The Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT) is a statewide grassroots, tenant-controlled, tenants-rights organization. CAT educates, organizes, and develops the leadership of low-income tenants to challenge unjust housing policies and practices.
Tenants of an East Portland apartment building who are working with CAT to improve the conditions in their units participated in a series of video interviews about their struggles. Many of the building’s residents are recent refugees, and the interview participants also spoke about their experiences moving to Portland and their hopes for the future.
CAT’s tenant leaders also participated in two half-day Equity Stories photography workshops in September 2013 (one workshop was conducted in English and one in Spanish). Participants discussed their experiences as renters, their perspectives on their neighborhoods and communities, and their hopes and dreams for their families. Then they took photos using symbolic objects and poses to reflect their stories.
Thandar, a Burmese immigrant, talks about her family’s sub-standard living conditions and the challenges in getting the landlord to address the problems.
Mu Ree Kar, a refugee from Myanmar, discusses her apartment’s problems with mold and cockroaches, and her fears for her family’s health.