MTO Spring Event was a Hit!

On, May 8th MTO held its Annual Spring Fundraiser “Champions of Freedom & Fairness”. This years’ theme paid homage to community groups and advocates working to advance housing justice. Awardees included, the National Public Housing Museum, Casa Maravilla Tenants Association, Kandyse McCoy-Cunningham, and Lifetime Housing Champion, Taft West. With the support of sponsors, donors, and members MTO raised $20,000 to support Chicago area renters seeking support and increase tenant stability to prevent homelessness. There is still time and opportunity for you to support tenant organizing and renter stability if you couldn’t join us last month at Masada Restaurant- click here for more information

Thank You to ALL our 2019 Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor- Related MidwesGold Sponsors- West Town Law Offices; Faith & Mark SpencerChicago Community Loan Fund
Silver Sponsors Community Investment Corporation (CIC)Elevate EnergyJoan Fenstersmaker Attorney at LawLaw Offices of Hall; Adams; Loevy & Loevy, Civil Rights, Law Firm; People’s Law Office;Viatorian Community of the Province of Chicago; Joseph Vitu, Attorney at LawThink Inc.Network-It-Easy ; Everywhere WirelessEverywhere WirelessLaw Offices of Berton N. Ring, P.C Lawyers’ Committee for Better HousingMichelle Liffick 
Bronze Sponsors– Law Office of David S. Morris;; Irene Dymkar, Civil Rights Attorney
Supportive Sponsor- Masada’s Restaurant

Bronzeville Residents Take A Stand Against Displacement

When tenants organize, great things happen! Their power gained and their power leveraged empowers them to affect qualitative housing change in their lives.
In the beginning of May, the tenants living on Drexel Boulevard contacted MTO about an invalid demolition notice posted on their doors. The notice essentially said that they had to move in 15 days and vacate because demolition work would start at the end of May-typical gentrification scare tactic. At the time of the call to MTO, there was stagnant sewage water in the basement and the lobby, the building’s elevator was in disrepair and rodents and roaches reportedly thrived in the units. A couple of ceilings were caving in and to top it off, tenants were not able to receive their mail because the front door was inaccessible-and some of these tenants needed medical supplies for serious health conditions. Providing little or no maintenance to buildings is another tactic some property owners use to push tenants out of their buildings.  
MTO and the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing was immediately involved and tenants received a workshop on their housing rights. Two weeks later, tenants organized a tenant association and change was already happening.As indicated on their demolition notice the management company (312 Properties LLC) sent a crew to start demolition at the building. The front lobby was demolished; they got rid of garbage bins, and tore out laundry room washers and dryers. The back porch stairwells were full of garbage and rats.
Tenants who at first were afraid just to meet and talk about their housing issues, were now indignant and outraged. They had gotten no notice from the work crew, there were no city issued work permits posted anywhere on the building. Tenants took immediate action! They flooded 311 and the management company with calls for two straight days. They got inspection reference numbers and most importantly got the city to stop the work at the building. The city posted a bright orange stop work sticker at the main entrance of the building. Illegal demolition has now ceased and the management company had created a lockout situation in violation of the Chicago Landlord and Residents Ordinance. The management company had no choice but to come out a meet with new tenant association and hear their demands. While problems persist, the building is now clean, the sewage problem is gone, the mail delivery issue is being solved, demolished walls now have plastic covers and the porches are now clean.  The association is currently negotiating relocation funds and a move-out timetable. The alderwomen got an urgent request for a meeting and they are prepared to go to the media with their housing issues. The tenants are prepared to fight back!From fear to courage, the organizing of tenants in Bronzeville is an example of tenant power against housing adversity. Chicago needs more tenants fighting back against inhumane property owners and their enforcement management companies.

You’re Invited to the Party

Get Your Tickets to MTO’s Spring Affair
as we celebrate
Champions of Freedom & Fairness


Wednesday, May 8, 2019 6pm-8pm
  Masada’s Restaurant, 2206 N. California Ave. (Lower Level)

Sponsorship Opportunities are Available (here)
General Admission Tickets $75.00
MTO Members only rate $65.00

Click here for Tickets

This years’ Champions of Freedom & Fairness Honorees

Thank You to ALL our 2019 Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor- Related Midwest Gold Sponsors- West Town Law Offices; Faith & Mark Spencer; Chicago Community Loan Fund
Silver Sponsors Community Investment Corporation (CIC); Elevate Energy; Joan Fenstersmaker Attorney at Law; Law Offices of Hall; Adams; Loevy & Loevy, Civil Rights, Law Firm; People’s Law Office; Viatorian Community of the Province of Chicago; Joseph Vitu, Attorney at Law; Think Inc.; Network-It-Easy ; Everywhere Wireless; Everywhere Wireless, Law Offices of Berton N. Ring, P.C Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Michelle Liffick
Bronze SponsorsLaw Office of David S. Morris;; Irene Dymkar, Civil Rights Attorney
Supportive Sponsor- Masada’s Restaurant

For general questions and info about sponsorship opportunities, membership status, ticket purchase, donations, and accessibility contact Aisha Truss-Miller, Development Manager (773) 292-4980 ext. 236 or aisha@tenants-rights.org

A Home for the Holidays, and Beyond

Caroline, a 73-year old retiree living on the western edge of Humboldt Park, is so grateful for MTO’s new Eviction Prevention Collaboration.  Caroline lives on Social Security.  On the third Wednesday of each month, she receives her SSI check and pays her rent.  Unfortunately, Caroline ended up in the hospital recently and suddenly couldn’t pay the rent.  Caroline informed her landlord that the rent was going to be late.  The landlord agreed and told Caroline could pay the late rent in installments.

When Caroline went to make her next payment, the landlord suddenly refused the rent and gave her a 30-day notice to vacate her home of the past 5 years by the end of December. The landlord further threatened her by telling her she was going to start showing the unit the very next day.  Frantic and not knowing what to do, Caroline called MTO’s Eviction Prevention Collaboration.  MTO’s case manager suggested that she talk with the landlord before writing a letter. The landlord said no, and told her to just “get out.” With help from MTO’s case manager, Caroline wrote a letter which reiterated the verbal agreement between they had made.  The landlord did not respond to the letter.  The case manager suggested she write one more letter and try paying rent when her next check arrives. 

This time the landlord accepted the rent.  Caroline was ecstatic.  There would be no court case. The sheriff would not be coming to her home. She would still have a home after the holidays.  You can make sure that Caroline and others like her continue to have a home by donating to MTO.

Every year there are more than 25,000 evictions filed in Cook County.  Many more are evicted outside of the court system. Thousands of tenants are displaced.  Their lives disrupted.  Their communities destabilized.  With your financial help, MTO can help stop evictions.  Donate now.

Giving Back to Community

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#Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It’s grown as part of the kick off to the holiday season with vast choices of social causes to support online and via social media platforms. #Giving Tuesday is simply a Day of Giving.

For MTO, like many organizations working to build a fair and just society, Giving Tuesday outreach is about more than charity. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for us all to invest in social change. No gift is too small or too large when it comes to supporting Chicago & Cook County renters through the work of MTO. Every year we serve over 10,000 low-income households. These families are vulnerable because their housing is at risk.  And like you, tenants want and need is access to healthy, safe, and affordable housing to stabilize their lives and our city’s’ future. Without a stable and healthy home, children are stressed and less likely to excel in school, parents and young adults struggle to sustain employment, and emergency room visits become routine; even worse, unstable housing may lead to a family’s homelessness or displacement. Our communities are resilient and will grow and thrive if given the opportunity.  At MTO, we fight with renters for housing stability and equity, which is needed and long overdue. You can join us in taking a stand by donating and volunteering.  Donate now to invest in the change Chicago’s renters and communities deserve.

Read about how the Borner Family took action for their health, housing, and stability here:

Ms. Borner lives on the Southside with her daughter and granddaughter.  The family was referred to MTO because of severe housing repairs.  The home had major water damage which resulted in significant areas of mold, chipping paint, and large holes in the ceiling.  Both Ms. Borner and her daughter suffer from asthma which under the apartment conditions could lead to them being hospitalized.  The family welcomed MTO’s Healthy Homes Organizer into their home to do an assessment. After the inspection she discussed the apartment’s health homes hazards with the family.  MTO worked with the family to document the problems and sent photos and letters to the landlord requesting repairs.  At first the landlord did nothing.  So the family followed up with more pictures and a statement from their doctor stating the housing problems could be triggering the family’s asthma and impacting other health concerns.  After going over their rights and getting insight on landlord retaliation the family decided to call the City and requested an inspection from the Department of Buildings.  After the inspection the landlord finally acted.  Now all the issues have been repaired. The Borner Family used the tools and support of MTO to stabilize their health and housing. The still live in their Southside apartment and now they are breathing easier.

It’s stories of families like the Borner’s that inspires MTO to keep pushing housing solutions to advance the accessibility and stability of healthy affordable housing that every child and person needs and deserves. Housing is a Human Right!! Take a stand with MTO. Invest in change this holiday season. Your donation makes a world of difference.

 

Get Ready for Bowl-a-thon 2018 this August!

Chicago is full of summer fun, festivals, and community events. But if you haven’t experienced the Bowl-a-thon with your MTO family you may be missing out on BIG TIME Summer fun for a GREAT CAUSE- Housing for All! You can choose to join a team, pledge to a team, and/or purchase general admission tickets for pizza, “adult” drinks, raffles, prizes, and more. Bowl-a-thon is not just a fundraiser, it’s a FRIENDS & FUN Raiser!!! We hope to see you there. For more information view the details below or contact Aisha (773) 292-4980 ext. 236, aisha@tenants-rights.org

 

Celebrate with us! MTO June Fundraiser

MTO’s Annual Fundraiser is around the corner and this year’s theme is in recognition of women of color who take action to fight for housing justice and human rights, like Shirley Chisholm– an advocate for civil and human rights, as well as, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives 50 years ago and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Our theme drives home a notable Chisholm quote:

If they don’t give you a seat at the table bring a folding chair.”

             

Like Chisholm, MTO and our supporters are committed to building shared, collective power and responsibility through the education and empowerment of renters in need. People most impacted by decisions and policies must have seats at the decision making tables because the inclusion of their voice, expertise, and creativity is what democracy looks like. Democracy is an inclusive action that requires the time, energy, and investment of us all to create positive social change. Thank you for supporting housing justice, equity, and human rights with MTO!

Get your tickets here! Join us in celebrating the impact women of color who have not only brought their voice, brilliance, and folding chair to the decision making table, but who empower women, youth, communities of color, and everyday people to use their voice, share their brilliance, and place their chairs aside sisters at the table.

Honorees include: Pamela Silas (Alfonso); Dr. Beth E. Richie; Deborah Bennett; and Tolanda McMullen.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 6 pm to 8 pm

 

(doors open at 5:45 pm)

2206 N. California Ave.
Chgo. IL 60647

Tickets Prices:

$75 General
$65 Nonprofit Employees
$60 for MTO Members
(Updated Membership Req’d for member rate)
   Sponsors as of 6/1/2018
Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law
Landon Bone Baker Architects
West Town Law Office
David Orr
                          For more info email Aisha Truss-Miller  or dial 773-292-4980 ext. 236