I was sad the day I learned that Mr. Green had passed. No one can remember the first day that Mr. Green began volunteering in the MTO office but it was a while ago, before we moved to our current location at 1727 S. Indiana. He first became involved with MTO because his HUD building was in terrible shape and he wanted to start a tenants association. He threw his whole self into organizing the tenants, who then voted him to be the association’s president. The tenants under his leadership gathered for monthly meetings, wrote and met with HUD officials, joined with other HUD tenants and even protested outside of HUD’s offices and in the end, the tenants won many of their demands. HUD paid for the rehab of his entire building.
Mr. Green was so much more than president of Lake Vista Tenants’ Association. He was a dedicated volunteer who always gave to MTO. He would come to the office nearly every day to volunteer on the hotline, sharing his knowledge with thousands of tenants in need. Mr. Green was in many ways MTO’s messenger. His wheelchair was an MTO billboard hosting signs that read, ”Housing is a Human Right” or “Tenants Know Your Rights”. He collected thousands of signatures in support of the Source of Income laws for Section 8 tenants. He would pass out MTO know your rights flyers on buses, at rallies or in his neighborhood. Sometimes I would ask tenants how they heard of MTO. They responded, “The guy in the wheelchair gave me your number.”
For Mr. Green, it was MTO and the Cubs that stirred his passion. He was so happy the year Cubs finally won a world series. He came into the office with a huge smile on his face and said we did it. After a few high fives coupled with some baseball gossip, he sat down to begin answering tenants calls for help. There will never be another Mr. Green. To MTO and the tenants he helped, Mr. Green was a hero and a champion of tenants’ rights. by John Bartlett