The CHEER Community Association (CCA) is a tool designed to help tenants in Long Branch and Takoma Park build and maintain community, and improve their quality of life. We help tenants start, sustain, and improve their Tenant Associations. We help tenant associations address common problems, so that tenants are informed of events, activities and resources, and prepared to meet crises when they arise. The CCA also supports and encourages tenants to participate in shared activities, get to know each other, and participate in civic affairs, such as voting in city elections.
The CCA is built on several years of experience in supporting the tenants at Essex House to organize and conduct social and educational programs for tenants and children. This prepared Essex house residents to organize a tenants association and advocate for tenants interests during renovations in 2014. Since its formal start at the end of 2014 the CCA has helped with the formation of tenant associations at Park Ritchie Apartments, and at Carroll Avenue Garden Apartments in Takoma Park. The CCA also provides opportunities for tenants to get information and resources they need. For example, the CCA arranged for meetings between tenants of Park Ritchie Apartments and the Takoma Park Police to discuss issues of concern to them.
In Long Branch, the CCA is gathering information about rental conditions through surveys, and supporting tenants by making presentations to parents of children at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School, Rolling Terrace Elementary School, and Montgomery Knolls Elementary School about tenant rights and responsibilities, and how to get support and service from the County through the County’s 311 phone number. The parents in these presentations are mostly immigrant tenants who use the information and tools they gain to improve their living conditions.
The CHEER Community Association is led by Vineda Myers, a resident of Park Ritchie and the Director of Housing for CHEER. The CCA Long Branch programs have been led by Vanesa Pinto, a New Hampshire Estates resident and the CHEER Director of Long Branch programs. Support for the CCA in Long Branch also comes from CHEER community outreach specialists, Karla Castro, Maribel Juarez, and Sonia Reyes.
CHEER Community Association helps tenants fulfill the community wide vision of creating safe and well connected neighborhoods for everyone.