Tag: Advocacy

Small Investments Can Yield Big Returns. Review of A Few Thousand...

Over a dozen stories of how Americans from all different backgrounds have managed to leverage a few thousand dollars to lead lives that have helped thousands of other people, and strategies to reinvigorate a movement to influence asset building policy nationally.

Dear Presidential Hopefuls: The People Want to Talk to You About...

Before we celebrate its resurgence as a national political issue, and certainly before we set out to solve for housing injustice, we should understand why America has overlooked housing.

Organizers: There’s No Shortcut to Success

Overcoming the ideology of individualism and corporate power is achieved not through framing or advocacy but through the experience of collective struggle. A review of "No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age" by Jane McAlevey.

Signaling A Strong Message of Support For Immigrant Neighbors

In today’s climate, the first and often most important barrier between vulnerable residents and deportation is simply their front door.

Is a Home with Lead Hazards Really “Affordable”?

The cost of housing is not simply the mortgage, rent, and utilities, but the individual and community health, education, and social costs associated with low-quality, unstable, and unhealthy housing.

Eviction Lab Misses the Mark

As housing activists and academics who conduct research on issues of housing and displacement, we have encountered major problems with Eviction Lab’s practices.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Aug. 10

Union Power | A Clinic Moves To Serve Displaced Clients | On The Horizon-Sweeping Change To Financing Industry Regulation

Housing Advocates—Seize This Moment!

I’ve been working to address housing affordability since the late 1970s. There has never been this much media and public focus on the issue.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Aug. 3

Addressing Hunger on Campus | Redesigning the Homeless Shelter | Holding Landlords Accountable | NYC Says No To Uber & Lyft | Protecting Voucher Holders | More...

Absence of Eviction Court Recordings Leaves Tenants Vulnerable

In a court division where a family can lose their home after a two-minute trial and only 12 percent of tenants have lawyers, Cook County's lack of eviction court transcripts—with no court reporters or digital recording equipment since 2004—has serious repercussions for tenants.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—July 13

A "Good" Payday Lender | Urban Sprawl Is Bad for Your Health | More Nutritious Food for Low-Income Families | This Bank is *Opening* Branches

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—July 6

Carson’s HUD Is So Out of Touch | Seattle’s Luxury Housing Surplus | Expand Housing Subsidies, Reduce Childhood Poverty | Michigan Lets Its Students Down | More...

Practical Ideas for Addressing Micro-Segregation in Mixed Income Communities

Practical lessons from long time community builders on promoting integration and interaction among residents of mixed income communities.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—June 22

U.S. Increases Numbers of Families in Crisis | Hooray-Lots of People Have (Low Wage) Jobs! | Arts + Public Health | Seattle Caves to Corporate Interests | Converting Motels Into Supportive Housing

Here’s Why Costa-Hawkins Repeal Would Be Revolutionary for Housing in California

Rent control is one of the foremost demands of grassroots movements organizing around housing justice today. To activists across the country, from Los Angeles...

Advocacy for Social Change: Coalitions and the Organizations that Lead Them

Many books discuss the corrosive effect of money in politics and lobbying organizations, but few are devoted to how those representing the have-nots organize on a national level to fight for laws and regulations that seek to empower communities.

Panacea or Problem? The Possibilities in Opportunity Zones

With Opportunity Zones, the potential is there for great benefit, but it is not yet clear where, how, and to whom any benefits will accrue. People who care about connecting residents and businesses in distressed communities with opportunities need to act now so they fulfill their promise.

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 27

Climate Gentrification | A Marijuana Tax for Housing? | Homeownership Alone Can't Close the Wealth Gap | Illegal ICE Raids on Farms | Keeping An Eye on Opportunity Zones | More...

New Program Aims to Help Community Land Trusts Get to Scale

A new program invests in the belief that community land trusts can become more than a boutique housing solution.

The $9 Jar of Artisanal Pickles: Equity and Local Food

Sustainability is about thriving, not just surviving. We will not thrive if we are poorly paid martyrs to a good cause, and thus, in a healthy, diverse and vital food system, some of our efforts might need to be directed to those who can pay nine dollars for a jar of pickles.

Ask Yourself: Who Do Anti-Rent Control Policies Serve?

Whenever you hear (or read) anti-rent control arguments, ask the question: who benefits from banning rent control? And who is hurt?

Interview with Michael Bodaken, retiring director of the National Housing Trust

Shelterforce took the occasion of Michael Bodaken's retiring from the National Housing Trust to speak with him about how he got into housing, some of his favorite projects, and his recommendations for the field going forward.

Dear Business School Professors: You’re Wrong, Rent Control Works

A university study on rent control makes three crucial mistakes in its assessment of the policy's effect on San Francisco's housing market. Housing advocacy organization Tenants Together sets the record straight on rent control's role, and who is actually to blame for the city's unaffordability.

What—and Who—Is a “Nuisance”?

Why are nuisance ordinances proliferating nationwide, and who is disproportionately affected?

Housing Advocacy Needs Housing Voters

Methods from a successful organizing campaign from the past can inform the basis of a new electoral constituency around housing.

The Displacement Crisis of Immigrant-Owned Small Businesses

Growth of new business is a sign of a robust economy, but New York City’s true success hinges on ensuring that all residents have access to opportunity and community resources.

Who Gets to Live Where, and Why? The Answer May Be...

Why housing messaging is backfiring and recommendations on how to change course.

The Power of Proximity: Making the Case for Living Where You...

Twenty years later, it’s hard to overstate how wise I think that group of board members was in imposing its residency requirement on me. While initially skeptical, over the years I’ve learned some powerful lessons about the benefits of proximity.

Say It Loud: Renters’ Rights are Civil Rights!

Private developers and public agencies are finally investing in neighborhoods near transit and jobs—where many low-income communities of color have lived for generations—and as a result, are being pushed out just as resources in their neighborhoods are increasing.

Equitable Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership)

Talk of tax reform has reached a fever pitch, but most Americans don't realize just how high the stakes are and what impact the final legislation could have on their own financial security for years to come.

Persistently Poor Regions Would Welcome a Little Gentrification

It is often said that you get what you pay for. Clearly, too little is being paid to create positive change in America’s most vulnerable places.

Your “Opportunity” Map is Broken. Here Are Some Fixes

If we are truly going to reduce our housing policy objectives to the realm of goals related to “opportunity,” I would like to offer some guidelines for its proper use.

Rules for Radicals to Demand a Fair and Transformative Disaster Recovery

At Texas Housers, we've confronted a series of natural disasters over the past decade that forced us to develop new approaches for our housing advocacy. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we find ourselves back at it. Here are seven lessons we have learned.

Block by Block, the Renters Movement is Growing

“The string of victories in 2017 are a direct product of renters building power on the ground. Renters, faced with a historic housing crisis, are getting organized to change immediate conditions on the ground and build a movement to transform the way land and housing are treated in the country.”

#ThisIsNotUs. Except, It Is.

We are constantly faced with the decision of whether to #TakeAKnee in our work, and whether we meet this challenge or not either reinforces our racialized landscape or disrupts it. What is clear is that we cannot sit on the sidelines with a universalist perspective, claiming to do good work.

Poverty Is a Choice—Says The House Budget

Tax brackets, tax breaks, and just how much more rich the rich will become are all important details, no doubt, but among those details runs a single, shining, unifying message: Some people are worth investing in, and some are not.

What to Do When ICE Comes to Your Buildings

If you own and/or manage affordable housing, do you know what to do if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) shows up on your doorstep looking for someone? If you haven’t thought it through yet, now’s the time.

A Policy Agenda for Manufactured Home Owners

In Minnesota, ten mobile home communities have closed in the past twenty-five years, and no new ones have opened. This uncertainty affects nearly 3 million Americans who are residents in the nation’s 50,000 manufactured housing communities. While most of these homeowners own their own homes, they rent the land, leaving them vulnerable to dramatic rent increases, arbitrary rules, and even eviction.

Despite Progress, States Have Work to do to Ensure Access to...

If expanding access to homeownership can reverse the trends of growing racial wealth inequality, why are we seeing so many states roll back the supports that make homeownership possible?

Hurricane Evacuees are Forcibly Evicted in Miami

More than 60 Miami families, many undocumented, have been homeless since last week’s hurricane and were forcibly removed last night by local officials.

10 Ways to Talk About Inclusionary Housing, Differently

We need to talk about inclusionary housing in a different way that circumvents common misperceptions and creates a new narrative for policymakers in moderate markets and more conservative political climates. Here are 10 messages to help frame your conversations.

A Partner, Not an Expert

Over the course of three decades in the development finance industry, I have learned that engaging and empowering those who have the greatest stake in their communities is the best way to achieve meaningful and lasting change.

Defending DACA Is a Moral and Economic Imperative

President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants. Over the course of its five-year history,...

In Spite of HUD, Fair Housing Process Can Help Communities

Last year, Philadelphia was one of the first cohorts to go through the AFFH process, a fair housing assessment mandated by HUD to discover...

Civil Rights Organizations on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Throughout what we know will be a long recovery over the coming weeks, months, and years, Shelterforce hopes to share the stories of the...

Police and Communities: Conversations Continue, Solutions Appear

Community development corporations play an important role in community safety. As such, they are often at conflict with themselves over their relationships with the police and the communities they serve.

SoFi, Not So Good: Is This Virtual Redlining?

SoFi is practicing product segregation. It wants to serve affluent people with its best products and shunt low- and moderate-income borrowers into inferior products that do not meaningfully serve credit needs.

Administration’s Assault on Workers Continues in Congress

A proposed 20 percent reduction to the Department of Labor's overall budget would make working people less safe, and will discourage them from speaking up when abuses happen.

Trump Era a Time to Build Power, Not Buildings

This is a time that calls for us to start thinking a little less like an “industry” and more like a movement.

7 Policies to End Family Homelessness

Improving the well-being of homeless children and their families led Enterprise Community Partners, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, and New Destiny Housing to convene a Family Homelessness Task Force comprised of over 40 organizations.

More Than a Fad: Tiny Houses Save Lives, Provide Dignity

After seven years of advocacy from housing activists, the city of Seattle unanimously passed an ordinance permitting tent encampments or tiny house villages on city-owned or private property.

Why Giving Up on Homeownership Is Giving In

These ideas aren’t new, but pulling them together in a collective, coherent way will push back against those who, like their predecessors of 80, 70, 60 and 50 years ago, would deny long-term stability to those for reasons more than just the color of their money.

Challenges of Space and Place in Creative Placemaking

Some of us, myself included, are susceptible to the inaccurate thinking that when the arts are involved, the complications that can arise with traditional community building are lessened.

Despite What Bankers Say, Data Is Indispensable

The American Bankers Association (ABA) issued a white paper maintaining that the CFPB exceeded its mandate under Dodd-Frank. Full of rhetoric, the white paper makes a number of unfounded allegations about HMDA data and the CFPB final rule.

Developers: Organize Your Residents for 2018

On May 4, we applauded Congress’ dismissal of the Trump administration’s request for $18 billion in cuts to non-defense discretionary programs. It firmly rejected the administration’s proposals and (finally) approved a bipartisan spending bill for 2017, funding the government through Sept. 30. The lights will stay on in the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, and our worst fears that low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled might be literally left out in the cold are allayed … for now.

Entrenched Poverty, Juxtaposed Against Occasional Pockets of Progress

Recently, more than 150 people from across the nation rolled along the backroads of the iconic Mississippi Delta, peering through bus windows at scene after scene of entrenched poverty juxtaposed against occasional pockets of progress that had been achieved against seemingly insurmountable odds. While there were signs of advancement, they were set against the backdrop of conditions that disproportionately plague these places—substandard housing, underperforming schools, inadequate access to quality health care, and limited private and philanthropic investment. 

Failing The Equitable Development Test

I wondered whether the Americans who suffered the injustice of our most recent Great Recession haven’t already been not only forgotten but abandoned by the White House and Congress, despite their votes. 

How to Build a Case for Community Development and Affordable Housing

In the new administration, housing programs will feel the pressure of budgetary cuts and tax reform. Advocates should be careful not to put down other programs in the process of defending their own, or everyone will lose.

CRA Should be Becoming Less Partisan. Instead, It’s More.

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a law that requires banks to serve the credit needs, consistent with safety and soundness, of all...

10 Ways to Speak Truth to Powerful Lies

How to engage, inform, and fight back against falsehoods. ...

Where Do We Go From Here? Toward a New Freedom Budget

If, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, a “budget is a moral document,” then this budget is a reflection of the moralities of the boardroom, the eviction notice, the emergency ward, and the pink slip.

Homeownership Equity Depends on Racially Equitable Policy

Once again, we hear rumblings that housing finance reform, the wind-down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the...

Who Counts as a “Homeless” Child? It Matters

Are children in foster care homeless? It might sound like semantics, but it really makes a big difference. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the...

Disclosure Remains Our Right

I was interviewed last month for a book on redlining that took me back to the ‘70s. Going through...

How Data Disclosure Will Help Prevent the Next Financial Crisis

It seems like an overstatement, but data disclosure can help prevent the next financial crisis. ...

Putting Housing Back at the Forefront of the National Conversation

Eric’s family purchased a Habitat for Humanity home in the Florida farming community of Immokalee, Florida, which among many...

Three Dangers and an Opportunity

If it seems like we're approaching a domestic policy pivot point, it might be because we are. Since November...

Nonprofits–Yes You Can Advocate. And Now’s The Time

Amidst the chaos of the past couple weeks there has been at least one positive change—a lot more people...

OCC Moving Steadily Forward on Fintechs–Is This a Good Thing?

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) appears to be plowing ahead with its proposal to allow...

The President as Developer-in-Chief

People have been asking me what I think about Ben Carson as the nominee to be Secretary of the...

You’ve Seen This Movie Before. You Know What to Do

I prebooked my post-election group therapy by getting a ticket to hear Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, speak...

Fighting Community Opposition in the Age of…Opposition

On Nov, 8, voters across the country heard the affordable housing call and approved numerous state and local housing...

Indivisible: How We Fight This–Together

For the most part, progressive organizations have been on the offensive for the past eight years, but now it is time to switch to playing defense. And, like any sport, that means pulling some players off the field and changing tactics.

An Opportunity to Shed Sunlight on Lender Legal Compliance is Missed

Bank regulatory agencies including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and others...

Interview with Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary for Rural Development, USDA

At the Opportunity Finance Network conference in October, I finally got a chance to sit down and talk with...

Gramm Wrong, Again, on CRA

In an effort to undercut future public investment in the nation’s infrastructure, Phil Gramm, former chair of the Senate Banking Committee and currently with...

Tweaks to CRA Q&A Document Miss the Larger Picture

During the dog days of summer this July, the federal bank agencies decided to quietly bunt instead of swing...

Our Denial and Inaction On the Issue of Lead

How far does the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) denial about leaded drinking water go? This week, I was having...

It’s Time to Talk about Cops

I don't need to revisit the hundreds of police killings around this country over the past few years (not...

Getting New Jersey to Divest from Payday Lending

NJ Citizen Action says having a state pension fund invested, even indirectly, in a form of lending illegal in the state cannot stand.

The Romance and Reality of the New Financial Technology (Fintech) Companies

Technology is enticing. It's fun. It can make life easier. With a click of a button, consumers can purchase...

To Reduce Recidivism Rates, Turn to Housing Policy

A couple months ago here on Rooflines, I wrote about the value of addressing housing challenges that many former...

Out of Reach 2016: Much More than Bad News

“A worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 2.8...

Imagine if Banks Had a Rating Showing Compliance with Consumer Law?

When consumers shop for new cars or other major products, they often like to consult with Consumer Reports or...

Advocates: Let’s Get These Details Right From the Beginning

It’s rare when a major new national housing program comes along. The National Housing...

Jane Jacobs: Defender of Cities and their People

On April 10, 1968, New York state officials scheduled a public hearing to discuss their plans for an expressway...

Out of Homelessness, A Mom Turns Advocate

Jenean F. and her husband worked hard to achieve the increasingly elusive American Dream. She was a stay at...

CRA on a State Level Makes Sense

When practitioners in the affordable housing and community development field think about the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), they think...

Energy Efficiency: Vital to the Budgets of Low-Income Households

Electricity and water are indispensable for day to day living, and low income households pay a disproportionate share of...

Fracking Waste and Drinking Water, A Toxic Combo

Environmentalists have succeeded in making fracking, renewable energy, safe water, and climate change part of the presidential campaign. Hillary...

We Must Find the Legacies of Racism Within Our Own Organizations,...

We can’t begin to disentangle the racial dynamics of the institutions we want to fix if we are unwilling to get to the root of the same dynamics in our own organizations.

Stop Talking About Displacement

A well informed community organizing effort with a targeted purpose should be the first line of defense in protecting opportunities for wealth building and access to opportunities for upward mobility in working class communities as they experience inevitable changes.

Flint: Tainted Choices, Tainted Water

Like the water itself, the situation in Flint, Mich., should be crystal clear: elected and appointed officials, at the state and federal levels, have done...

CRA Exams Aren’t Cutting It For Communities in Need

In 1977, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and required the federal banking agencies to assess a bank’s record of helping to meet...

How Are We Responsible for Baltimore?

Over the last few years, slowly but surely, the reality of the lived experience of black American women has continued to come to light....

How Did We Manage Stress, Media, and Technology in 2015?

As we near the end of the year, I find myself in reflective mode—is the work I'm doing having...

Looking for Solid Returns? Invest in Criminal Justice Reform

In my last life, I worked at a large public housing authority, where one of my tasks was to...

Remembering Rick Cohen

Rick Cohen, a Shelterforce contributor, passed away suddenly on November 17. Known for his prolific writing focused on nonprofits and...

Social Enterprise Movement Faces Growth and New Challenges

In September, I attended the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) annual conference in Denver, Colorado. At the closing session, Tamra Ryan voiced a key conference...