'16's Top 16 Articles

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Call to Action

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding are developing a report to show members of Congress how federal housing programs have helped low-income families living in rural, suburban, and urban communities. The deadline to submit a success story is Jan. 6.

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Shelterforce's 16 Most Popular Articles of 2016 

2016 was a difficult year in many ways, and we are all buckling down and resting up to prepare for what is to come. But our writers were, as always, a bright spot, continually helping us understand our work in new ways and challenging us to think about that work and our world differently.

We're taking a few days off from the Weekly, but wanted to share with you some of the most-read posts of 2016. They'll be familiar to some of you and new to others, and we hope you enjoy them.

For now, we wish you a happy, healthy, productive New Year! Shelterforce will be with you every step of the way.

--Miriam, Keli, Lillian, Terri, and Harold

16. Give Housing Vouchers Their Full Power
John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service
HUD has finally come through with a major rule change that advocates have wanted for years. Here's what it will mean for voucher holders . . . More

15. Getting Beyond the Developer Fee
Jake Blumgart, journalist, and Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
In tough financial times, community developers are hanging on to their developer fees despite competition, but many are also diversifying their programs and revenue streams. Here's how . . .

14. Is a Meritocracy Really What We Want?
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

13. Think Scattered Site Rehab Is Too Expensive? Think Again.
Karen Black, May 8 Consulting Inc.
We tend to assume it's much simpler, and more cost-effective, to construct and manage a new multifamily building than to try to rehab and manage single-family homes spread over a wide area. But what if that's just not true? More

12. The "Supply-Side" Arguments, and Why Geography, Scale, and Migration Matter
Peter Cohen, San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations
A supply-side approach will never work in the Mission. Here's why . . . More

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11. The REAL Rental Housing Issue
Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress
Millions of people are evicted each year, and millions more move involuntarily without waiting for a formal eviction proceeding. The response from the community development field, for the most part, tends to be to try to build tax credit housing, but . . . More

10. Let's Get Rid of the Words "Property" and "Manager"
Frankie Blackburn, Trusted Space Partners
The one universal ingredient that I repeatedly encounter in each new housing context is the lack of attention to how to recruit, hire, train, support, and manage the property manager. By and large, these hardworking people are underpaid, underappreciated, over stressed. If we, however, reposition the role of property management to be as important as the property's design and financing, we can make significant progress in . . . More

9. Stop Talking About Displacement
Tony Pickett, Urban Land Conservancy
Any veteran community development practitioner must acknowledge the dual responsibility of creating neighborhood improvements while also managing the potential of those improvements to . . . More

8. As Affordability Worsens, State and Local Governments 
Act on their Own
Daniel McCue, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies
Some state and local governments are no longer waiting for federal funds to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis. Here are some ways they're working to keep and add to their stock, but will it be enough? More

7. Gentrification and Public Schools: It's Complicated
Susan Naimark, Education and Community Development Consultant
The return of white, middle-class families to big-city public schools seemed like a pipedream for many decades. A school that has long been made up of lower income black and Latino students can shift within a few years to a majority of white, middle-class students. The new parents get involved in ways the school hasn't seen for many years, welcomed by many as a breath of fresh air. And yet . . .

6. Canada Is Looking Better and Better (The Regent Park Story)
Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress
Since the 1990s, HUD's Hope VI program has demolished hundreds of public housing projects, usually replacing them with lower-density developments that house far fewer people. But is the issue really about density? More

5. How *Not* To Do Economic Development
Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress
Since late 2013, the state of New Jersey has given out $1.1 billion in tax incentives under the Grow NJ program to 16 companies in the city of Camden. Five account for $900 million of this total, but unfortunately all are . . . More

4. Paul Krugman Gets It Wrong on Housing
Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress
Paul Krugman, usually an astute observer, must have been having an off day at the end of November 2015, when he devoted his op-ed column in the New York Times to gentrification in New York City . . . More

3. The Real Reasons Affordable Housing Isn't Being Built in California
Murtaza Baxamusa, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC
In San Diego, private developers are building fewer units than the zoning allows, and avoiding building affordable housing altogether, despite a tower of regulatory incentives being offered to them. Why? More

2. Using the Wrong Tools to Build Affordable Housing
Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress
Along with most Rooflines readers, I believe that having some portion of a community's housing as long-term or permanently affordable is a desirable policy goal. That said, though, I've found myself wondering what might be the best way to actually pursue that goal . . . More

1. Why We Must Build
Rick Jacobus, Street Level Advisors
In hot markets, displacement is a real problem, and there are many ways to address it, but restricting construction shouldn't be one of them . . . More

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In This Issue

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Shelterforce Weekly 
with your colleagues

Black Stripes

Featured Bloggers
Interfaith Worker 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

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

Baltimore Community Foundation

Shelterforce Weekly

Senior Editor, Lillian M. Ortiz

Associate Editor, Keli Tianga

Publisher, Harold Simon

Assistant Publisher, Terri L. Clegg