Power in Numbers

In December 2004, Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn held a press conference to celebrate city council approval of a massive plan to modernize L.A. International Airport. A centerpiece of the press conference was a $500 million community benefits agreement (CBA) that would dramatically improve quality of life for low-income communities near LAX. Aside from the […]

The Battle in Brooklyn

In June 2004, inside Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, a stage was packed with New York’s most important political, labor, community and religious leaders. One of them, Bertha Lewis, executive director of New York ACORN, leaned forward, stretched her arms into a “V” and bellowed to the audience of 1,300, “What do we want?” “Jobs! Housing! Hoops!” […]

The Emergence of the CDC Network

In 1967, the first CDC was born in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Government, business and the middle class had pulled their resources from the area as the poor and non-white population grew. While then-Senator Robert F. Kennedy was taking a tour of the community, residents challenged him to support their vision of grassroots development. Kennedy and […]

Will President Bush Reform the Mansion Subsidy?

For years, progressives have been denouncing “welfare for the rich” – government subsidies to big business, pork-barrel Pentagon contracts to weapons makers, huge tax breaks for wealthy individuals and, most recently, colossal no-bid contracts for post-Katrina reconstruction to politically connected companies like Halliburton. No one was shocked when Republicans proposed cutting funds for Medicaid and […]

The Tenants Movement and Housers

Much has changed in the last 30 years about both Shelterforce magazine and the housing movement. Shelterforce, which began as a tenants’ rights and organizing publication, is now more broadly focused on housing and community development issues. And while there are still some strong local tenant organizations around the country, they have been drastically reduced […]

Building Alliances at All Levels

For everyone working in community development, the scenes and the stories from New Orleans reminded us of the importance of our work as well as the need to bring it to scale. The loss and devastation exposed deep-rooted obstacles in our collective mission, raising the stakes for a new and larger approach to ending poverty […]

Time to Build on Our Accomplishments

In addition to Shelterforce’s 30th year of publishing, 2005 also marks LISC’s 25th anniversary. From Shelterforce’s first issue to the day LISC opened its doors in 1980, community development was in a very different place from where it is today. Low-income urban and rural communities were deteriorating and isolated from the mainstream of American life; […]

Working in Partnership

On this 30th anniversary of Shelterforce, it makes sense to take a more global approach to addressing the problems unmasked by Hurricane Katrina. We need to not only recognize the problems that existed in communities prior to the hurricane, but also work to ensure that similar situations do not repeat themselves. There are few positives […]

Homeownership: The Next 30 Years

Professional handwringers are maintaining a hyper-vigilant watch over the real estate market these days, anxiously looking for signs of gloom and doom. As neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing advocates, we view the pessimistic talk of “bubbles” and “froth” as a call to strengthen our resolve to encourage and promote responsible, informed homeownership. Those who believe […]

New Movements for a New Era

Three decades ago, a group of activists came together to create a social justice movement to organize poor and working-class people around the issues of homes and communities. Learning the lessons from the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements, this group knew that passion and demonstrations were not enough. To succeed, many parts were needed, […]

Shelter Shorts

Housing Fund Gets Hijacked Housing advocates should have been smiling when the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Oct. 26 to require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allot some of their profits for low-income housing. Instead, they were outraged that the House bill prohibited nonprofits that would receive housing funds from the two government-subsidized […]

Foundation Trends in Social Justice Grantmaking

Social justice grantmaking encompasses a broad range of fields. In 2002, economic and community development captured the largest share of social justice grant dollars (19 percent), followed by health care access and affordability (15.8 percent) and civil rights and civil liberties (15.5 percent). By comparison, civil rights and civil liberties led by share of number […]

Demanding a Better Deal

Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC) was created in 2001 by community stakeholders and representatives in Baltimore after the local newspaper announced that they would be forcibly dislocated from their homes for construction of a biotech park and new housing. The city government intended to use its power of eminent domain, which gives it the […]

Thirty Years of Pablo: In His Own Words

Challenges for Nonprofits and Philanthropy: The Courage to Change – Three Decades of Reflections, by Pablo Eisenberg, edited by Stacy Palmer. Tufts University Press, 2005, 242 pp. $29.95 (hardcover). Years ago, Robert Malaga, judge of Cleveland’s Housing Court, would harmlessly pass time between cases by talking to the lawyers in his courtroom about his favorite […]