Regional Solutions and Community Empowerment

Signs of a thriving economy abound – a booming stock market, millions of new jobs, and the first balanced budget presented to Congress in 30 years. But prosperity has not reached everyone. Income disparity, poverty, and a lack of affordable housing have grown in the past two decades, in spite of the good work and […]

Shelter Shorts

Rent Decontrol  =  Rising Rents & Falling Diversity Three years after the repeal of rent regulations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a survey of 1,000 tenants in formerly rent-controlled units shows skyrocketing rents and declining diversity. Median rents for decontrolled units jumped from $504 in 1994 to $775 in 1997, a 54 percent increase, according to a […]

Shelter Shorts

Mega-Merger Mania The increasingly rapid rate at which financial institutions are merging has prompted a challenge from a national coalition of community organizations, which is working to ensure that major lending institutions’ merger activities result in increased access to credit and capital for low- and moderate-income communities. “Too often, the benefits and costs of mergers […]

Living Wage Lives in L.A.

It was 1996, and an economic Godzilla loomed over Los Angeles, coming to crush the city’s precarious prosperity. That, at least, was the way some business and political leaders felt about the Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance as the Living Wage Coalition fought to get it through the Los Angeles City Council. Representatives from the […]

Connecting Community Building to Metropolitan Solutions

This issue is dedicated to one of the most important challenges facing community institutions today: how to connect their work to the metropolitan marketplace and the emergence of new political alliances that focus on curbing sprawl and promoting reinvestment in cities and older suburbs.America’s metropolitan areas are experiencing remarkably similar development patterns – explosive growth […]

Hiring a Consultant

There are times in the life of almost every group when a fundraising consultant can be helpful. These times are characterized by one or more of the following situations: You need someone with skill and knowledge who cares about the issues your organization is concerned with, but is far enough removed to have perspective on […]

Expanding the Scope of Community Development

More than four decades of suburban growth have moved demographic, political, and economic power from central cities toward their suburban counties. The change can be seen in the spatial segmentation by income and race, in the phenomenal growth of new businesses in edge cities, in how public infrastructure dollars are allocated, and in how state […]

A Brief Triumph for Progressive Housing Policy

Modern Housing for America: Policy Struggles in the New Deal Era by Gail Radford. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. 273 pp. Until the Depression, most American opinion leaders believed that the private market, with a helping hand from private philanthropy, could meet the nation’s housing needs. Reformers who wanted government to play a major […]

Connecting People to Jobs:

Capitalizing on Regional Economic Development Opportunities In the fall of 1996, New Community Corporation (NCC) in Newark and the nearby Hillside Auto Mall launched an effort to train city youth for available jobs within the region’s automotive industry. An advisory committee formed – composed of representatives from four local dealers, regional representatives from Ford Motor […]

The Outlook for Rural Housing in 1998

In 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural housing programs financed 62,700 subsidized single-family housing units and 33,600 subsidized apartments. By 1996, these numbers had dropped to 15,900 single-family and 1,900 multifamily units. Compared to these drastic cuts, the administration’s FY 1999 budget proposals for rural housing programs could be seen as satisfactory simply […]

Growing Together:

After civil unrest shook the streets of Los Angeles in 1992, local low-income communities of color enjoyed what Andy Warhol once described as fifteen minutes of fame. The temporary spotlight on the conditions of L.A.’s poor led to a flurry of activity: Rebuild L.A. (RLA) was created to encourage economic activity in the damaged neighborhoods, […]

1998 Legislative Agenda

FY1999 HUD Budget “Cities have been at a competitive disadvantage with outlying counties,” said HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo in a February 2 New York Times article. The President’s FY 1999 budget, which contains $1.8 billion in increased funding for HUD programs “will help level the playing field,” he said. The core of the proposal consists […]

Regional Coalition-Building and the Inner Suburbs

In response to growing social and economic polarization, between 1993 and 1997 Minnesota’s Twin Cities jump-started a long-dormant regional debate. In three years, the area reorganized its regional planning council, moving it from a $40-million-a-year coordinating agency to a $600-million-a-year regional governance structure for transit and transportation, sewers, land use, airports, and housing policy. It […]

St. Louis Congregations Challenge Urban Sprawl

This is God’s world. We are God’s people. The voices of several hundred church members – black and white, Protestant and Catholic – somewhat tentatively followed the lead of the choir members from St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church. We’ve been entrusted. The land is in our hands. By the second run-through of the new […]

Redefining Community Development

Part II: Collaborating for Change (Click here for Part 1: New Partnerships) Willie Mae Gaskin can’t walk through the halls of the Warren/Conner Development Coalition (WCDC) on the Eastside of Detroit without being stopped by nearly everyone she passes. There are meetings to schedule, issues to discuss, and congratulations to be offered, following her grandson’s […]

Preparing for Change

CBOs, particularly those involved in comprehensive community building efforts, need to do a better job of involving residents and other constituents in planning and decision-making. This is a difficult transformation for organizations that often struggle under great political and financial stress to develop their group’s internal strength and political clout. Now they are asked to […]

Increasing Meeting Turnout

When you have low turnout for governance structure meetings, ask the following questions: Where’s the beef? If these meetings mostly consist of reports from staff or just reports generally, then they simply may not have enough substance to hold interest. Each meeting should include discussion of real issues, concerns, or questions and opportunity for decision-making […]

Comprehensive Community Initiatives: Words Not Whacks

You’ve had it! You’ve tried your best to remain calm and reasonable in a conflict, but your last nerve has been plucked. What now? WAIT. Press the pause button. Anger and rational problem-solving mix like oil and water. Take the time, if only a moment of deep breathing, to regain composure. Or, you can take […]

The Rebuilding Communities Initiative

Launched in 1993, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) Rebuilding Communities Initiative (RCI) aims to provide the support services needed to help transform economically distressed neighborhoods into safe, supportive, and productive environments for children and families. AECF already had a well-established track record of working with state-level agencies to better address the needs of families […]

Profile of a Community Builder: Kathy Brown

Profile of a Community Builder: Kathy Brown A self-described “board junkie,” Kathy Brown works with no less than 11 organizations in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, including the Germantown Community Collaborative Board, which governs one of the neighborhood’s CCI projects. “I’m a ‘connect the dots’ person,” she explains. “When I have different projects, I use […]