Arena Politics in Newark

Three Newark city council members made all the usual arrangements to organize a March 2 press conference to announce their opposition to the city’s downtown arena proposal: They reserved the council chambers, stacked the audience with supporters, invited local TV and newspaper reporters and crafted a highly critical press release.They did not, however, invite Mayor […]

House Of Cards

When Mel Martinez announced his candidacy for the Senate from his home state of Florida, it was inevitable that he would give a positive spin to his record as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Martinez is claiming that on his watch HUD successfully promoted minority homeownership and faith-based initiatives, and […]

The Housing Bubble

It is widely believed that homeownership is the best way for low-income families to accumulate wealth and enter the middle class. There are reasons for questioning the wisdom of this view in general – many low-income homebuyers find that they are unable to hold onto their home due to job loss or a change in […]

Economic Rights are Human Rights

Families with nowhere else to go often wind up staying at a modest row house on a side street off Kensington Avenue, a downtrodden, drug-ridden thoroughfare that gives this section of North Philadelphia its name. Carolyn Caesar, a 44-year-old single mother and grandmother who fled an abusive boyfriend in New Jersey, moved into the front […]

The Home Team

In a new book, Root Shock, Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove proposes that displacement is the problem that the 21st Century must resolve. Her definition of root shock is “the traumatic stress reaction to the destruction of all or part of one’s emotional ecosystem.” Dr. Fullilove, a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia […]

Shelter Shorts

From the Frontline to the Sideline (of society) The federal government reported that veterans make up 9 percent of the U.S. population but 23 percent of the homeless population. Male veterans make up 33 percent of all homeless men and are 1.3 times more likely to become homeless than non-veterans (women veterans 3.6 times more […]

Don’t Overlook Your Most Valuable Assets

One of your staff is attending a party unrelated to your organization’s business when an excellent fundraising opportunity presents itself. She is among a group of strangers, and not surprisingly, everyone is fetching for conversation. The inevitable ice breaker is posed: “So, what do you do for a living?” The ensuing conversation can either be […]

The Joy (and Angst) of Organizing

Dynamics of Organizing: Building Power by Developing the Human Spirit, by Shel Trapp. (Self published.) 2003. 144 pp. $20 (paperback.) Available from the National Training and Information Center, 312-243-3035. There was a time when aspiring writers – at least male writers – thought that producing great literature demanded that you live large like Ernest Hemingway […]

Dominic Moulden

When I first became involved in the community development world, I immersed myself in the literature to learn as much as I could about the field and its players. I scoured journals, reports, studies and articles to get up to speed. I noticed right away that some organizations, individuals, and some neighborhoods are held up […]