We use a three-pronged strategy to support tenants in their fight for safe, decent and affordable housing in Los Angeles–education, organizing, and advocacy.
Through workshops and trainings, door-to-door canvassing, individual counseling, distribution of educational materials and media appearances, IU informs and educates low-income tenants on their rights and on ways to defend those rights. Tenants are encouraged to work in teams and with other groups, building an appreciation of the strength that comes in collaborating with ones neighbors. Follow-up trainings also provide opportunities for organizing and other tenant action projects.
Because IU maintains an active presence in the community, it has established many strong ties throughout the years giving the organization an incredibly wide reach. IU outreaches and works to identify, train, and organize tenant leaders to build a sustainable group in buildings with severe habitability violations. Participants come to recognize their own potential to solve problems, build leadership and create community vitality. For those tenants who demonstrate an interest in housing and community issues beyond their own immediate concerns, opportunities to participate in other action projects are available.
Through advocacy, IU partners with other organizations and mobilizes tenants to speak on and to engage in larger policy and legislative campaigns around affordable housing issues. These activities build on leadership potential, can have a dramatic impact on entire communities, and in the long run create tenant activists. IU also serves as housing advocates by assisting with Code Enforcement repairs in partnership with the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, providing trainings to government staff, outreaching to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils, individual case-management, referrals and tenant/landlord interventions.