Tenant Ownership can be a powerful tool to create, preserve and improve affordable housing. It is also a means to create greater stability for low-income people, and an avenue for low-income people to generate equity and wealth for themselves and their families. Tenant owned and controlled housing enables low-income individuals and communities to benefit from development in our own neighborhoods and have greater control over the future of our communities. Communities of color can use tenant ownership to prevent displacement and gentrification.
TU Victory! The Benson East Tenant Ownership project exists because tenant leaders and members of the Tenants Union worked together and fought for it. Go to Tenants Union Membership to find out more about becoming a member to support the TU’s work for housing justice.
The Tenant Ownership Project began as a new Tenants Union initiative to create affordable, dignified and secure housing for low-income people. In 2002 the multicultural, multilingual Benson East Tenants’ Association (BETA) became the first tenant organization in the NW to become low-income tenant-owners. The Benson East Project brings together a partnership of BETA, the TU, the Channel Foundation and the Low Income Housing Institute. These partners created an innovative ownership structure in which the tenants have control over the day-to-day operations of the development, and all proceeds will benefit future tenant ownership campaigns.
BETA has been recognized with a Friend of Housing Award from the State Housing Finance Commission. The TU continues to staff BETA and provide technical assistance to the project as tenants run the property. We also continue to seek out future tenant ownership projects.