Bancroft Apartments, Boston

Resident-Controlled Subsidized Rental Project In the early 1980s, HUD had about 4,500 units in Massachusetts slated for disposition. About 40 percent of these units had been developed by one owner, Maurice Simon. Simon’s company had rehabilitated 800 rent supplement units and over half the 2,000 Section 221(d)(3)[5] properties rehabilitated through the Boston Urban Rehabilitation Program. […]

New Heritage House Apartments, Denver

A Model for Independent Living “From the very beginning, when its fortunes depended almost exclusively on gold, silver, oil, and real estate, Denver has been… riding a Wild West economic roller coaster… Good times and bad, they always seem to hit harder in Denver. Throughout the 1970s, no American city boomed more than this one, […]


  Saving Affordable Housing Foreword The National Housing Institute, with funding from the Ford Foundation, has made available Saving Affordable Housing, a practical review of selected examples of community-based groups that have preserved and revitalized affordable housing. After a quick introduction and context, the report delves into the meat of six project case studies. These […]

Grace Apartments, Denver

A Rental Project in a Marginal Location The group of women’s religious communities that established the Catherine McAuley Housing Foundation (CMHF) (see New Heritage case study) also formed Mercy Housing Inc (MHI). MHI was interested in a few properties in CHFA’s bulk purchased RTC properties. However, when CHFA kept those properties, MHI turned its interest […]

Appendix C: Advisory Board

  Saving Affordable Housing Appendix C: Advisory Board Victor Bach, Community Service Society Stuart Bressler, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Rachel Bratt, Tufts University John E. Davis, Burlington, Vermont Peter Dreier, International & Public Affairs Center, Occidental College Helen Dunlap, Deputy Assistant Secretary for FHA-Multifamily Programs Norman J. Glickman, Rutgers, the State University […]

Homesteading Program, Chicago

Single-Family Community Land Trust Housing Chicago is a city of neighborhoods,[14] harboring hundreds of community developers and organizers. When faced with widespread disinvestment in the late 1960s, a groundswell rose out of Chicago’s rich community development/organizing constituency to work against neighborhood deterioration and abandonment. (Ervine 1994) Several grassroots initiatives born in Chicago went on to […]

Appendix D: Conference Agenda

Saving Affordable Housing Appendix D: Conference Agenda“Saving Affordable Housing: A Critical Examination of Successful Models” November 16, 1994 9 – 9:30 am: A National Crisis In The Making The Honorable Helen Dunlap, Deputy Assistant Secretary, HUD 9:30 – 9:50 am: Elements of Success Patrick Morrissy, Executive Director, National Housing Institute John Atlas, President, National Housing […]

507 West 140th Street, New York City

Cooperative Housing in Harlem As a result of widespread disinvestment and abandonment in the 1960s and 1970s, a large stock of buildings fell into New York City ownership for nonpayment of taxes (a status referred to as “in rem”). Due to abandonment, the city lost 38,000 housing units annually between 1965 and 1968, one study […]


  Saving Affordable Housing Notes 2. The following two sections are based in part on “Cooperative Housing and the American Dream: Examining Resident Participation,” a 1993 master’s thesis by Frank Neidhardt for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [Back to text.] 3. CEDAC is a quasi-public corporation, chartered by act of the Massachusetts legislature in 1978, […]

Works Cited

Saving Affordable Housing Table of Contents.   Saving Affordable Housing Works Cited Achtenberg, Emily P. (housing consultant), phone interview, April 1993. Achtenberg, Emily P., Preserving Expiring Use Restriction Project. Boston: Citizens Housing and Planning Association, 1992. Affordable Housing Disposition Program, Federal Housing Inventory: A Window of Opportunity for Affordable Housing, Resolution Trust Corporation, 1992. Ayres, […]

Author Bios

Saving Affordable Housing Author Bios John Atlas, Co-author and Project Director John Atlas is Executive Director of the Passaic County Legal Aid Society. He is also a founder of the National Housing Institute and president of NHI’s board of directors. Mr. Atlas helped launch Shelterforce, NHI’s national magazine for housing and community development practitioners, and […]

Appendix A: The Housing Crisis

During the 1980s, home foreclosures soared and homeownership rates declined. Record numbers of households that went too far into debt to buy the “American Dream” lost their homes in a decade when we produced more millionaires than at any time in history. The price of both homeownership and renting increased faster than personal incomes and […]

Appendix B: Affordable Housing: An Endangered Species

The United States spends less on direct housing aid for the poor than any other western industrial democracy. Now, the few existing affordable housing units that have been built with federal assistance are at risk. From 1970 to 1993, the total number of low-cost rental units shrank from 7.4 million to 6.5 million, while the […]


Since the 1980s, factors as diverse as the globalization of the world economy, job migration from the inner cities to the suburbs, government neglect and cutbacks, the epidemic of illegal drugs and violence, rampant racial and social discrimination in housing and employment, the feminization of poverty, even government-sponsored housing that replaced stable inner-city neighborhoods with […]

Research Components

Six case studies are at the core of this report. Other sources of information include previous research, facts and ideas generated in an all-day conference, and several round table discussions with expert academics and housing practitioners. Case Studies In addition to prior research, our study analyzes and draws lessons from six successful efforts by nonprofit […]

Case Studies

Unless otherwise indicated, the research team gathered information and quotes in the following six case studies through interviews, site visits, surveys, and organizations’ literature. All demographic data is from the U.S. Census Bureau. Study Site Comparisons Project Marksdale Gardens Bancroft Apartments New Heritage House Apartments Location Boston Boston Denver, CO Sponsor Self-sponsored Urban Edge Atlantis […]

The Elements of Success

What follows is a discussion of the important, parallel elements that emerged from the six successful cases in this report, from NHI’s conference, from several meetings with housing experts, and from prior research. The housing we studied exists in areas where private development is absent. Market forces dictate where development and businesses go. In these […]

Policy Recommendations

Key Values The policies we propose to address the endangered housing problem rest on two foundations: citizen participation and reciprocal responsibility. These policies promote democratic self-government by empowering citizens and strengthening communities. All Americans, including the poor, want to be treated as dignified and intelligent individuals, not as childlike clients of government bureaucracies. Especially at […]

Marksdale Gardens, Boston

Limited Equity Cooperative Housing During the administration of Governor Michael Dukakis the Commonwealth of Massachusetts aggressively promoted affordable housing. With strong political and financial support, the state’s housing community acquired a level of skill and sophistication that continues to evolve in the current environment of reduced funding. Likewise, Boston’s rich network of housing groups and […]