Tag: Communities

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Oct. 26

News from—and affecting—the community development world. This week: multi-unit housing, commercial rent control, housing vouchers, vacant space and health, potential credit help, more.

Reimagining a Neighborhood, The Way It Ought To Be

The arts have a long history of highlighting social issues and creating public conversation that results in measurable change. As an arts administrator with...

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.

Sitting on a Porch Can Be Good for Your Health

To help combat isolation and reweave the connecting fabric that had been lost, a neighborhood arts center launches an initiative that eventually became a movement.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Aug. 24

Philly's Fight for Affordable Housing | HUD Targets Facebook In Complaint| An Eviction App | A "Massive" Multifamily Housing Fraud

What Future For America’s Small Cities?

These books not only offer something of a window on what is—or is not—going on in small cities, but useful pointers for practitioners working in the types of cities described.

Participatory Budgeting: Why Not Fix Everyone’s Sink?

Participatory budgeting offers a glimpse of how a more civically engaged society might work, but it’s also a distraction.

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—May 25

First Steps Act Looks Like Wrong Direction | Dodd-Frank Rollback | Money For Social Determinants | Chicago Housing Segregation | More...

New York City Needs to Stop Negotiating Rezonings From an Uneven...

What is the underlying dynamic that leads so many council members in low-income communities of color to approve neighborhood rezonings, despite community opposition and the likelihood of increased displacement pressure on existing residents?

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 20

NIMBYs, YIMBYs, PHIMBYs-Oh My! | Can Algorithms Make Equitable Cities? | Retail Segregation Takes a Toll | E.R. Visits and "Tough" Neighborhoods | Enough Innovation Already | More...

Data Drives the Movement for Economic Justice

A government report concludes that residents of low- and moderate-income Census tracts have as much access to bank branches as residents in middle- and upper-income tracts in rural areas and large metropolitan areas. Yet access to bank services for low- and moderate-income consumers is still being lost. Why is that?

How Poorly Maintained Bank-owned Homes Harm Black and Latino Communities

Bank-seized properties in these communities of color have higher rates of neglect, and the situation has prompted a lawsuit.

Where Were All the Sidewalks Built?

A health and community development partnership leads to a revelation for a city transportation department.

Bringing “Zombies” Back to Life

With funds from a settlement between the New York State Attorney General and major banks, 76 New York state municipalities are working to get abandoned and deteriorating homes back into productive use.

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

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

The Cavalry Is Us: Civil Rights and Cooperative Action

In our nation’s most vulnerable places, every vulnerable person and those more fortunate who care about their well being, are best served when we come together to help ourselves.

Integration as a Means of Combating Inequality

A review of books that delve into the harmful and far-reaching effects of racial segregation and solutions that integration measures can provide.

Oft-Quoted Studies Saying Gentrification Doesn’t Cause Displacement Are “Glaringly Stale”

Oft-cited study concerns 1990s renters already paying huge portions of their income on housing.

Affordability at a Cost: What We Can Learn from Mobility Patterns

East New York has historically been one of the most affordable neighborhoods in New York City. But an influx of wealthier newcomers and rising prices citywide is beginning to change that.

Creative Placemaking: Honoring the Past While Welcoming our Futures

A discussion about honoring the history of a place while actively working to encourage its growth and foster positive change.

Would Trump’s CRA Reform Really “Do No Harm?”

NCRC examined every single Community Reinvestment Act evaluation for mid-size banks conducted during 2016.

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.

When Disaster Hits, Your First Responder Probably will Not Be a...

Social scientists reviewed all the recent research on disaster recovery and tell us that before the coordinated help arrives, before the Red Cross and all the other recovery groups descend with legions of volunteers, there are neighbors.

The Problem with “We Have to Do Something”

This summer, Eve Ewing, a sociologist of race and education at the University of Chicago, wrote an article called “The Chicago Negro and the...

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.

We Are All NIMBYs…Sometimes

If we built enough housing, we would still need subsidized housing for many people, but market prices would be low enough that most people could afford them. But we’ve chosen not to. And the reason we give for that choice, more than any other, is that we are trying to preserve or improve the character of our communities.

Sustainable for Whom? Large-Scale Sustainable Urban Development Projects and “Environmental Gentrification”

Absent a fundamentally new approach to redevelopment planning that places housing affordability at the center of the process, large-scale sustainable development projects are likely to become engines of what has been termed “environmental gentrification.”

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.

Measuring What Really Matters in Community-Based Development Organizations

Developing a road map for performance improvement within CBDOs can be a daunting task, and while their missions are sometimes nebulous, here are some ways to measure them.

Taking Back the Front Porch: Using Art to Reclaim Community Identity

The front porch is a space in-between our private family space and our more public spaces where we create our own definition of “community.” In many parts of Chicago, this space is often a battleground.

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.

Reflecting and Planning Using a Community Wealth Building Lens

Over an organization’s 25 years in existence, how do staff and volunteers measure impact and build off of lessons learned to guide their next steps forward?

20 Years Later, What HOPE VI Can Teach Us

Affordable housing programs are at great risk of elimination under the current administration. In this uncertain climate, what can we learn from a program that leveraged private interest while aspiring to be a protector of affordable housing?

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.

The Silent Expansion of Fiscal Control Boards in the U.S.

The power and process of boards that take control of a city or territory's finances is becoming more generalized, although they affect local democracy, impose austerity measures without controls, and lack mechanisms to evaluate their efficiency.

A New Responsibility for Children’s Hospitals: The Health of Neighborhoods

Children’s hospitals in Ohio are making key investments to address a major cause of poor health — substandard housing.

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. 

Solar Installation Gives New Power To A Community

Located in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., Parkchester Apartments was not unlike some other affordable housing developments in the city. Property owners had come and gone without making adequate investments in the nine-building complex, and residents had all but given up when its tenant association voted to bring in its current owner, The NHP Foundation (NHPF), in 2015. Within months, residents began to see signs of improvement. Top on the list of changes was the realignment of Parkchester’s environmental footprint.

Doctors Join the Fight Against Speculators

Housing crises are health crises. Toxic mold causes asthma. Lack of heat weakens immune systems. Unaffordability causes stress. Forced choices between paying the rent and paying for medical care or food lead to poor health. Around the country, health care institutions that recognize this have started to employ lawyers onsite to help patients fight landlords for better housing conditions or qualify for housing subsidies (plus a range of other legal supports that will generally have direct effect on their health).

False Narratives About Artists Harm Artists, and Communities

In 2002, Richard Florida published a book that kicked off a wave of urban development efforts based on the belief that architects, artists, musicians,...

How About Walkable “Small Town-ism?”

Forgive me if, after living in a small town for seven years, I have forgotten exactly what “walkable urbanism” means. ...

Advocates, Have You Created A Judgment-Free Zone?

How did we get here? What’s to come? Should I be moving to another country??! The last question may seem...

To Move or to Improve?

During a recent national housing conference, a senior HOPE colleague, along with an architect and the mayor of a...

Housing Authority Eliminates Ban of Ex-Offenders

With the approval of new background check procedures, a criminal conviction won't automatically disqualify a person from receiving public housing or voucher assistance in New Orleans.

The Ups (and Downs) of Mixed-Income Transformation in Toronto

The author would like to acknowledge the research assistance of Biwen Liu and Emily Miller as instrumental in the writing of this blog post. This past...

Washington, D.C., and the Future of Equitable Development

For three consecutive years, ONE DC and George Washington University have come together to examine and respond to the various trajectories of uneven development...

4 Groups That Need to Change to Make Mixed-Income Communities Work

As long time affordable housing developers and community builders now working in the area of public housing transformation, we...

Let’s Transform the Zip Codes

The counties and parishes in the Mid South characterized by persistent poverty have the highest unemployment rates, the lowest performing schools, and the worst health.

Schools that Support Students’ Whole Lives

Community schools support kids, families, and neighborhoods in their mission to improve education.

Equitable Development in Shaw

A recent New York Times article on the revitalization of Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood highlighted how real estate developers have rebranded the area to...

Conflict and Placemaking: Tactical Urbanism on Nicollet Mall

Earlier this year, the City of Minneapolis broke ground on a $50 million overhaul of Nicollet Mall, a 12-block centerpiece of its downtown. Like...

Bridging the Age Divide with Clicks, and Bricks

When you take a moment to ponder the technological leap humankind has made in just the past ten years, it's pretty unbelievable. But if...

Community Fears About Shelters, Section 8 Don’t Materialize

NIMBY fights are a big obstacle to allowing lower-income households access to opportunity. Truth is, voucher holders don't increase crime in a neighborhood.

Control of Farmland, City Style

I have thought a lot lately about the issue of land ownership for farmers, and the barriers they face to buying land so they can plan for growing their business and serving more food consumers. This issue really matters on the edges of metropolitan areas, where farmers can find lucrative markets for their products and […]

Shelterforce Poll Results: Community Developers Feel Conflicted About Police

When the conversations surrounding the Michael Brown and and Eric Garner cases were at their strongest late last year, Shelterforce conducted a survey, asking our readers how they felt about the relationship between law enforcement and the communities in which they work and live. The answers we received ran the spectrum, from “Police presence is […]

Policing in Communities of Color: We Want to Hear Your Voice

On Rooflines, bloggers have written directly about events in Ferguson, MO, and indirectly analyzed the social ramifications of racial and economic discrimination going unchecked in communities. From “Three-Strikes” Law enforcement, to sentencing disparity among races in crack/powder cocaine offenses, to aggressive policing strategies in communities of color, the relationship between law enforcement and people of […]

Do the Roads Belong to All of Us?

The other day at a planning board meeting, I heard someone claim that all the roads from the nearest shopping center to their house, a distance of at least three miles, were “residential roads.” That was a new one to me. What he based that on was the fact that there are many houses along […]

What’s The Matter With Atlantic City?

Over the past few months, there’s been a drumbeat of bad news coming out of Atlantic City. Since the beginning of 2014, four casinos have closed, including Revel, which the state of New Jersey granted $261 million in tax breaks to back in 2011 so they could finish construction and open their doors. A fifth […]

After HUD: Seeking New Answers to Old Questions

Three years at HUD gives you quite the perspective.  Ask anyone who has worked in the esteemed Weaver Building—affectionately known...

Answers from Red States for Our Broken Criminal Justice System

Left, right or center, few dispute that our criminal justice system is broken. But two new and thrilling victories this month...

Getting Together–Using National Gatherings to Learn from Each Other

Given our national economic climate and the growing recognition of collaborative, place-based and culturally-grounded approaches, it is only fitting then...

Do Fences Prevent Good Neighbors?

Lately I've been reading about places where communities are separated by fences. Not divided, as if they had previously been...

Can Youngstown Make It On Its Own?

Youngstown is a small city in the hills of northeast Ohio, once famous for steelmaking; and sadly, if famous for...

Once a City Dweller, Always a City Dweller?

Just how strong is the long-term allure of the city to young people today? Sure, cities don't have the...

The March of the Millennial Generation to the Cities is Real

This past fall, the Washington Post ran a series called “The March of the Millennials“ about how this generation...

Better Business, Better Food…Better Community?

At a grand opening for a new retail market operated by a farm family, celebrants posed for a group...

Here’s How CDCs can Overcome the People-Based, Place-Based Gap

“Self interest generalized is community interest” — Kenneth Jones, Community Organizer Throughout my experience in leading NeighborWorks America's Superstorm Sandy response, two critical aspects have...

Nelson Mandela was a Community Organizer

Off the top of your head, what was Nelson Mandela's job title?“Icon?”Nope.“Inspiring speaker?”Nope.“National leader?”Nope.“World figure?”Nope.He was, of course, all of these...

You Put One Seed in the Ground, You Get Many in...

The passing of two annual events: Thanksgiving, a time to celebrate the harvest and by extension with family, and Black Friday, an event that...

Despite Changing Dollar Store Demographic, NIMBY Attitude Persists

Last winter I wrote about a possible trend in which dollar stores were moving into older downtowns, filling vacant...

Homeowner Associations Have Draconian Rules. Why?

I’ve always been somewhat puzzled as to why people choose to buy houses in neighborhoods with homeowner associations (HOAs)....

Community Collaboration Results in Brilliant Transformation

This is a project you truly have to see to believe.Artist Matthew Mazzotta, the Coleman Center for the Arts, and community in York, Alabama,...

Wealth Creation in Hawaii: ‘Aina, ‘Ohana, Aloha

How would you define “wealth”? Owning your own home?Accumulating an abundance of financial resources and goods?Celebrating a network of relationships...

Property Tax Madness: Another Part of the Detroit Puzzle

There are many reasons that Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, and some have already been explored by others on...

Unlikely Poets / Guerrilla Haiku Movement / Sharing The Sidewalk

We hailed down a police car in Orange, N.J., and Police Director John Rappaport pulled over. We explained our...

Community Land Trusts Across the Pond

The CLT sector in the United Kingdom is young but booming

The Community Builder’s Guide to Vacation

We’re all familiar with the benefits of vacations. They keep us healthy and happy. They give us time to...

It’s Our Race Relations, Not the Economy, That Need Healing

Last Thursday, I was listening to Bruce Katz on NPR talk about Detroit’s recent bankruptcy and the set of...

Who Owns That Vacant Building? Scan the Art to Find Out

In a brilliant mash up of classic protest/beautifying strategies and state-of-the-art data management, artists are painting murals on abandoned Baltimore...

Are Poor Families Stuck in Place?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of a new book by the Brookings Institution called Confronting Suburban Poverty...

The Tenacity of Dysfunction

The word resilience has different meanings in different fields. In the field of material science, it refers to the ability of a material to...

To Move Forward, Richmond Must Confront Its Racist Roots

Successful cities adapt. They do not achieve success by remaining static. Adapting might be thought of in terms of building a...

Collective Empowerment or an Invitation to Vigilantes?

Jeremy Liu's post on combining “proactive” and “protective” services to both give people a greater sense of agency and help control costs for municipal...

Can Community Development Solve the Municipal Budget Crisis?

Oakland, Calif., like many cities, is beginning an annual or biennial budget process and coming to terms with the...

Life Without Fossil Fuels

Last fall, I wrote on Rooflines about people in intentional communities who engage with the market economy, even as they...

3 Reasons We’re Not Reaching Rural Communities

Rural communities are being ignored. Again.As discussion of the federal sequester and fights over funding dominate the news channels as well as policy discussions,...

Police Train in Public Housing, Terrorize Neighboring Residents

When Lauren Manning, a resident of the Ida Yarbrough Homes in Albany, NY, posted this public photo on her Facebook...

5 Things Cities and CDCs Don’t Get About Code Enforcement

In most circles, all you have to do is say “code enforcement” and people start mumbling about previous engagements.As I’ve been increasingly immersed in...

Places of the Heart

Everyone has a story about third places—those gathering places that are not home or work—in the communities they have lived...

More than Hair: Barbershops

Last year when I was walking my neighborhood, flyering for the Tale of Two Cities march and feeling out of...

Do Denser, Poorer Areas Need More Third Places?

"In Kibera, the streets are truly the public spaces, and people are out all day, every day: selling, socializing, trading. People make their living—they...

“Where Are They?” Do We Think of Third Places When We...

“No community should be without these kinds of spaces. Therefore, when we think about planning or revitalization efforts...

Hearts of the Neighborhood: “Third Places”

Several years ago, the family-owned florist two buildings down from my house closed. There was great consternation in the neighborhood...

8 New Year’s Resolutions (Wishes?) for the Places Where We Live

It’s almost New Year’s Day, and that means it’s time for everyone to write down their resolutions for 2013. I’d...

Sacred Places

What makes a place sacred? That was the question posed by a recent study that involved a group of East Texas residents. The...

Writing About Recovery

Watching the scenes of devastation coming out of New York City and New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, it's hard not...

Disaster and Recovery

Dear Reader,I’m writing to you from Man About Town’s Brooklyn redoubt – where we have been...

From Farm to Subdivision to Farm… or Forest

Soil is an important word in rural places, for many people's livelihoods have historically depended on it. From good soil...

Notes from the Road: High Rises and the Four Concerns of...

I'm on the road this week, with stops in Chicago, Kalamazoo, and San Antonio. I left Chicago this afternoon by...

In Praise of Farmer’s Markets, Despite Flaws

I love the farmer's market in my county, not far from where I live. It has grown into a lively...