The Power of a Community-Based Development Coalition

Building sustainable coalitions is an important element to strengthening community-based development organizations (CBDOs) and increasing their influence on local and state policies. To accomplish that, coalitions benefit from favorable political climates where the local government is receptive to community development projects, provides access to the planning process and offers financial resources. As much as possible, […]

Cleveland’s Housing Court

In the fall of 1999, Tony Brancatelli and the Slavic Village Development Corporation turned to Cleveland’s Housing Court when it sued the owner of 11 severely neglected houses in its racially diverse, working-class neighborhood. The defendant unwittingly believed a television infomercial touting a method to amass a fortune in real estate with little or no […]

Listening to the Community: A Park Designed Through Dialogue

The early housing development work in the 1990s of Hope Community, Inc., a CDC based in a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, began on what we now call the Hope Block – a square block where we began to acquire and revitalize houses one by one, challenging the hopelessness of a drug epidemic and disinvestment. […]

Making the Case for Employer-Assisted Housing

Given the array of housing challenges facing families and individuals in Illinois, advocates and other thoughtful observers might question the relevance of employer-assisted housing (EAH). EAH is a generic term to describe any number of ways an employer invests in workforce housing solutions, such as providing homebuyer education, downpayment assistance and loan guarantee programs. There […]

Mary Moody: Going Against the Grain

On February 3, 2004, Mary Moody stepped up to the podium to address the Smithfield Town Council in a riverside town 20 miles southeast of Raleigh, North Carolina. Clad in an outfit reminiscent of Minnie Pearl – price tag dangling from hat and all – the 62-year-old Moody personified this rural comedic icon of simple […]

A Matter of Life and Hope

Mossik Hacobian is not the kind of person you would immediately associate with saving lives. He’s not a cop or a fireman. If you were to meet him when he’s wearing his business suit, you might think he is a banker. He is 5 foot 6, with dark hair and a mustache. He used to […]

Learning Lessons

Two seemingly disparate events occurred in the past few weeks. In LA Antonio Villaraigosa just became the first Latino mayor of that city in a century. He won decisively by engaging with every demographic segment of the city. His victory, he says, “wasn’t a Latino victory, it wasn’t about Latino power; it was about building […]

Shelter Shorts

Salt Lake Officials Try to Redirect Low-Income Housing City councilors in Salt Lake City are trying to redirect where low-income and affordable housing can be built. Currently, city-subsidized housing for poorer residents is located in a limited area in and around downtown where over 30 percent of the households are poor. In the rest of […]

Dealing With Anxiety

During the 24 years I have been in fundraising, I have observed that the greatest factor causing people to leave fundraising, or to “burn out,” is not the work itself, or even the challenge of having to ask for money. It is the constant, gnawing anxiety that the money won’t come in, and the knowledge […]

A Guide for Tenants on Leadership and Building Control

Renters in Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood have a little extra help these days as they organize to improve their living conditions – and maybe take over their buildings. The aid comes in the form of a modestly sized, well-written and illustrated manual, Building by Building, which advises tenants on how to build leadership, recruit a […]

Getting Back to the Basics

Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life, by Theda Skocpol. University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, 366 pp, $29.95 (hardcover). The debate raging between centrists and left-progressives as to whether Democrats should get tougher on national security or become the anti-war party is largely irrelevant to the struggle for economic equality. What is […]