The Early Years

It was during 1973 that I first began thinking about a national publication for the housing movement. I was a legal services lawyer helping to build the New Jersey Tenant Organization (NJTO). It was a time of uncertainty. Richard Nixon had been re-elected by a landslide. By the end of that year, a dozen leading […]

Community: Our Priority for the Next 20 Years

In 1975, when we published the first Shelterforce, a housing movement was growing amidst a culture of community organizing and protest. An optimistic Shelterforce Collective shared a vision of the future with others in the housing movement. We hardly noticed a dangerous trend that had already begun to affect cities and suburbs alike – a […]

SHELTERFORCE – A Road Map and A Vehicle

In looking through the first four issues of Shelterforce from 1975-1976, flashes of myself, my work, and The Shelterforce Collective hit me. I remembered typing the articles in columns on typewriters and then using rubber cement to paste them down on our own layout boards. In that first year, we tried to be a collective […]

Organizing the New Tenants Movement

During the past year, the tenants’ movement has suffered major setbacks. Landlords in California and Massachusetts, once strongholds of tenant activism, succeeded in wiping out rent controls. In New York City, rent regulations have been weakened. Even in New Jersey, the capital of renters’ rights, tenant organizations are in a holding strategy, trying to keep […]

Shelterforce Interviews Two CRA Veterans

CRA – Taking It To the Next Step The success of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been significant. Thanks to the CRA, community groups have negotiated agreements with banks, including many of the largest in the country, to provide loans and services to low-income communities. Many of the negotiations have been adversarial. Complaining that […]

Fighting the End of the Year Budget Blues

Thankfully, the legislative year is finally winding down, although much business remains. As of this writing, we still do not have a budget bill, a HUD appropriations bill, or a housing authorization bill approved by Congress and signed by President Clinton. While the government is back up and operating under an “agreement” that got federal […]

Building A Power Base

The first and most important battle organizers face is working with members to build an independent power base. Building an organization, and forcing a target to deal with your organization, is crucial – and often, the opposition understands this as well as the organizer. Nowhere is this more important than in tenant organizing in public […]

NHI Activities

In the November 25, 1995, New York Times, board member Peter Dreier challenges the banking industry’s attempts to gut the Community Reinvestment Act. “The banking industry’s short sighted attack on the Community Reinvestment Act is a dagger pointed at the heart of our cities,” Dreier concludes in “Redlining; Not Red Tape,” which ran in the […]

Shelter Shorts

Landlord Tastes Own Medicine Newark landlord George Williams recently suffered a fate similar to that of Joe Pesci’s character in the movie The Super, in which a judge orders Pesci to serve time in the same decrepit building his tenants must endure daily. On November 22, Municipal Judge Paul R. Daniele ordered Williams to serve […]