Tenant and Homeowner Association

STOP FORECLOSURE AND EVICTION!

The Tenant and Homeowner Association (THA) is a group of low-income tenants and homeowners who work collectively to prevent foreclosure, individual evictions, and address unsafe housing conditions with the support of free, non-profit legal services. In addition, the THA designs and advocates creative policy solutions to end gentrification and displacement, and to ensure permanent, truly affordable, and quality housing for all. The Association is a program of DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), a 30-year-old community organization based in South Providence. DARE addresses community issues through the organizing and leadership development of local residents. By bringing residents together to develop and implement solutions, DARE tackles the root causes of community issues.

We provide access to free legal counsel, with attorneys and staff from the RI Center for Justice, in person at our weekly meetings, as well as by phone and email by contacting Christopher at DARE. The attorneys we work with can offer free legal counsel and services for:

  • Tenants that have unsafe, unhealthy conditions or problems in their apartment that the landlord is not addressing.
  • Tenants facing an eviction for non-payment of rent, because of landlord retaliation, or other reasons.
  • The attorneys may not be able to represent everyone in court, depending on circumstances. We also ask that tenants please come to one of our meetings or contact us at least one week prior to any scheduled court date!

DARE and the Tenant and Homeowner Association are founding members of the national Right to the City Alliance, which emerged in 2007 as a unified response to gentrification and a call to halt the displacement of low-income people, people of color, marginalized LGBTQ communities, and youth of color from their historic urban neighborhoods. We are a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations. The THA is also a member of many local coalitions and partnerships with organizations working for housing, racial, social, political, and economic justice in Rhode Island.

After more than five years of organizing, lobbying, and using creative direct actions, the Tenant and Homeowner Association (THA) successfully passed the Just Cause eviction law for the state of Rhode Island in the summer of 2014. This law mandates that banks or other mortgage lenders that foreclose on a home follow the RI Landlord-Tenant Act. This means that, when a bank takes over a house through foreclosure, that bank must: accept current tenants’ rent (and cannot raise the rent), cannot evict tenants without a just cause (such as not paying rent or illegal activity), and must maintain safe and healthy conditions in the building.

Policy and Housing Fights!

Source of Income Discrimination: For the last 3 years, the THA has supported the effort to make discrimination by landlords based on a tenant’s “source of income,” such as social security, alimony, child support, or a Section 8 housing choice voucher, illegal in the state of Rhode Island. So far, leadership of the state’s House of Representatives has prevented this law from being passed, despite widespread public support. We’re always looking for stories from tenants who have been denied housing due to their source of income!

Barbara Jordan II Homes: For years, these 74 low-income apartments were left to deteriorate in Providence’s Southside. Once an affordable home and vibrant community for low-income families of color, rental vouchers provided by the federal government were lost due to lack of maintenance and unsafe conditions and tenants were forced out or left, leaving many of the units abandoned. In June 2018, RI Housing took ownership of the properties through foreclosure, and started a community engagement process to determine the scope of rebuilding. DARE and the THA fought to ensure that any new developer for the properties: created at least 74 units for low and very low-income tenants, used local, un-and under-employed contractors and workers for the construction, and that neighbors and former tenants of Barbara Jordan II had decision-making power in how the properties would be rehabilitated. A new developer will be selected for the project in the fall of 2019.

Rent Stabilization: In the fall of 2017, the THA chose rent stabilization as its major campaign focus. Over the course of that year, the Association created a comprehensive city ordinance, which would cap rent increases at 4% annually, create a Rent Board to oversee landlord-tenant disputes and enforce the ordinance, and includes a host of tenant protections such as relocation assistance when tenants are forced to move without fault. In the fall of 2019, the THA plans to introduce the ordinance to the Providence City Council and start the campaign to demand it’s passage!

Member Testimonies (with pictures) – coming soon!!

To join the fight, contact Christopher Rotondo: crotondo@gmail.com or call 401-351-6960.

 

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DARE protestors walking with signs