Developing Economic, Along with Physical, Health

Sue Joss and Jason Barbosa might seem to be unlikely economic development partners. She is the veteran CEO of a major nonprofit health care provider in Brockton, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. He is the operations manager of a family-run grocery company launched by his immigrant father in the same working class city. They come […]

Bank Fees of a Different Kind

A proposed bank accountability bill in California that had received considerable national attention has suffered something of a setback, but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of it. Assembly Bill 935, sponsored by Bob Blumenfeld of Los Angeles, would require mortgage servicers to pay a $20,000 “community reimbursement charge” prior to the conclusion of […]

Conrad Egan

What do Saul Alinsky, Students for a Democratic Society, HUD, and the Housing and Community Development Department of Fairfax County, Virginia, have in common? Conrad Egan. Over his five-decade career, Conrad has been an organizer, a housing developer, a special assistant at HUD, the CEO of a national research and policy organization, and an active […]

Filling the Lending Vacuum

As credit tightens and higher and higher numbers of commercial real estate loans enter default, CDCs are stepping up to fill the financing gap in economic development deals from which conventional lenders have been retreating.

How Do You Choose?

How do community developers whose goals include neighborhood revitalization identify which businesses or other non-residential tenants (library, healthcare center) are likely to create the most positive momentum in a given area? It’s certainly more art than science. We asked a few long-time community developers for their thoughts.

CLTs Go Commercial

The idea of turning the community land trust model into an economic development tool is attracting growing interest, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how it would work.

More Mission

The Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Banks is a marked success, and should be a model for expanding the system’s investment in economic development.

It’s All About Choice

Rather than just developing homes for sale, City of Lakes CLT lets buyers pick houses to bring into the land trust.

Use Planning to Filter and Focus

As a population that knows how to both “think” and “do,” leaders in community development naturally take interest in tackling the various components of urban revitalization. From strategic planning to project management to implementation, community developers (as we are sometimes labeled) can often solely perform all functions. But American culture has a tendency to thrust […]

The Promise of Sustainable Design

I think if there is a silver lining in the foreclosure crisis it is this: more Americans are recognizing the critical importance of quality, affordable rental housing.

Housing Policy Should Be About People, Not Product

Most low-income households in the United States live in private-market housing. American housing policies, though, rather than focusing on the needs of that majority, have focused disproportionately on providing a product; that is, using public funds to create a housing stock of units dedicated to lower income occupancy, separate from the private market. While this […]

Eliminate the Poverty Trap of Means-Adjusting

Want to do something radical and transformative for affordable and public housing? Eliminate means-adjusted rents in family properties. Not means-testing, the entry review that assures incoming households meet the program’s eligibility criteria. Means-adjusting: the post-occupancy reset of resident payments so they fall as household income falls, and rise as the reported income rises. Though the […]

Looking Forward

In 1975, the founders of Shelterforce took a leap of faith. They understood the profound problems facing distressed communities struggling to find decent housing and opportunity. They started a publication that would examine and promote solutions to these problems and they believed Shelterforce would endure until the problems were gone. Sadly, many of those same […]

Massachusetts CDCs

Massachusetts CDCs generated over $1 billion in economic investment from 2007 to 2010 — Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations’ annual Growing Opportunities, Assets, and Leaders (GOALs) report.

How Do We Get It Done?

Protests in front of government buildings have their place, but advocacy is not mutually exclusive with taking action directly.

Where Are They Now?

Shelterforce was founded in 1975 in East Orange, N.J., by a collective of tenant advocates and organizers. Where are those collective members now?

The Challenge of Change

Just as it did at the start of the community development sector some 30 years ago, the industry finds itself facing public sector cuts and growing housing needs.

Making Light Rail Stop for Us

A promising, billion-dollar Twin Cities light rail project almost bypassed lower-income neighborhoods on its route, but thanks to a coalition of community groups, it will now make all local stops.

New Objectives for Affordable Housing

In this age of the Great Recession, it’s imperative to establish a new objective for the affordable housing movement. There is a need for a radical reframing of what we call “affordable housing.” Historically, the housing stock for many low-income and minority families has been overpriced, dilapidated, and hazardous. Public housing, the federal low-income housing […]