About Shelterforce

Shelterforce is the nation’s oldest continually published housing and community development magazine. For more than three decades, Shelterforce has been a primary forum for organizers, activists, and advocates in the affordable-housing and neighborhood revitalization movements.

Shelterforce is published by the National Housing Institute, an independent nonprofit organization that examines the issues causing the crisis in housing and community in America. These issues include poverty and racism, disinvestment and lack of employment, safety, education, and breakdown of the social fabric. NHI examines how these and other factors affect people as they try to build safe, viable neighborhoods.

NHI searches for what does and does not work in community-building. In our 30-plus years of existence, Shelterforce has become the leading publication for community-building professionals and other stakeholders in creating vibrant communities.

We are dedicated to providing the tools (information, analysis, resources) for advocates, activists, and community members to organize their communities, rebuild their neighborhoods, and create decent housing and living-wage jobs for the families who live there.

A How-To for Community Builders

In 1975, Shelterforce began as a “how-to” publication for tenant activists. Shelterforce helped tenants, tenant organizers, and tenant advocates (e.g. legal aid lawyers) learn how to be more effective in securing tenants’ rights to safe, decent homes.

Over the years, as inner-city neighborhoods experienced an onslaught of disinvestment, crime, and family disintegration, the focus has changed. During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Shelterforce began to examine a wider range of community-building issues, always with the goal of empowering individuals and groups to take control of their communities so that they can effect real change.

Shelterforce has established itself as a vital link in policy development—providing clear and understandable analysis of important policy issues (as well as concise descriptions of rules and regulations) to grass-roots activists while providing input from the grass-roots to local, state, and national policymakers.

Shelterforce Recent Contributors

NCRC President and CEO John Taylor
Community activist Geraud Blanks
UC Davis assistant professor Michael McQuarrie
NHI board members John Atlas, Peter Dreier, Pat Morrissy, and Greg Squires
In These Times senior editor David Moberg
NeighborWorks America management consultant Keith Getter
The Leading Institute executive director Leonardo Vazquez
REACH Community Development executive director Dee Walsh
Inclusive Communities Project president Elizabeth Julian
Center for Social Inclusion deputy director Mafruza Khan
NeighborWorks America’s director of rural initiatives David Dangler
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development policy analyst Shomon Shamsuddin

Moving Toward the Future

As a part of the National Housing Institute, Shelterforce is driven by NHI’s vision of once-devastated communities rebuilt by empowered residents. Founded by grass-roots activists such as tenant organizer and legal services lawyer John Atlas and Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, NHI’s board is composed of community-based organization representatives and individuals devoted to economic and social justice.