Building and Strengthening Tenant Action
Buscando Acción y Solidaridad Que Transforme el Arrendamiento
RBJ Tenants Association Meets with Owner to Get Answers Ahead of Redevelopment
August 23, 2018
Earlier in 2018, residents at Rebekah Baines Johnson (RBJ) Center were in the dark about plans for a massive redevelopment project that is going to necessitate their relocation. Where they would go during construction? Who could return after renovations? What would their new homes look like? Their landlord, Austin Geriatric Center (AGC), was set to break ground but many residents were uneasy about the project.
Determined to get answers, residents formed the Rebekah Baines Johnson Tenants Association to discuss their concerns, strategize on how to get answers, and ensure that all tenants would be informed of the details of the redevelopment process.
After months of organizing, members of the TA met with Clarke Heidrick (President, AGC) and Diana McIver of Diana McIver Associates, who is the lead developer on the project, to discuss pressing questions and concerns regarding the redevelopment project and future of RBJ. The T.A. inquired and got answers to important questions like whether non-Section 8 tenants will have a right to return after redevelopment, temporary relocation plans, the cost of rent after redevelopment, resident safety concerns during construction, and more.
In addition to showing support for the RBJ Tenants Association, Mr. Heidrick and agreed to quarterly meetings with the T.A. Steering Committee, and both Mr. Heidrick and Ms. McIver made a commitment to preserve the affordability of RBJ for all current tenants, including a long-term renewal of the property’s Section 8 contracts. The Tenants Association is excited about their new relationship with Mr. Heidrick and Ms. McIver, and look forward to working with them to make sure the tenants concerns are considered throughout the redevelopment process.
BASTA is a non-profit project dedicated to helping Austin renters work together to improve the conditions of their homes and communities.