Renovation or Ruin

The notion is counterintuitive, even subversive, and it’s dividing activists involved in building affordable housing: Could it be that the nation’s largest program to fund construction and renovation of housing for the poor – the low-income housing tax credit program – is racially biased and is blighting many of the neighborhoods where it is being […]

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

Like many others in the community development field, Marianne Garvin recognizes that moving up and out of poverty requires not just a stream of income but also a reservoir of assets. As the executive vice president of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDC), her challenge is to assemble an array of tools that […]

Breaking Ground

In July 2000, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a decision on a 30-year-old case, Abbott v. Burke. The decision mandated the state to fund the renovation or replacement of public schools in New Jersey’s poorest school districts, at a cost expected to exceed $12 billion over the next 10 to 15 years. Community and […]

Urban Neglect: George W. Bush and the Cities

On April 29, 2002, the tenth anniversary of the now infamous Los Angeles riots, George W. Bush spoke at a church-sponsored community development center in South Los Angeles. Given the occasion, reporters might have expected George W. to announce a new initiative that would address the nation’s serious urban problems. But Bush came to Los […]

NO Vote, NO Voice

Just how important is this year’s election? If you answered “very”… you’re right. But the reality is, every election is important, especially for low-income communities. While voter registration and turnout have steadily declined across the income spectrum, low-income communities consistently engage at a much lower rate than do higher-income communities. Because politicians more often respond […]

Standing Up and Speaking Out

Eric Shapiro, a 20-year-old aspiring rap artist, may appear to be a stereotypical dead-end member of the hip-hop generation. But there’s much more than just rhymes and hooks that interests him. Shapiro, who raps under the name Chino Flaco, says that among his influences was gangster rapper Too $hort, who incurred the wrath of police […]

The Road to Power

This year, we’ve had to remove our blinders to the notion of “these united states” – a sentiment prescribed by our government since 9/11. This country is not united; it’s divided as never before – and not just in our opinions of Bush and Kerry. We are divided in politics and religion; we don’t agree […]

Shelter Shorts

Pocketbook Voting As part of a strategy designed to increase annual take home pay by hundreds of dollars for Florida low-wage workers, and potentially increase voter turnout, ACORN and Floridians for All (a coalition of congregations, unions and community groups) have successfully placed the Minimum Wage Initiative on the November Florida ballot. Last July, the Florida […]

San Francisco Housing Activists Win Land and Shift the Debate

On May 11, 2004, homeless people in San Francisco scored a victory by convincing the city’s Board of Supervisors to set aside 15 city-owned surplus properties for development into homes for people with extremely low incomes. This new legislation created a process for future surplus properties to be set aside also. The victory was the […]

Letter-Writing Tips When Dealing With Funders

Imagine you are a program officer of a medium-sized family foundation. It’s late in the day, and it will be another hour before you go home. You have a lot to read, and you pick up the next two proposals from your pile. The first one has a cover letter that reads, Dear Program Officer: […]

Second Chances

Workforce Intermediaries for the Twenty-first Century, edited by Robert P. Giloth. Temple University Press in association with The American Assembly, Columbia University, Philadelphia, PA, 2004. 288 pp. $41.50 (hardcover). Workforce Development Politics: Civic Capacity and Performance, edited by Robert P. Giloth. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2004. 296 pp. $24.95 (paperback). The United States has […]