Have We Been Wasting Affordable Housing Money?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015



Online Event | PIMBY: Philanthropy in My Back Yard | December 15

Place-based philanthropy. What does it mean to do it well, and what are the pitfalls? National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy offers this webinar with nonprofit leaders on the ground to ask: how should foundations investing in our communities behave to ensure that all of us thrive? Register here.


Making the Case for Linking Community Development and Health, a new report by Build Healthy Places Network, offers tools for connecting community development and health--two sectors that have previously worked in relative isolation from each other. The full report is available here.

Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America are offering on-site technical assistance workshops with the Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative. This opportunity will provide state and local leaders with new ideas, resources, and capacity for building transit-oriented development. Learn more and register for the optional December 10 informational webinar here.


AARP offers the 2016 Aging in Place $50K Challenge. An extension of their Foundation Prize for Startups, it gives competitors a chance to win a $50,000 cash prize for the most innovative solution that will help low-income adults 50 and older continue to live safely, independently and comfortably in their own homes as they age. Application process open until May 2016. Apply here.

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Photo by Eleanor Cohen
Remembering Rick Cohen
Rick Cohen, a Shelterforce contributor, passed away suddenly on November 17. Known for his prolific writing focused on nonprofits and responsible philanthropy, Cohen began his career in the community development world, working at both LISC and Enterprise, and as the head of Jersey City's Dept of Housing and Economic Development. We asked two of Shelterforce's founders who knew Rick well to share some memories of him with our readers . . .  More 

Have We Been Wasting Affordable Housing Money?

Jake Blumgart, freelance reporter, researcher, and editor   
We've carefully crafted a system that, by design, destroys all the affordable housing it creates. Now what?  More 

City on the Ropes, Nonprofits Step In

Judy Perlman, The Cloudburst Group 
In Flint's Division of Community and Economic Development (CED), staff reductions caused by falling city revenues threatened its ability to administer its HUD programs, and became so acute in 2013 that the city was hard-pressed--and in some cases, completely unable--to administer its housing programs and services. It had few choices then, but is now rebounding. How? More 

Anchoring Place-Based Improvements With People-Centered Opportunities

Cy Richardson, National Urban League   
Failure to explicitly link residents to the prosperity of their neighborhoods via revitalization efforts can (and has) led to gentrification and the subsequent destabilization of longstanding cultural and social ties. This should be a concern for all of us working to build community-based resilience . . .  More 

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You Said It!

"In Florida, Community Land Trust homeowners have a protection against escalating taxes in gentrifying communities. Florida Law was amended to allow that CLT properties, no matter the true value, can only be taxed at the resale-restricted value. This is an important rule but it must be enacted State by State." --Anthony Jones, more

Author Reply

"Thank you, Anthony, this is very helpful and we are always interested in learning about advances made nationally. We're working to implement a Community Land Trust model for homeowners in New York City and are very excited about their potential for preserving permanent affordability. We'll see if we can replicate the Florida law for New York!." --Christie Peale, more

The Answer

Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else?

A: No, they do not.

Market-rate developers are business people. They charge as much as the market will bear. When housing prices go up, they charge more; when housing prices go down, they ask less. Developers are "price-takers" not "price-setters" because they only control a tiny share of the housing market. A large majority of rental and for-sale housing is located in existing buildings, not in brand-new buildings, limiting the influence of new housing, and inclusionary requirements, on home prices.

The Answer is for you to use. You can download a PDF to print here

Looking for a Job?

Editorial Position

President and Chief Executive Officer National Low Income Housing Coalition 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Founded in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. NLIHC's goals are . . .
Read Full Listing 

Shelterforce magazine, the voice of community development, is seeking a sharp, organized, detail-oriented, flexible, cause-driven person to join our small editorial staff. We are a 40-year-old nonprofit that publishes both online and in print, serving practitioners working in the fields of affordable housing, community development and reinvestment, community organizing, community planning, creative placemaking, progressive urban planning, community economic development, racial and economic equity and justice, and related fields and movements . . . Read Full Listing

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In This Issue

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Featured Bloggers
Center for Health, Environment & Justice

Housing Assistance Council

Michael Bodaken
National Housing Trust

Raphael Bostic
USC Price School of Public Policy

Janis Bowdler
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

HOPE Credit Union

Burlington Associates

Democracy Collaborative

Tufts University

Jamaal Green
Portland State University

Fund for Public Schools

Lisa Hodges
Hodges Development, LLC

Planner, Louisa County, Va.

National CAPACD

Rick Jacobus
Street Level Advisors

Opportunity Agenda


National Housing Institute

Alexandra Moffett-Bateau
City University of New York

Tulane University

Habitat for Humanity

National Urban League


ACLU Maryland

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities  

San Francisco Community 
Land Trust

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Shelterforce Weekly

Associate Editor, Keli Tianga

Publisher, Harold Simon 

Assistant Publisher, Terri L. Clegg