Opportunity Is Overrated

In this issue: Do Eviction Screenings Violate the Fair Housing Act? ● Homelessness: A Mom Turns Advocate ● In Memoriam: Marva Smith Battle-Bey
Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Online Report Launch | Our Neighborhoods: Asian American & Pacific Islander Anti-Displacement Strategies | Wednesday, May 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. EDT

In the midst of the current urban housing crisis, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) and Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement launch their report with this webinar, highlighting 24 innovative strategies used by local community-based organizations across the country to address displacement in their neighborhoods.

Webinar | Engaging Parents in Their Children's Financial Development | Thursday, May 12, 2-3 p.m. EDT

Join CFED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a presentation about engaging parents in their children's financial development. CFED will present research on the role parents play in teaching their children about money, and the CFPB will share information about the resources they are developing for parents and how they are being used by practitioners. Click here to register, and to learn more about contributing your stories before the webinar.


Federal Home Loan Bank of New York | Affordable Housing Program

AHP funds are awarded to members who submit applications on behalf of project sponsors planning to purchase, rehabilitate, or construct affordable homes or apartments. Learn more.

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Marva Smith Battle-Bey, director of the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation in Los Angeles, which she founded in 1979, passed away on April 7th. Battle-Bey was well known not only in Los Angeles, where she played a major role in rebuilding South LA after the 1992 riots, but in the community development and community reinvestment world at large . . . Read more

Out of Homelessness, A Mom Turns Advocate
Fred McKissack, Jr., Center for Community Change
The programs made possible by the McKinney-Vento act are no stranger to housing and anti-poverty advocates and educators, but the law is hardly known to the rest of the country, even those who are directly helped by it . . .  More

Opportunity Is Overrated
David Imbroscio, University of Louisville
Much of liberal urban policy focuses on what liberals see as a kind of "unholy trinity" of barriers that stem from inadequate schooling, troubled families, and poverty-impacted neighborhoods. Yet there is a great body of evidence showing that efforts to break down these barriers yield only marginal results in promoting meritocratic social mobility for the urban poor, while at the same time imposing significant costs on the most vulnerable. There is another way . . .  More

Does Screening for Eviction Records Violate the Fair Housing Act?
Eva Wingren, Young Leaders in Affordable Housing
If we can't prevent every eviction that violates the Fair Housing Act, we may be able to interrupt the cycle of housing instability that evictions can start. HUD's new guidance on using criminal background to refuse to rent may provide a model . . .  More

Event | The Future of Rural Communities: Implications for Housing
Shelterforce editor Miriam Axel-Lute will moderate the closing plenary of this May 10th policy forum, which will explore the changing demographic and economic trends that are exacerbating existing housing and community development policy misalignments in rural communities. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Board, with partners including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NeighborWorks America, and the Housing Assistance Council. Closing plenary will also feature Shelterforce bloggers John Henneberger and Bill Bynum. Live stream available here at 8:30 a.m. on May 10.

You Said It!

On Leveling the Playing Field for Tenants Facing Eviction

. . . There is very little doubt that aiding tenants in staying in their apartments--besides stabilizing their home lives--would also raise the floor on habitable housing. Ms. Blankley's assertion that legal representation would encourage tenants to form tenant associations would also have the effect of giving tenants a sense of permanence and build better communities . . . --Abbott Gorin

On There's No Shortage of Low-Quality Housing

I tend to think this is a missing component of the supply-side filtering argument. It's been shown rather convincingly that housing does indeed filter . . . but our understanding of what that filtered housing looks like when it reaches the bottom of the market is lacking . . .
--Daniel Kuhlmann

Tenements near to factory jobs are not a feasible solution today when so many jobs are in the suburbs, which are built around cars . . . --Stan Hirtle

. . . The biggest factor here, really, is the disparity between wages and housing costs. It's a completely different discussion whether there is sufficient decent rental property in the market, if people had sufficient wages to choose better. --Bill Lazar

"Housing quality" means more than the building codes to which a unit was constructed or its current state of repair. The quality of housing can also be measured by design features, amenities and the use of materials that exceed the minimum building codes . . . Legislating middle class standards for the size, density, features and amenities of housing clearly makes housing less affordable . . . --Jerry Rioux

[Emily Washington's] point is that numerous TYPES of housing that were suitable for the poor
. . . have been ruled out by zoning codes. The fact that other technically permissible forms of housing are poorly maintained is not inconsistent with her argument at all. In fact, the two go together . . . --Michael Lewyn

Author Reply

. . . The question remains whether such building standards are drivers of increased housing expenses and compared to zoning . . . The argument remains that the QUALITY of housing is probably not a big driver of housing affordability issues either from the developer or renter end. --Jamaal Green

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Housing Policy Research Manager/Director
Policy research, preservation clearinghouse and database management, maintain information on benefits of public investment in California affordable low-income rental housing, communicate findings by writing reports, studies, and blogs to educate policy-makers and . . . Read Full Listing
Housing Counselor
This position will provide direct client outreach, financial fitness, and credit based one-on-one education and training with a broad range of clients. Community outreach, attendance at community events, making presentations, relationship building with other agencies, and recruitment of clients are a priority for this position, as well as . . .  Read Full Listing

Research Manager
The Research Manager has primary responsibility for designing and implementing our research program in order to advance best practices and innovations in housing programs and policies that lead to lasting affordability and more inclusive communities. S/he will oversee all aspects of Research, including . . . Read Full Listing 

Marketing and Support Specialist
HomeKeeper Program
Responsible for growing the Salesforce/ HomeKeeper membership community and helping nonprofits and local governments become successful users. Leads all activities related to marketing, sales, onboarding and orientation. S/he coordinates internal and external projects and manages . . . Read Full Listing 
Community Development Director 

The CD Director will prepare assessments and inventories of existing community conditions and resources potentially useful for revitalization and related projects in cooperation with local businesses, community-based groups, individual residents, appropriate city departments and other nonprofit . . . Read Full Listing  
Director - Homebuilding & Stabilization   

This position requires a breadth and depth of real estate experience, and a genuine commitment to the mission of building and preserving quality housing and transforming communities. Responsible for leading all single-family real estate development activities for the organization, including integration with broader neighborhood stabilization . . . Read Full Listing 
Sawmill Community Land Trust
Executive Director
Responsible for overall management and operations of this membership based, non-profit organization in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Executive Director will implement policies set by the Board, as well as annual goals and objectives, financial, programs, and administrative oversight of the organization . . . Read Full Listing

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In This Issue

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Shelterforce Weekly 
with your colleagues...

Featured Bloggers
Center for Health, Environment
& Justice

Murtaza Baxamusa
Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC

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

Ana Garcia-Ashley
Gamaliel Foundation

Jamaal Green
Portland State University

Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

Lisa Hodges
Hodges Development, LLC

Planner, Louisa County, Va.

National CAPACD

Rick Jacobus
Street Level Advisors

Daniel Kravetz
Freelance Writer


Center for Community Progress

Alexandra Moffett-Bateau
City University of New York

Tulane University

Habitat for Humanity

National Urban League


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities  


San Francisco Community 
Land Trust

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Shelterforce Weekly

Senior Editor, Lillian M. Ortiz

Associate Editor, Keli Tianga

Publisher, Harold Simon

Assistant Publisher, Terri L. Clegg