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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.
ROOFLINESblogging beyond bricks & mortar
Review of The Tenderloin: Sex Death & Resistance in the Heart Of San Francisco
I learned about the history of the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s maligned neighborhood, through walks in it …
Posted by James Tracy on 25 Nov 15
June 25 · Industry News »
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 »
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
From Abandoned Properties to Community Assets
Abandoned properties are a plague across the United States, from rust belt cities like Detroit and Buffalo to small towns like Lima, Ohio, and Waterloo, Iowa. Even in Sunbelt cities such as Houston and Las Vegas, abandonment is a major problem, as investment flows to the periphery, leaving the older, inner neighborhoods behind. In Bringing Buildings Back, Alan Mallach provides policymakers and practitioners with the first in-depth guide to understanding and dealing with the many ramifications that this issue holds for the future of our older cities.