When you’re a renter, your home is in the hands of your landlord. That can be a problem when your landlord is a massive corporation that cares more about maximizing profits than your family’s wellbeing.

Tenants do have some protections, but invoking those protections risks backlash. So tenants often feel like there’s nothing we can do when corporate landlords let ceilings mold, let mice take over buildings, and refuse to respond to requests for basic maintenance.

But soon, that could change. Thanks to renters in Holyoke who came together to demand better, Holyoke could soon have an Office of Tenant Protection at City Hall.

Members packed a special city meeting to talk about issues facing tenants with Holyoke city officials last December.

Last December, members and organizers called for a special meeting at City Hall to discuss the problems facing renters in Holyoke. We packed the room and shared story after story of the unsafe conditions neighbors are facing.

Members shared about homes infested with roaches, kids who had lead poisoning, and rent increases that are impossible to pay.

In response, Mayor Joshua Garcia committed to creating a committee that would explore building out an Office of Tenant Protections so renters have somewhere to turn when corporate landlords fail. We’re celebrating this critical step towards safe, healthy, comfortable homes for all.

We have a vision of our community in homes we can afford, whether renter or owner, triple decker or ranch, no matter how much money you have in your wallet. This win is big – and, we’re just getting started.