The purpose of this program is to increase civic awareness and
engagement, aide community members in making new and
valuable connections, and equip them with knowledge and tools
that empower them to make positive changes in their lives and
Resident advocacy is a part of CHEER’s mission to give people
the knowledge and ability to create healthy thriving communities.
CHEER’s approach has been to provide leadership coaching and
also to support residents in advocating for themselves, whether
it be through their civic associations, home owner associations,
or tenant associations. For example, in August 2015 renters at
Hampshire Tower experienced massive rent increases of between
40% and 72%. CHEER facilitated renters investigation into the
causes of such an event in a City that has rent stabilization. The renters are currently working with the Takoma Park City Council to close loop holes and tighten scrutiny of exemptions to rent stabilization.
Resident advocacy is a key component of a viable democracy, and essential for community self determination. Without it Takoma Park and Long Branch would be completely subject to market and other forces that would counter community members’ efforts to create the kind of community they want.
Community Conversation on Affordable Housing - CHEER participated in the planning and promotion in the City’s Community Conversation on Affordable Housing in February 2016, while also acting as a panelist for the affordable housing discussion. CHEER plans to organize additional events to continue the affordable housing conversation among all housing stakeholders, as well as identify new ways to address this issue in the City of Takoma Park.
You can still be a part of the conversation by clicking here. Find more information and respond to questions that were asked at the City’s Community Conversations on Affordable Housing meeting by going to takomaparkmd.gov, click on Initiatives, and Community Conversations. There you will find a wealth of information including maps, informational slides, etc.
Renters Protection Meetings - Since October 2015 CHEER has facilitated Renters Protection Meetings to allow Takoma Park renters a forum for working together to understand the process of, and determine a productive way to address the negative impact of rent stabilization exemptions on renters and communities. This group has determined that revising the City Code on Rent Stabilization is the best way to address this issue and ensure that affordable housing in Takoma Park remains affordable. The participants continue to work to that end.
Support for Montgomery County Renters Protection Bill 19-15
Key points in its current state (July 2016) include:
1. Increased Code Enforcement.
2. Required use of Montgomery County's Model Lease.
3. Require that all Landlords make available the County's Landlord/Tenant Handbook (translated).
4. Require that all Landlords offer a 2 year lease at each lease renewal.
5. Require a 48 hour waiting period to allow renters to hold their perspective rental home while they consider their
lease and other properties.
6. Require landlords to offer community space for renter meetings at no charge.
7. Require landlords to provide detailed billing information when charging for utilities.
8. End month-to-month lease fees and surcharges.
9. Publish landlords who raise rents substantially above the County's Voluntary Rent Increase Guidelines.
10. Require accurate, detailed and mandatory rental housing data collection.
Fair Development Coalition member - A grassroots advocacy coalition of community members, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and others with a significant interest in the health and vitality of the Purple Line corridor.
Takoma Park Candidate Forums - In advance of the November 2015 City elections, CHEER held three candidate forums co-sponsored by the Park Ritchie Apartments Tenants Association (held on October 20, 2015), Essex House Apartments Tenants Association (held on October 22, 2015), and Hampshire Gardens Citizens Association (held on October 27, 2015). The purpose of these forums was to increase civic engagement and participation among renters and youth in the City, provide a platform for renters and candidates to have a dialogue as candidates become aware of renters issues, and increase voter registration and participation among renters in the City.
If you have any other questions about this program, please contact Vineda Myers, Director of Housing Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.