Season of Change

At the apex of the civil rights and social justice movements, a new type of organization, the community development corporation (CDC), was created. CDCs were charged with addressing the massive poverty that resulted, in great measure, from fear and racism in American cities. In 1970, a group of CDCs, funded by the Office of Economic […]

Schools House Homeless Kids

A school district outside St. Louis is opening a home this fall for homeless students. The Maplewood-Richmond Heights district bought a house and had lined up a dozen teenagers to live there by mid-summer. Though many school officials try to help kids living on their own to find housing, it’s rare for schools to own […]

Ohio Fights Predatory Lenders

Politicians from both parties teamed up in Ohio in May to enact a predatory lending law that is arguably tougher than North Carolina’s, which went into effect in 1999. The law requires brokers and lenders to work in “good faith” for homebuyers, and gives the state the power to press criminal charges against violators. The […]

Brokering Network

Several CDCs in the Memphis area have partnered with Seedco, the national economic development intermediary, to form a mortgage loan network. Members can either create their own mortgage brokerages or refer clients to other members. They agree to charge fees set by the network, which will be lower than those of for-profit brokers. The idea […]

The Truth About Concentrated Poverty

Last summer, Hurricane Katrina rolled over the Gulf Coast and unearthed an unpleasant truth about the state of poverty in this country: concentrated poverty still exists. Isolated deep in inner-city neighborhoods were hundreds of thousands of poor households that lacked the means to evacuate or weather the storm. But even without hurricanes, the problems associated […]

NIMBYites Lose One

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in June that affordable housing development can’t be stopped on the grounds it might hurt neighbors’ property values. The case involved a suburb where a developer planned an apartment building. Because the town didn’t have enough low-income housing, the state “anti-snob” law allowed the developer to ignore the town’s […]

Rx for Tenants

Doctors and lawyers team up to help tenants stuck in housing that’s bad for their health

Double Bottom Line

A Tacoma, Washington CDC is putting at least $250,000 into developing a “double bottom line” real estate fund that will invest in struggling neighborhoods throughout the Seattle/Tacoma region. These funds have become more common in recent years but are usually spearheaded by business or government groups, not nonprofits. The director of the Martin Luther King […]

S.F. Boosts Affordability

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law an inclusionary housing policy aimed at creating more affordable homes in the city. Fifteen percent of units in new residential developments must be rented or sold below market rates, as opposed to the previous standard of 12 percent. If developers choose to build the affordable units […]

The Prevailing Question

Should the people who build low-income housing get the prevailing wage? CDCs say they can’t afford to pay it, but can they really fight poverty if they don’t?

Storied Groups Close

The Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, a Chicago fair housing advocacy group with a small geographic range but a national impact, ended operations in June. The council is best known for its role in the Gautreaux program, which relocated 10,000 public housing families to the suburbs from 1976 to 1998 as part of a […]

Thinking Collectively

In Boston, labor and community groups are using their shared values to collaborate and win victories

The Big Bond

Los Angeles is putting the largest municipal housing bond ever on its ballot this November. The $1 billion bond would pay for an estimated 20,000 affordable units and create a home loan program for workers priced out of the current market. Several city councilors pushed for the bond after inclusionary zoning legislation went nowhere, and […]

Can Progressives Deliver?

In key races around the country, progressive coalitions are mobilizing grassroots campaigns that just might pay off.

Redefining Community Benefits

When does a community benefits agreement (CBA) not benefit its community? When it is negotiated between elected officials and developers, says Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit that opposed recent deals to build the new Yankee Stadium and a major retail development. The deals were made with few legal commitments to provide living wage jobs, local […]

Homeownership Rescue

Homeowners who can’t afford their mortgages can turn to nonprofit housing organizations for help.

Ghetto Salvation

How the Other Half Worships, by Camilo Jose Vergara. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 2005, 304 pp. $49.95 (clothbound). Suppose an alien came to Earth. It is searching for God’s presence. It asks you where to look for it. What would you tell it? Well, if the number of houses of worship indicates the […]