Tenant Power

CAT builds Tenant Power through education, advocacy, building-based organizing, leadership development and membership engagement.

As the housing market continues to tighten, the relevance of stable housing has become important to most people. This is a critical time for us to engage new and diverse voices in the housing justice movement. CAT’s membership is the heart and soul of our work. Our members set direction and priorities for our organization, and elect our all-tenant Board of Directors at our annual membership meeting. Through leadership development and community organizing we seek to build the power of low-income tenants to win improvements in housing conditions and direct the future of our communities.

Leadership Development

CAT helps build and empower tenant leaders across all of our programs and campaigns. We train volunteers to become Renters’ Rights Hotline specialists and community organizers through our Safe Housing Project. We organize and facilitate in-housing trainings, covering a broad range of topics and skills. Trainings include: public speaking, popular education, dismantling structural racism and oppression, meeting facilitation, and grassroots fundraising.

Our board of directors is comprised of 100% tenants, and reflects the diversity and values of our membership base. Our Board of Directors oversees the organization’s direction, while ensuring we are financially sustainable and accountable to all Oregon tenants. Board members receive ongoing leadership training, set annual individual and Board work plans, and participate in or lead all of our grassroots fundraising efforts.

Membership Engagement

All of our tenant-led campaigns are designed and executed by our members and tenant leaders. Members help organize rallies and other direct actions, such as public testimonies and forums. We firmly believe that personal storytelling is the most effective and powerful way to build community and bring about systemic change. At each of our member meetings, trainings, and actions, we provide opportunities for tenants to share their stories to one another, elected officials, and our community.

We also conduct focus groups and surveys to gather information from members about what kinds of challenges they face in their housing and what works best to help them overcome these challenges. To set policy priorities and direction for the organization, we facilitate dot-voting and consensus building exercises.