Bridge with three arches over text that reads Quad Cities Interfaith creating a more just society

QC Tenant Alliance

In partnership with the Quad Cities Housing Council and the QC Housing Cluster, QCI will be creating the QC Tenant Alliance (QCTA). The QCTA will work to improve the lives of tenants in the Quad Cities through capacity-building, movement-building, and local/statewide advocacy. The Tenants Alliance will seek to support and strengthen the movement for renters’ rights in the Quad Cities.

Detailed Information about the QC Tenant Alliance


Organize Tenants in the Quad Cities to form a community alliance of tenants.

The tenants associate will work to improve the lives of tenants in the Quad Cities through capacity-buildingmovement-building, and local/statewide advocacy. Tenants association will seek to support and strengthen the movement for renters' rights in the Quad Cities

We believe that housing is a human right, not a commodity, and every person has a right to be at the table when decisions are made about their lives. We advance policy that is driven from tenant experience. To resist displacement, we must organize renters and other allied groups to make strong and bold demands of those in power.

Organizing for tenants' rights to us means organizing tenant unions and building associations, building tenant power for the long-term. If we are to win the most transformative policy, we must center our movements around the leadership of those most affected: low-income communities and communities of color.

We seek alignment with other movements fighting against structural oppression because tenants do not live single-issue lives, and the right to housing will only be won by building power with other movements. This includes, but is not limited to, movements that build collective power and are rooted in racial, gender, economic, environmental, and disability justice; trans and queer liberation, and indigenous sovereignty.

What are "tenants' rights"?

The following represents key issue areas we focus on under the umbrella of "tenant protections."

Five circles surrounding a graphic of a home, with text in each circle that reads Just Cause for Eviction, Fair Rent, Code Enforcement, Consumer Protections, and No Retaliation or Discrimination

What will the Tenants Association Do?

The following are core strategies for our coalition and day-to-day work.

1) Support emerging local Tenants Unions (Capacity Building)

2) Connect and Unite Tenant Groups Statewide (Movement Building)

3) Effectively Represent Tenant Groups in the Capitol and Become a Force to Be Reckoned with in Springfield and Des Moines (Statewide Advocacy)

What is our long-term strategy for success?

The Tenants Association works to address the root causes of housing insecurity by supporting and uniting local tenants in Rock Island. The Tenant Alliance will be a coalition of tenants and relating organizations building the capacity of local tenant groups, connecting organizations in a statewide movement (possible statewide connection for larger impact), and collectively advocating for city and statewide policy change.

We believe that a strong local tenants association, united across the city, is the cornerstone of the tenant rights movement and are essential for progress toward housing justice. We also know that we cannot do this alone, and that the struggle for housing justice is intimately connected to broader movements for racial, economic and social justice.  A strong tenant movement acting in coalition with allies will realize a world where renters are treated with dignity as equal members of the community, where people’s basic need for housing is valued over profits, and where we reverse the deepening inequality and poverty among Rock Islands most vulnerable communities.

The Tenants Association will be a part of the Gamaliel National Network to continue to receive organizing development, training and strategy. This will ensure ongoing organizing, growth and sustainability.

The following is a graphic that represents our current "theory of change" meant to guide the bigger picture of our work.

What is Community Organizing?

Community organizing is the process of building power through involving a constituency in identifying problems they share and the solutions to those problems that they desire; identifying the people and structures that can make those solutions possible; enlisting those targets in the effort through negotiation and using confrontation and pressure when needed; and building an institution that is democratically controlled by that constituency that can develop the capacity to take on further problems and that embodies the will and the power of that constituency.

Heather Booth, founder of the Midwest Academy and legendary community organizer, expressed the fundamentals in this formula:

OOO = Organizers Organize Organizations.

Community organizing is NOT a technique for problem solving. Those who would use simple confrontation or mass meetings to meet their own selfish need for power, and skip the step of democratic involvement and control in the selecting of issues, the crafting of demands or the negotiating of the victory are called demagogues. Their organizations are a hollow sham, without the empowering aspect that humanizes and ennobles the effort.

Community organizing is not merely a process that is good for its own sake. Unless the organization wins concrete, measurable benefits for those who participate, it will not last long. The groups that content themselves with holding endless meetings and plod along involving everyone in discussions that never lead to action or to victory are doomed to shrink into nothing. People want to see results. That's why they get involved. There is a theory (isn't there always?) that says that folks join up if two things are true. First, they must see a potential for either benefit or harm to themselves if the group succeeds or fails. Second, they must see that their personal involvement has an impact on the whole effort. This makes sense to me. Winning is critical, but if the group's going to win whether I get involved or not - if my personal involvement is not critical - then I can stay home and watch TV.

Community organizing is not just a neighborhood thing, not just a minority thing, not just a 60's thing. Many - especially those uncomfortable with a particular community organizing effort because it's confronting them at the time - seek to 'label' organizing as somehow out of date or out of place. The fact is that the method, the strategy the science of community organizing has been applied all over the world in situations as disparate as Solidarity in Poland, Welfare Rights in the US and 'communidades del base' in Brazil. The simple principles of community organizing are being applied right now in the barrios of San Antonio and in the ghettoes of Baltimore. They are winning victories and building power. We can too.

Steps to Building the Tenant Alliance

  1. Identify and Train tenant leaders
  2. Identify Ally org
  3. Form Stearing committee
  4. Develop by-laws and apply for 501c3
  5. Implement Three Factors of Change/Organize

Three Phase Theory of Change