Photo Credit: Olga Lopez
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Policy and Research

Photo Credit: Olga LopezMcAuley stays abreast of studies and statistics documenting America's affordable housing crisis. We profile the work of community organizations so that their experiences can inform policy and the community development field as a whole. We facilitate ongoing communication between the groups we work with and their elected representatives. And we issue background papers and action alerts on housing-related issues of concern to women.

Policy Analysis

Unlocking the Door IV. In early 2000, we will publish "Unlocking the Door IV," a collection of facts and policy recommendations to promote housing and economic security for women and their families. Written by experts from national and local nonprofit organizations, "Unlocking" is intended to inform advocates and candidates concerned about women's issues, among which housing is a primary concern. Watch this site for release of "Unlocking the Door IV."


Rooted in Catholic social justice teaching and belief in the dignity of every human person, McAuley advocates for policies that curb poverty and homelessness, conditions that disproportionately affect women and children.

Today's economy does not produce decent housing affordable to lower income families without some subsidy. Usually a combination of public and private resources are required, along with an infusion of nonprofit and voluntary effort. McAuley advocates for more support measures that fight discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender. We support policies that strengthen communities, including homeownership opportunities for women. And, knowing that domestic violence is the leading cause of women's homelessness, we support housing programs for women fleeing abuse.

McAuley's advocacy program encourages the active engagement of citizens and communities with their elected representatives. We provide information and tools to facilitate such communication. Learn more by visiting the Making Your Voice Heard section of our website.

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Campaign 2000

  • Find out what the candidates have been saying about housing and community development issues.
  • Submit testimony to the DNC and RNC platforms on-line.
  • Contact the candidates and let them know what you think.
  • See the Campaign 2000 National Platform for Housing and Community Development.

    All of this is available at the Campaign 2000 website.


    Photo Credit: Olga LopezWomen Creating Social Capital and Social Change and its executive summary, Women as Catalysts for Social Change, are reports of a two-year collaborative research effort by McAuley Institutes and the Howard Samuels State Management and Policy Center at the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York. The study was based on more than 140 in-depth interviews with women leaders of community-based development organizations in urban and rural sites in nine regions across the country including Boston, Chicago, Delta (Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas), El Paso, Houston, North Carolina, Oakland, Portland and Washington, D.C.

    The study findings highlight the critical roles women community development leaders play in creating social capital in their communities, the holistic and comprehensive nature of the programs they create and the centrality of their spirituality to their sustained commitment to social change work. The study also documents how race, class, ethnicity and gender remain significant barriers to the work of many women in the communities studied. The executive summary, Women as Catalysts for Social Change, proposes a series of recommendations designed to address these barriers and more effectively support the significant work women are doing to rebuild distressed communities and meet the specific needs of women and girls.

    McAuley is working to translate the research into effective training, technical assistance and leadership development models for women and to integrate the findings into our work on enhancing the economic security of women in low-income communities.

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    Order the Reports

    The study is available in three versions that may be downloaded or ordered here. You may also order reports by contacting McAuley Institute at 301-588-8110; fax 301-588-8154. Please note: reports that can be downloaded are in pdf format and require Adobe Acrobat to read. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat, please download a free copy before you download a report.

    To order a report please check the box in the "Order" column, fill in the number of copies in the "Quantity" column and provide us with your name, address, etc. in the spaces below. To send us your order please click the "Submit Order" button. All prices include postage and handling. You will be billed by McAuley Institute.

    Title Order Quantity
    Women Creating Social Capital and Social Change: A Study of Women-led Community Development Organizations by Marilyn Gittell Isolda Ortega-Bustamante and Tracy Steffy. Full report of findings, text only, 171 pp. $6.00     Download Now

    Women as Catalysts for Social Change: A Study of Women-led Community Development Organizations, Executive summary with recommendations and photography, 56 pp. $9.00   Download Now

    La Mujer como Agente del Cambio Social: Estudio de Organizaciones de Desarrollo Comunal Dirigidas por Mujeres, Spanish version of executive summary with recommendations and photography, 56 pp. $9.00   Download Now

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    We Want Your Feedback!

    We are interested in your response to the study and would like to know how it might be useful to you in your work. Please send us your comments.

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    Please click "Submit Comments" to send us your comments.


    Part of McAuley's research agenda is to document the effectiveness of our services and, in turn, the outcomes of the community groups we assist. We have formed a partnership with the Development Leadership Network to implement the Success Measures Project nationwide. The Success Measures Project is a practitioner-driven process to assist community-based organizations to measure the benefits of their work in the areas of housing, economic development and comprehensive community building initiatives.

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    McAuley initiated this seven-step program to facilitate partnerships between faith-based institutions, community-based groups and financial institutions in 1994. The goal is to increase the flow of capital into the low-income communities where McAuley is active. BankRight encourages financial institutions -- especially faith-based entities -- to examine their banking practices from a socially conscious perspective. McAuley has developed and disseminated BankRight - A Guide to Socially Responsible Investment, containing educational information and action tips on community reinvestment. Future updates are anticipated to address changes in community investment legislation.

    Organizing, Networking and Coalition Building

    McAuley plays an active role in the national policy arena through participation in a wide variety of advocacy networks and coalitions. McAuley has been particularly vocal on issues of domestic violence (a major contributor to homelessness among women) and has been instrumental in creating draft legislative language for the Violence Against Women Act. McAuley is an active member of the National Council of Women's Organizations, US Women Connect and Social Compact.

    If you would like more information about McAuley's Policy Education and Advocacy work, please fill out our information form.

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