rico. Only after moving to Florida did she begin receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which qualified her for job search assistance through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). However, Barbara […]

Blocking Crime: How Block Clubs are Saving Chicago’s Neighborhoods

Several agencies came together in 1996 to clear drug dealers from the corners and vacant lots in the 800 block of North Harding Avenue. The effort, dubbed the “Super Block Project,” involved the city of Chicago, police officers from the 11th District, the West Humboldt Park Family and Community Development Council and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, a nonprofit agency that helps poor families with home ownership.

What the Movies Miss About Community Development

After a recent viewing of the movie Duplex I was reminded of how little the popular cinema helps us understand urban and housing issues, gentrification, rent control and the forces that make up what we call community development. Duplex takes place in a Brooklyn neighborhood soon to go through the real estate class and race […]

When CDCs Do “More”

For CDCs to stay alive and relevant they must diversify funding and activities, and keep a running dialogue with their communities, among other things. Bill Rohe, Rachel Bratt and Protip Biswas made these points in an article in our May/June issue that examined four CDCs that failed. But should every CDC survive? In a recent […]

Shelter Shorts

Nothing We Can Do The reach of Georgia’s Fair Lending Act was shortened considerably when the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency exempted nearly 2,500 national banks from compliance. Comptroller John D. Hawke Jr. reasoned that the federal law that gives national banks the power to determine their interest rates and fees cannot […]

Finding Funding Online: The Internet as a Fundraising Guide

At the beginning of 2003, nearly 81 percent of the 100 largest foundations and more than 1,600 of the 59,000 independent foundations provided information on the Internet. With more private foundations and charitable organizations creating a Web presence, the opportunities to find funding sources online have increased. Many foundations are just beginning to use their […]

Tracking the Homeless: An Overview of HMIS

In Massachusetts a few years ago, data from homeless shelters revealed that a majority of residents had entered the system almost directly from foster care, prison or hospitals. As a result, then-governor Paul Cellucci committed to zero tolerance for discharge from government institutions into homelessness. In New York City, a recent assessment of a large, […]

New Jersey’s Campaign Against Lead

The effects of lead poisoning on a child’s physical and emotional development and cognitive ability are well known. An investigation that ran two years ago in the Star-Ledger of New Jersey estimated that 7,000 children throughout the state – in cities and suburbs – suffered impairment, and another 30,000 untested children under the age of […]

Telling the Community Development Story

Comeback Cities, by Paul Grogan and Tony Proscio. Westview Press (www.westviewpress.com). 2000. 285 pp. $17 (paperback). House by House, Block by Block, by Alexander von Hoffman. Oxford University Press (www.oup.com). 2003. 320 pp. $30 (hardcover). If one sign that a movement has come of age is that people have started to write books about it, […]

When CDCs Do "More"

For CDCs to stay alive and relevant they must diversify funding and activities, and keep a running dialogue with their communities, among other things. Bill Rohe, Rachel Bratt and Protip Biswas made these points in an article in our May/June issue that examined four CDCs that failed. But should every CDC survive? In a recent […]