Gaining Ground Viewers Guide

affordable housing

In general, housing for which the occupants are paying no more than 30 percent of their income, including utilities. Some jurisdictions may define affordable housing based on other, locally determined criteria.


The crime of deliberately and maliciously setting a fire to obtain a payout from an insurance company.

community land trust (CLT)

A nonprofit entity that owns land in perpetuity in trust for a community. Different things can be done on that land; In CLT homeownership the land trust selling homes—but not the land underneath them—at a manageable price to families with low or moderate incomes. If they later decide to sell their home, a cap on resale profit keeps the price low to remain affordable to a new family of similar means. In the film, DSNI’s community land trust is mostly referred to simply as a “land trust.” Note: a community land trust is different from a conservation land trust, which is intended to promote protection of open space, though both are often called simply “land trusts.”

Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI).

A community land trust started by Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. It operates as a separate, though closely related, organization.

Dudley Triangle

60-acre triangle within DSNI’s target neighborhood, which is in Roxbury and North Dorchester in the heart of Boston. The Triangle is where Dudley Neighbors, Inc. focuses its work.

eminent domain

The right of a governmental or quasi-public body to acquire private property for public purpose through court action, with the amount of compensation given to the owner determined by the court if they cannot reach agreement on the price. It has frequently been used in poor neighborhoods in very controversial and damaging ways, such as highway construction or “slum clearance” that uprooted thousands of people and destroyed the fabric of communities. However, it can also be used in more positive ways. DSNI is the only private nonprofit ever to be given the right to exercise it.


When borrowers are unable to make full principal and interest payments on their mortgage, this legal procedure allows the lender to seize the property, evict the homeowner and sell the home, as stipulated in the mortgage contract.

general contractor

A person or company hired directly by a client/owner to manage the entirety of a construction project on behalf of the client. A general contractor is responsible for hiring specialized subcontractors as needed, and keeping a project on time, within budget, and meeting all regulations.

illegal dumping

The act dumping all types of waste—from garbage to abandoned vehicles or chemicals—on public or private property, or into sewers or waterways, without a license or permit.


The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

predatory loans

A loan that is intended to make its money in some way other than the borrower being successful with the loan; predatory loans often carry a high interest rates and fees, strip the borrower of equity, are given to a borrower who cannot repay it, or place the borrower in a higher interest loan than they would have qualified for, to the benefit of the lender.


A business or person that carries out work for a general contractor as part of a larger project.

workforce development

An economic development approach that attempts to enhance a region’s economic stability and prosperity by focusing on preparing individuals for jobs through training, certification, etc. and connecting them to employment opportunities.