Seattle Housing Authority Listening Session & Project Culmination
March 6, 2013

TU Hiring Spokane-based Section 8 Community Organizer


Posting Date: February 28th, 2013
Job Title: Section 8 Tenants Organizing Project (STOP) Community Organizer
Supervisor: Deputy Director; Works closely with Lead Organizer
Location: Spokane, WA
Hours: 30 hours/week
Salary: $27,000/year
Application Deadline: March 27, 2013
Start Date: May 2013
Benefits: Eligible for paid medical and dental care; vacation and sick leave following three months’ probation period. Additional benefits as defined by personnel policies.

Background Information

The mission of the Tenants Union of Washington State (TU) is to create housing justice through empowerment-based education, outreach, leadership development, organizing, and advocacy. Founded in 1977, the TU carries on a proud legacy of work to create concrete improvements in tenants’ living conditions and challenge and transform unjust housing policies and practices. As a membership organization, the TU’s work is grounded in the strong conviction that tenants must be the leaders of efforts to transform our housing conditions and communities. The TU embraces the values of equality, hope, tenant leadership, respect, direct action, civic courage, racial and economic justice, and self-determination.

Founded in 1996 as a program of the Tenants Union, the Section 8 Tenants Organizing Project (STOP) is a group of tenants and supporters working to preserve and improve Section 8 housing and give tenants a voice in decisions that affect their housing stability. Contract expirations, owner opt-outs, and budget cuts threaten the safety and stability of thousands of low-income tenants in Washington who depend on the Section 8 program to make housing affordable to them. STOP uses outreach, education and organizing to develop Section 8 tenant leaders to preserve long term affordability for multifamily buildings, affect change in Section 8 policy, and raise community awareness about the Section 8 program.

Job Summary

The Tenants Union of Washington State seeks a creative, engaging, and thoughtful part-time community organizer to play a key role in a very exciting statewide effort to organize tenants in project-based Section 8 buildings. The STOP Community Organizer uses outreach, education, organizing, and tenant leadership development to preserve affordable housing, win housing improvements, and increase tenant control over housing. Campaign work may focus on the preservation of building subsidies, the rehabilitation of deteriorating buildings, the formation of tenant councils, and other strategic goals that support tenants having a place at the decision-making table. The most important aspect of this work will be to cultivate tenant leadership and community through education and leadership development.

The organizer will play an important role in developing a statewide and nationwide movement of HUD tenants by connecting the issues in building-specific campaigns to state and federal level policy, and forging relationships between tenants in other HUD buildings. The organizer may also assist in the development of a statewide conference of HUD tenants in the winter of 2013.
This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in further developing community organizing skills, engaging with housing policy, and movement building.

Essential Responsibilities, Duties and Tasks

Organize tenants in assigned project-based Section 8 buildings

  • Conduct initial outreach to tenants including door-knocking, flyering, and meeting one on one
  • Facilitate workshops, trainings, and meetings pertaining to tenants’ rights, preservation work, federal policy, power analysis, and anti-oppression
  • Develop tenant leadership across diverse group of tenants and provide training in organizing skills, facilitation, tenants’ rights, and housing policies that impact them
  • Develop organizing strategies and tactics to achieve tenant goals through collective action
  • Provide structure for regular evaluation and reflection with tenant leadership
  • Support the creation of sustainable tenant representation within the building
  • Build strategic relationships with community partners, stakeholders, media, and elected officials
  • Liaise with property owners, management, and HUD project managers

Help build a statewide HUD tenants movement

  • Make connections between building-specific issues and state and federal policy
  • Regularly exchange best practices and information with organizers across Washington State and nationwide
  • Accompany tenants to statewide and nationwide conferences and facilitate relationship-building between tenants in different buildings and states

Maintain regular and close communication with supervisor

  • Maintain regular communication with lead organizer and supervisor about organizing work
  • Fulfill reporting requirements for organization and funding

Minimum Qualifications

  • 2 years minimum organizing experience (volunteer or paid)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong values for social, racial, and economic justice and desire to work directly with people
  • Demonstrated ability to work well with diverse groups of people and willingness to challenge oneself and others to undo racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia (fear or hatred of immigrants) and other forms of oppression.
  • Experience facilitating workshops and meetings
  • Flexibility and creativity, ability to adapt to changing conditions within building and political landscape
  • Willingness to work flexible hours including some evenings and weekends
  • A car and a driver’s license are required for this position. The position may require periodic travel to other parts of Washington. Periodic travel to Seattle for training and supervision required. (All travel will be reimbursed by the Tenants Union).
  • May be required to work partially from home.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Familiarity with housing policy issues and/or landlord-tenant law
  • Experience in policy analysis
  • Experience working with the media
  • Proficiency in second language

To Apply

The position is open until filled. However, priority will be given to applications received prior to March 27th, 2013. The anticipated start date is May 2013.
Submit cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to [email protected], or mail to:

Tenants Union of Washington State
ATTN: Hiring Committee
5425 Rainier Avenue South Suite B
Seattle, WA 98118-2455

People of color, women, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQI or queer individuals, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Tenants Union of Washington State is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.