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September: renters' rights trainings and Ice Banker Challenge!

We're gearing up for an exciting September that will take us into the next phase of Occupy Homes!

This weekend, we're proud to co-host two trainings on renters' rights organizing with the United Neighborhood Alliance and our national partner, Right to the City, featuring nationally renowned trainers/organizers from Oakland and Atlanta. We'll kick off our awesome weekend of training with a dance party we're calling #IceBankerChallenge (that's right, you get to throw ice water on a banker). And then at the end of September we'll have a retreat to decide the next phase of Occupy Homes campaigns. We hope to see you this month!


Friday, September 12, 8:30 pm-2 am: Club 99 Presents: #IceBankerChallenge Dance Party

Occupy Homes MN dance party is back and we're ready to celebrate the next phase of Occupy Homes organizing with you this fall. There will be a sliding-scale donation at the door and a bar. Sign up as a monthly sustaining member with Occupy Homes and get free drinks all night! 

We are introducing the Ice Banker Challenge! A banker has committed to attend, he's a real trickster. You will have the chance to soak the banker. But do you think you have what it takes to meet the Ice Banker Challenge?


WHAT: A presentation on the history of renters' struggles, current context of the housing crisis, and potential for solutions by building power for renters across diverse communities.
WHERE: Powderhorn Park building, 3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

A daylong dive into the history, strategies, and technical skills for organizing renters in low income communities and communities of color.
WHERE: 4200 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN
  • Train local residents & allies on tenant organizing skills, strategy, current national organizing models, and the political context for renters in the US
  • Continue to build a strong coalition with neighborhood associations and community organizations
  • Generate citywide excitement around tenant organizing
Food, childcare, and Spanish translation will be provided. Sliding scale $10-20 donation to help cover the cost of trainers' airfare.

Register here:

***SAVE THE DATE: Fall day-long retreat September 28! Details coming soon.***

Thanks for all your support! You can chip in to help us cover the cost of these trainings here. We hope to see you soon!

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Daylong Renter Organizing Training with Right to the City

Join us for a renter organizing daylong bootcamp with Right To The City, a national alliance of racial, economic, and environmental organizations leading the country in building power for renters!

This event is part 2 of a two day training series on September 13th and 14th to help launch a citywide renters organizing movement! Day 1 is not required to participate.  The first day's training will provide an overview of struggles tenants face and the need to build a movement. (Day 1 details here:

This training will be a daylong dive into the history, strategies, and technical skills for organizing renters in low income communities and communities of color.


We suggest a $10-$20 sliding scale contribution to help cover the costs of airfare for the trainers. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Click here to register and make a financial contribution to cover the costs of the training.

Click here to register for free. Everyone is welcome to attend, financial contribution is not required. 


As rent prices rise and absentee landlords take advantage of our families and neighbors, an urgent need exists for neighborhood associations to engage in tenant organizing within our communities.

Right To The City trainers have designed a free training for UNA participants and allies that will address the importance of tenant organizing as a way to fight gentrification and displacement of low-income communities & communities of color. 

(Check out Right To The City's 'Rise of the Renter Nation' report here:

WHO: Renters, neighborhood association board members, or those interested in joining their neighborhood association. We are especially looking to engage people of color and low income Minneapolis residents.

Train UNA participants & allies on tenant organizing skills, strategy, current national organizing models, and the political context for renters in the US
Continue to build a strong coalition with neighborhood associations and community organizations
Generate citywide excitement around tenant organizing

Food, childcare, and Spanish translation provided.

Suggested donation: $10-$20 to cover travel expenses for the trainers. No one turned away for lack of funds.

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Bringing the Fight to Freddie Mac’s Door

On July 26th I went to Chicago with a few other OHMN folks for a regional action on the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA), and I want to give a quick update/reflection on our trip. In case you missed it, a group of us joined several housing justice groups in Chicago for an action on FHFA. The event was hosted by Centro Autónomo, Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and a few other groups in Chicago. We came representing Occupy Homes MN, and there was also a group from Detroit Eviction Defense.

The action began with a BBQ hosted by Sabrina Morey, a Chicago resident living in a reclaimed vacant home. After enjoying food and meeting incredible organizers from across the city, we took school busses to the suburbs where we protested outside the home of Peter Giles, the regional director of Freddie Mac. We rallied in solidarity with all the homeowners being foreclosed on by Freddie Mac, including Minneapolis resident and OHMN member Jaymie Kelley, who has been in her home for over 30 years. Here is an article written by Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and Centro Autónomo summarizing the action.

While we were there we stayed with a wonderful family, Maria and Gerardo Calvillo, who are living in a reclaimed vacant home. In addition to their work with Centro Autónomo, they also run a radical day care center in Rogers Park called El Ruiseñor (The Nightinggale). Maria and Gerardo teach the children in both English and Spanish and educate them about environmentalism and revolutionary struggles led by people of color. Last year Maria and Gerardo nearly lost the day care to foreclosure, but fortunately they managed to save it with the help of a friend. Now they are trying to save up funds to purchase the property. 

El Ruisenor daycare

Occupy Homes MN members recently voted to donate $100 to support the El Ruiseñor Learning Center. Photo credit: DNAinfo Chicago/Benjamin Woodard

It was awesome to talk with Maria, Gerardo, and other organizers in Chicago and see first-hand how similar groups around the country are organizing, and compare that to the work we're doing here in Minneapolis. I mostly talked to folks in Centro Autónomo. I learned a bit about their organization structure, action planning processes, and vacants program that I think could be helpful to us. I’m looking forward to having these conversations and creating spaces for us reflect and grow in the future.

Maria Calvillo in her home

Maria Calvillo in her day care. Photo credit: DNAinfo Chicago/Benjamin Woodard

Also, if you're interested in going to one of these regional actions in the future, there will be more coming up. We actually over-fundraised for this trip, so we're planning on using the remaining money for the next trip. We also talked about fundraising specifically so we can do more of these trips in the future. I had a great time and would encourage you to go if you have the opportunity!

Thank you to all the people who contributed to make this trip possible. These trips are very beneficial for us because they allows us to build relationships with groups in other parts of the country and learn from the work they are doing. So thank you for investing in us! And shout-out to Becky who drove the whole way there and back!


Alisha Roopchand

PS: If you’d like to make a personal donation to the El Ruiseñor Learning Center, you can send a check to 7463 N Ridge Blvd, Chicago IL 60645 made out to El Ruiseñor. You can visit the websites of Centro AutónomoChicago Anti-Eviction Campaign, and Detroit Eviction Defense to support their work as well. And as always, you can donate to Occupy Homes MN here.

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