There are approximately 9,600 renters in Southwest. Most of these are in single houses, meaning they have no access to a typical housing association that is tied to a specific building, or an easy way to organize and advocate. A tenants’ association is a union of all or most of the tenants in a building or region. When tenants work together, they can apply more pressure to make a landlord provide services, make repairs, stop harassment—and get the best possible home for the rent they’re paying. A strong tenants’ association can force a landlord to listen. As a group, the tenants can have more leverage to negotiate, file complaints with the city and state agencies that oversee housing, get help from elected officials, go to court, or—if push comes to shove—call a rent strike. We can engage policy makers, landlords, community leaders, and investors to protect and to create affordable housing.
There is no doubt that there is a need for such a program. SWCDC’s housing counseling program services over a thousand people per year, and many come to us with rental issues that need to be resolved. While there are regional organizations like TURN who provide services to renters, we feel that there is an advantage in offering such a program on a local level.
Southwest CDC is interested in forming the Southwest Rental Association dedicated to promoting fair, safe, and well-maintained residential rental housing that is compliant with local ordinances and state/federal laws. The Southwest Housing Association (SHA) will deliver progressive, affordable housing solutions and education to families and individuals in every neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia. If you have an interest in participating in this program contact Steve Kuzmicki at firstname.lastname@example.org