- TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBORS! Identify their needs
and interests. Suggest that by working together, you might be able
to meet some of those needs! Listening is an important first step.
Relationships are the most important element in forming a tenants
A CORE GROUP to plan a collective action in response to the tenants
concerns. Don’t worry too much about nay-sayers at this early
stage. Seek the support of “opinion leaders”—the people that
others tenants listen to.\
- DO A LITTLE RESEARCH:
- Who owns the property? What other properties do
- Does a public agency (HUD, USDA,OHFA) oversee the property?
- Does the city or county have an interest in your
health and safety concerns? Who are the local government officials in
- Who in your community can help? Who can write, draw?
Who has Email? Who can type?Who can make copies? Who has a car and time to run errands?
- SPONSOR AN
INFORMATIONAL MEETING. Everyone wants to know what’s going on.
An information meeting is a good way to bring people together to
discuss their common interests. One funny thing that happens at an
informational meeting is that tenants discover that they are all
having similar problems or concerns. You will hear: “Until
tonite, I thought I was the only one…” At the end of the
meeting, discuss taking COLLECTIVE ACTION.
- DECIDE TO TAKE ACTION.
- You don't need to have 100% cooperation before you act. What you need is a committed group and a silent majority who won't oppose what you're doing
- Collective action could include:
- a petition or sign on letter
- gathering individual complaint
- a meeting with the manager
that tenants can DO as a GROUP.
- FIND A HELPER.
Somewhere in your community there's a person or organization with experience in
forming a grassroots organization and/or addressing citizen
concerns. Ask for help!
- PLAN YOUR
organizing committee will focus on setting up simple bylaws,
recruiting leadership, and planning for elections. Whatever you decide about structure, write it down. Having written bylaws means that you have agreed on how to work together. Even if you find you need to change them later, by laws are your agreement among yourselves.
- Remember that your bylaws should reflect the four principles: meet regularly, operate democratically, inclusive of all the tenants at the property, and independent of management.
- Work for consensus. Even tenants who don't participate in the organization should have a voice in how the organization is structured. If you claim to represent 'the tenants' give everyone a voice in setting up the organization.
- CHOOSE GOALS. While you’re organizing, your
strategy committee will propose the goals for the coming year. Pick
five! two goals that are within reach, two that are harder and will
take longer, one that’s “impossible” and you might lose, but
it’s worth the effort.
- ELECT and CELEBRATE.
Use your tenant organization election as a time to bring people together
for a social & spiritual festival of solidarity and