Community Housing Partnership's focus on creating strong communities and caring relationships is one of the primary reasons for our success. Many people who experience homelessness feel that the social structures of our time have failed them. By encouraging tenants to become involved with activities and people in CHP and the wider community, we foster the creation of social networks that support tenants' efforts to lead healthy, safe and happy lives.
CHP was created as a partnership between formerly homeless individuals and housing developers; we maintain our tradition of partnership by seeking tenant involvement at every level of the organization and hiring people who have experienced homelessness. This approach is an important element of our work because it ensures that CHP will always stay in touch with the community we serve and its changing needs. We also offer many specific community-building activities and opportunities through the Community Housing Organizing Project, described below.
Community Housing Organizing Project (CHOP)
CHOP provides structure for our community-building work, improves our advocacy efforts and strengthens the leadership development pipeline at CHP. More specifically, CHOP coordinates the following activities and opportunities:
• A course on community-based social justice movements and leadership skills
• Internships, offered to tenants who have graduated the leadership development course, through which interns provide support to CHP's organizing work and practice their leadership skills
• Support for the Tenant Councils within CHP buildings, which facilitate community life in each building and organize building activities
• Tenant-driven advocacy campaigns in favor of policies to increase affordable housing, economic justice, and neighborhood safety
• Recruitment of tenants for additional leadership positions within CHP, in particular for the CHP Board of Directors
CHP has pathways for advancing people from volunteer or student to leader, with structured opportunities for them to learn leadership skills along the way, because we are committed to developing a grassroots leadership pipeline and working for social change. People can be leaders in different ways and forums; one tenant might represent her floor of a building in her Tenant Council; another might cook dinner for his neighbors; and yet another might organize a political rally. We aim to create as many leadership opportunities as possible within CHP, because being a leader is a valuable way to connect with other people and become part of a supportive social network.