The National Housing Institute supports the individuals and organizations that work to create healthy and thriving communities. NHI is at the intersection of theory, practice and policy in community development. We support the field through our quarterly magazine, Shelterforce, as well as through research, convenings, and our community development blog, Rooflines.
 

ROOFLINES

blogging beyond bricks & mortar
The Hidden Threat of Tax Cuts to Equitable Economic Development

Although the Trump administration’s recent budget proposal offers only a look at expenses, with no numbers …

Posted by Marjorie Kelly on 30 Mar 17

June 25  ·  Industry News »

Phillip Henderson, President, Surdna Foundation

Phillip Henderson was only 38 when he took the helm at the Surdna Foundation seven years ago, becoming Surdna’s second director in what he calls its “modern era.” Henderson came to the family foundation from a career that had been focused on international philanthropy, but he applied many of the lessons he learned fostering civic engagement in post-Communist Europe to Surdna’s domestic grantmaking. Henderson sat down with Shelterforce to talk about aligning program with mission, cross-pollination between programs, and Surdna’s recent launch into the impact investing world. more

May 6  ·  Industry News »

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.

Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.

Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.

When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations.  more

SIGN UP FOR SHELTERFORCE WEEKLY,
our FREE e-newsletter!

RESEARCH »

The Long Road from C.J. Peete to Harmony Oaks

Those charged with redeveloping one of New Orleans’s Big Four public housing developments faced an extreme version of nearly every challenge that public housing redevelopment struggles with. And while it wasn’t perfect, they learned some lessons from their trial by fire that would hold true in other cities as well.

This report was produced by the National Housing Institute with the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Additional support provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Also check out Leila Fiester’s complementary report Investing in New Orleans: Lessons for Philanthropy in Public Housing Redevelopment, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Web Exclusive »

A Shelterforce Roundtable on Regulation and Housing Supply: Where the Left and Right Agree (Sort Of)

Last year, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—a right-leaning libertarian think-tank—issued a report on how to encourage more development of affordable housing. One of the paper’s authors is a longtime Shelterforce reader, and he forwarded the report to us with a note that started: “While you probably are not a fan of the American Enterprise Institute, I expect you’ll find this paper interesting.” He was right on both counts.

The question of regulation and permitting of development is one that crosses usual political lines. In the current political climate, we should be very clear that regulation is not inherently bad, and many regulations have been responsible for our country having breathable air, drinkable water (in some places), and basic levels of safety and equal opportunity. But regulation is also not inherently good—Shelterforce readers are well aware of the effects of redlining and exclusionary zoning, for example.

We gathered some people who have done a lot of thinking and studying of these issues (including Charles Wilkins, the co-author of the aforementioned report) to discuss what it might look like to actually remove obstacles that get in the way of developing less expensive housing options responsibly. What’s possible? What are the trade-offs?

Joining us were Ingrid Gould Ellen of the Furman Center at New York University; Jamaal Green of Portland State University; Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions; Rick Jacobus of Street Level Advisors; Greg Maher of the Leviticus Alternative Fund; Alan Mallach of the Center for Community Progress and a National Housing Institute senior fellow; and Charles Wilkins, a consultant and co-author of the AEI paper.