Watchful Stewards: Mutual Housing Associations and Community Land Trusts

The large, foreclosed HUD-subsidized building on Stamford’s West Side had once housed over 60 families, but in 1993 stood vacant, a hulking eyesore with nesting pigeons as its only occupants. Nearby, the Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut had opened, five years earlier, 69 units in attractive, low-income townhouses. An expert community organizing staff helped […]

Restoring Order

Community Residents Lead the Way to Safer Neighborhoods In towns and cities across America, community residents fed up with escalating crime have banded together to take back their neighborhoods. Residents have organized rallies, vigils, patrols, and coalitions, targeting problems from drug dealing to prostitution to school safety. Realizing that they must be the driving force […]

Partners in Policing

When Nutley, New Jersey, Police Chief Robert DeLitta and Sgt. Steve Rogers saw a letter in the local newspaper from an African-American woman who was having trouble renting an apartment in the small, predominately white suburb, Sgt. Rogers decided to step beyond the traditional police officer’s role. Rogers contacted the woman, Janice Harrison-Aikins, a former […]

Drug War in St. Paul

Tenants, Cops, and Community Organizing On the night of February 25 1995, St. Paul police and a city housing inspector arrived at the home of Louise and Carl with their guns drawn, but without a search warrant. Carl allowed them into his downstairs apartment, according to the St. Paul Tenants’ Union (SPTU). The family was […]

Organization Profile

REACH of Portland, Oregon In the early 1980s, REACH, a fledgling community development corporation (CDC) in Portland, Oregon, formed a complicated limited partnership to buy a vacant lot and several nearby homes. REACH turned to private investors to help purchase the properties, as public and private lenders had not yet been convinced a CDC could […]

Remembering Rights

Without safe streets, decent housing is nothing more than a comfortable prison. In many low-income neighborhoods, community organizations have tackled the problems that crime and open air drug markets bring. Some work independently, some work with other organizations and police, and some work at odds with the police – the very organizations whose mission is […]

Shelter Shorts / Short Takes

Rent War Rages in New York City A pitched battle is underway in New York State, as landlord and tenant advocates square off over the expiration of rent regulations this June 15. Republican State Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno has vowed to let rent protections “sunset” if leadership reaches no deal with Assembly Democrats. But […]

Gaining Ground by Holding Back

Late last year, St. Louis ACORN members learned that Regional Hospital – the city’s only “safety net” hospital that guaranteed care regardless of ability to pay – was going to close. ACORN’s local leaders decided to mount a fight to keep the hospital open, and to use the hotly contested mayoral campaign as leverage. Former […]

Everything I Know About Fundraising

In 1980, a few weeks after Ronald Reagan was elected President, I answered a classified ad in the Portland Oregonian. The first word was ACTIVIST. I can’t remember the rest of the ad, but the main idea was that I would get paid to work for social justice. I was adrift and anxious about the […]

Book Review (Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods, Reinventing Cities)

The Last Best Hope: Planners and Organizers Work To Empower Residents Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods, edited by W. Dennis Keating, Norman Krumholtz, Philip Star. 1996, University Press of Kansas. Reinventing Cities: Equity Planners Tell Their Stories, edited by Norman Krumholtz, Pierre Clavel, 1994, Temple University Press. American urban neighborhoods face a real threat of becoming “little […]

Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street

  Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street , 58 minute video produced by Leah Mahan and Mark Lipman, Holding Ground Productions, will be aired on public television beginning in May.   A VHS videocassette and viewers guide is available. Since residents of the Dudley Street neighborhood of Roxbury, Massachusetts, won eminent domain power to […]

Creating Better Futures

On February 28, 1997, over 50 homeless advocates, service providers, public housing residents, organizers, developers, government officials, academics, and others met for a forum on housing that began the Creating Better Futures Campaign, an initiative of the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The campaign aims to begin developing […]