Shelterforce Series

Under the Lens

Under the Lens series are Shelterforce’s deep dives into specific topics. Here you’ll find features, explainers, solutions, opinion, and conversation around crucial themes in housing and community development. A single Under the Lens series is a focused exploration of a topic—but never the last word.

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Whatever Happened To ...

Magnifying glass in front of an open newspaper with paper houses. Concept of rent, search, purchase real estate.
To know where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. We need to take a look back at how promising or ambitious initiatives panned out, whether trends that seemed to be going strong stayed on course, and how thorny challenges were resolved. In our first official Under the Lens series, we revisit some of our past coverage to ask “Whatever happened to that?”
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LIHTC: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Complicated

A graphic showing buildings, some shaded in red, to illustrate Shelterforce's new Under the Lens series, LIHTC: The Good, the Bad, and the Very Complicated
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program awards billions in tax credits each year to private market investors and developers who promise to build or preserve affordable housing. But the program is notoriously complex. Who enforces its rules? Why is it so dominant in the housing sector? What's the current state of efforts to reform it?
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Not Just Ramps—Disability and Housing Justice

A composite picture that includes blueprint-style drawings on blue, a row of apartments in pink and a tall tower in blue. Large figures are a smiling young woman with long black hair and a smiling young man in a wheelchair. Smaller images include people with canes and in wheelchairs, and two men seated on a bench at a bus stop, the older one wearing dark glasses and holding a cane.
This series explores the intersection of housing and disability. What do we find when we take a disability justice lens to the question of accessible and affordable housing? Shelterforce delves into some of the different laws that are supposed to require accessible spaces and reduce discrimination, the tactics and resources housing developers can use to create disability-forward housing, and lots more.
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New AFFH Rules: What You Need to Know

A black and white photo of seven people protesting racial discrimination in housing on a street corner, as a 1950s-era Buick drives past. The signs read "Stop racial discrimination now!"; "I support open housing"; "Don't patronize picture floor plans"; and a hand-lettered sign says "There can be no innocent bystanders." Most of the people in the photo are people of color; two are hidden by their signs.
What’s the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision? How has it been enforced in the past? And what do fair housing advocates think of the Biden Administration's proposed changes?
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Tenant Power Returns

An illustration show tenants rallying on the streets. Some have signs that read "Rent is Too Damn High." The illustration is part of Shelterforce's series "Tenant Power Returns."
In this series Shelterforce dives deep into the past, present, and future of tenant organizing. We take a closer look at the components of what many organizers call a tenants bill of rights and give you accessible ways to share them with others, plus lots more.
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Homes or Cash Cows?

An illustration of homes on a conveyor belt going through a machine and coming out as golden homes. Green dollar bills are coming out of the homes. This illustrates the financialization of housing.
Nowadays housing is treated more as an instrument for financial gain than a place for shelter. How has this way of thinking changed the market? In this series we explore what people mean when they talk about the "financialization" of housing, some of its causes and effects, and what housing advocates are trying to do about it.
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ADUs Explained

This series covers major policy considerations in legalizing accessory dwelling units, how they get built and financed, and the role they can play in our affordable housing landscape.
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The Racial Wealth Gap—Moving to Systemic Solutions

As important as homeownership, business ownership, and higher education are, we must go beyond simply promoting more of each if we want to close the racial wealth gap. In this series, Shelterforce widens the lens on the racial wealth gap and what needs to be done about it.
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Building Differently

Experiments to lower construction costs, from utilizing shipping containers to 3D printing, have been happening for years. But have we found anything that will help us build affordable housing at scale, and for less? And if not, what will it take to get us there?
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Community Ownership Takes Center Stage

Community land trusts and cooperatives are two of the most prominent models of community ownership, and ones we’ve written about for many years. In this series we take a focused look at some of the ways these forms of community ownership are evolving.
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Health Sector 101

Housing is health care. The truth of that statement is clearer now than ever before. But knowing that partnering with the health sector is a good idea and understanding how to do it are two different things. This series talks about what often doesn't get said. Who are the players in the health sector, and what are their incentives to address social determinants of health? What is the difference between public health and medical care? How do partnerships get started?
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6 Radical Ideas

Shelterfoce
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Housing for People, Not for Profit

Better Living by Urban Restoration