Encouraging Tenant/Owner Relationships & Engagement
The Tenant/Owner Relationships initiative relates to the MAP Initiative, “Fostering Collaboration.” The initiatives relate because each one focuses on ways to work together, promote engagement and participation, and use available assets to build a better community. Specifically, it relates to Action 3, “Create a Robust Volunteer Program.” This action establishes volunteer opportunities and designated community days within RNC when all community members are called to action for a specific purpose.
Why this is important
The initiative was created from resident input during a RNCNA meeting. RNCNA can start with this initiative knowing it is very important to the neighborhood. Because the neighborhood is 87% renters and 13% owner-occupied, it is important for the tenants to be involved within the neighborhood and establish relationships with homeowners. Renter/owner relationships will provide a sense of community and security for the residences.
What this will involve
Forming a Tenant Association
A tenant association is an organization of renters who aim to improve housing conditions, amenities, and community life. A majority of the RNC tenants are BSU students, so this is a way to encourage student participation within the neighborhood. These associations are good for enforcing landlords to provide services for their tenants, filing complaints to the city, and getting to know neighbors. In order to form a tenants association, existing members for the neighborhood board have to reach out to interested students to form the organization. After the initial interest, board members and students should advertise a call-out meeting and promote the association. This can be done through flyers and going door-to-door to let tenants know about the meetings and what changes the association may influence. After the call-out meeting, the tenants will know who is interested in leadership positions. The final step in finalizing the tenant association are electing officials and committees and establishing by-laws. The Metropolitan Council on Housing has a guide for forming a tenant’s association.
Increasing Awareness and Engagement
By increasing awareness, more people will know where and how to get involved. According to the survey results, there are RNC residents interested in getting involved but do not know how. Creating awareness will result in the increase in participation. Awareness can be done by using social media, such as creating a Facebook profile, Twitter account, and Instagram account, and is a simple, inexpensive outlet to the public. In order to get people engaged in RNC, they have to be available to attend the events or meetings. By sending out a survey and voting in meetings, the neighborhood can figure out the best time to hold the meetings. Surveys can be done online or on paper.
Creating Community Events
Community events are one way of encouraging residents to participate in the neighborhood. Many of the students are in other organizations on campus that require service hours; therefore, providing events for them would be beneficial the community. According to the survey, neighborhood clean-ups were the number one priority. The neighborhood association could work with the tenant association to put these events together. This is just one example of the type of the events that could be provided. Others could be neighborhood cookouts, fall festivals, or planned yard sale days.
Nextdoor is a free smartphone app for smartphones that can be used for social networking in neighborhoods. This is a great way to connect and talk to your neighbors about things going on within the neighborhood. The app could be used for neighborhood news, crime watch, information on local events and more.
Contact information for funding/assistance sources
Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Fax: (765) 747-4898
Contact: Terry Whitt Bailey, Director
This initiative applies to the whole neighborhood because it involves collaboration and participation from everyone, including homeowners and renters. The Encouraging Tenant/Owner Relationships and Engagement map provides residents an understanding of which properties are rentals and which properties are homesteads. There are 1484 properties are in the neighborhood boundaries. Out of these properties, only 260 of them are listed as a homestead. This shows that 1224 properties that could be rental, commercial, or other uses. The association can use this map to identify renters and homeowners. For an example, this could be used to determine which properties to reach out to when forming a Tenant Association.
Summary of relevant case studies
Case Study: College Station, Texas
“Strong and Sustainable Neighbors, an Action Plan for Neighborhood Integrity” focuses on welcoming an increased numbers of students while retaining the strength and vitality of the neighborhood. The plan was designed for the City of College Station, home of Texas A&M University. The goal of this action plan is to protect and strengthen College Station neighborhoods resulting in distinct neighborhoods that welcome homeowners, renters, students, and others, maintain their viability over time and enhance the overall quality of life for our citizens.” This neighborhood is very similar to RNC. With that being said, the challenges, benefits, and implementation strategies could apply. The plan emphasizes on the same initiatives discussed above such as full engagement of all stakeholders. The plans aren’t exact but very helpful to use as a precedent for RNC.