How Cambridge Lost Rent Control

25 years ago tenants organized, formed coalitions, took to the streets, and won rent control in Massachusetts. But, after two and half decades of constant battles against powerful and wealthy opponents, the tenants lost the war to save rent control. How did it happen? In late December 1971, tenants in Cambridge, Massachusetts, demonstrated in freezing […]

Spotted Owl, Snail Darter and… Rent Control

Is Rent Control Heading for Extinction? In signing Massachusetts rent-control’s death warrant in January, Governor William Weld effectively dropped the number of U.S. states with rent control to three – California, New Jersey, and New York, along with the District of Columbia. Under a steady barrage of challenges from conservatives and the real estate industry, […]

New Rules for Fannie and Freddie

  Owning a home is the American Dream. But who can really buy the dream of homeownership and why? After almost 20 years of the Community Reinvestment Act and anti-redlining and anti-discrimination laws, minorities are still less likely than whites to be approved for home mortgage loans. Certain inner-city neighborhoods still cannot generate the credit […]

HUD’s New Balancing Act

  Setting Affordable Housing Performance Goals That Are Meaningful for America’s Low-Income Neighborhoods On February 16, 1995, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an extensive set of proposed regulations revising the affordable housing performance goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The challenge for HUD, which oversees these two government sponsored enterprises […]

Is Mixed-Income Housing the Key?

An old idea is becoming conventional wisdom as private and public affordable housing providers create mixed-income multifamily housing. In a book-filled room at the New Settlement Apartments in the West Bronx, a group of children sit in a circle on the floor. They laugh and talk for a minute, but then the room falls quiet. […]

Neighbors Plow Field of Nightmares

Using an ancient common law right of self-help nuisance abatement, one neighborhood was able to board up vacant houses and evict the drug dealers. What do you do when drug dealers take over a vacant house in your neighborhood? When code enforcement, police action, and pressure on landlords all fall short, there is still an […]

Ann Arbor Tenants Union

For 27 years, the Ann Arbor Tenants Union has worked to put tenants in power and keep landlords on their toes by counseling, educating, and organizing.

The Future of Public Housing, Lessons from England

Managing the Money Side: Financial Management for Community-Based Housing Organizations The Institute for Community Economics’ newest book on financial management for community-based housing development organizations is like the best software-powerful, easy to use, and inexpensive. Of all the aspects of developing affordable housing, from organizing the community to navigating the bureaucracy, perhaps none is as […]