At WSCO, We believe that everyone deserves to live in safe, dignified, and affordable homes without fear of displacement. We envision and work towards a West Side where everyone lives in dignity and security. We organize with our neighbors to build power and create systemic change in our community.
We are grounded in the histories of displacement that have affected the West Side, from the forced removal of the Dakota people in 1851, to the destruction of the immigrant community on the West Side Flats in the early 1960’s, to today’s displacement of low-income people of color due to gentrification.
We organize with renters on the West Side of Saint Paul to address repair issues, exploitation, evictions, and rent hikes, because housing is a right, not a commodity.
Want to organize your building, or tenants with the same landlord as you? Do you want to host a Know-Your-Rights training for your community? Maybe you’re not a renter but committed to working in solidarity for an affordable and dignified West Side? You're in the right place: join our Housing Justice Action Circle! Email Katrina Mendoza at [email protected]
Other ways to connect:
Share your experience: take a 30-second survey for West Side renters
Organize your building! Are you a renter facing unsafe or unfair housing conditions? Reach out to our organizers to learn how you can join the West Side Tenants Union. Email [email protected] to learn more.
- Join our Facebook group West Side Housing Justice to find out about upcoming events
In November of 2021, Saint Paul voted YES for rent stabilization! Every single precinct of the West Side voted yes too. That's the power of the people! Led by the Housing Equity Now! St. Paul (HENS) Coalition, community organizations across the city succeeded passing a policy that will keep tenants, especially low-wealth and BIPOC households, from getting priced out of their homes.
“I remember a few years back we sat around a table and we were feeling the hopelessness and despair of so many neighbors (including several of us at the table with our own lived experiences of housing instability) and we were just like What IF, What IF we could just put a cap on the rent? Even if it was only a glimmer of hope. Fast forward to actually bringing those words, that hope, to life.” –Monica Bravo, Executive Director, West Side Community Organization
Here at WSCO, we're full of gratitude for all the West Side volunteers, neighbors, and organizers who joined the campaign to build power together so we can Keep Saint Paul Home. We're proud to be a part of the Housing Equity Now Saint Paul coalition leading the way for this historic housing justice policy!
Check out videos and photos from our celebration of this historic win for renters.
Know your rights
Questions about rent stabilization, what it means, and how it will be implemented? Check out these resources!
- HOMELine's FAQ on Rent Stabilization in Saint Paul
- Housing Equity Now Saint Paul's website: learn about what rent stabilization is, why it works, and other FAQS
- The City of Saint Paul's rent stabilization page: information for renters and landlords about how the policy will be implemented
- Report a rent hike through the City's website
- Organize with us! Click here if you're a West Side renter who has experienced a rent hike, or wants to organize for housing justice with us!
Take action to keep rent stabilization strong
After rent stabilization was overwhelmingly voted for by the people of Saint Paul, the Mayor and City Council have been proposing new ordinances that would weaken protections for renters. Listen to West Siders speak out to demand that our representatives respect the will of the people!
- Call or write West Side's Councilmember, Rebecca Noecker, at 651-266-8620 or [email protected], and let her know how important it is to keep rent stabilization strong
- Spread the word: download and share a fact sheet with friends and neighbors
- Reach out to our Housing Justice organizing team to participate in upcoming actions! Email Katrina Mendoza at [email protected]
- Check out Housing Justice Center's analysis of City Council's proposed changes to Saint Paul's rent stabilization policies
- Read Councilmember Mitra Jalali's breakdown of the Council's proposed changes and the amendments to try to save rent stabilization
The right to organize
The Twin Cities is in the midst of a serious affordable housing crisis, and more than ever residents affected by rising rents and substandard living conditions need to come together to advocate for substantive change. If you feel fed up and ready to take action, you can organize your building and neighbors to demand better living conditions, whether that is requesting repairs from a landlord, beating back a rent hike, forming an tenant’s union, or working to pass rent stabilization and other affordable housing measures.
Together we are powerful! Join us!
S.A.F.E. Tenant Protections
We are proud to have been a part of the 2020 campaign led by the Housing Equity Now! St. Paul (HENS) Coalition to win S.A.F.E. Housing Tenant Protections!
"Built on years of advocacy and groundwork by tenants and housing advocates, we organized community members across the city in a grassroots campaign to elevate the need for tenant protections as a racial equity strategy, centered BIPOC and renter voices in policy-making decisions. Together, we made sure our St. Paul City Councilmembers passed the strongest tenant protections ordinance in the state, becoming the first city in Minnesota to include just cause protections."– Housing Equity Now! St. Paul
Unfortunately, before these protections had a chance to go into effect March 1, 2021, the ordinance was stalled by a landlord lobby lawsuit against the city. We urged the City Council not to repeal this crucial ordinance, but our West Side representative, Councilmember Noecker, cast a decisive vote to repeal the ordinance that our neighbors fought so hard to win.
In the words of Bob Craft, long time West Side Community Organization volunteeer and neighbor:
"I am astounded that the City Council would retreat from protecting tenants with the proposed repeal of our Safe Housing Ordinance. The Council had to know the landlords would litigate the matter. Giving up without a fight because of one judge's opinion indicates both a lack of resolve and a misplaced concern for legal expenses over human rights. Claiming that other protections and resources are available insults the testimony of all those who supported the ordinance because those resources fail tenants time and again."
WSCO, with our partners at the HENS coalition, will continue to push for strong renter protections to replace the repealed ordinance and demand accountability and action from our City Council.
An archived copy of the City of Saint Paul's webpage about S.A.F.E. tenant protections can be found here. (Note this information is no longer up to date, it is archived for reference only.) For more information, read Housing Equity Now Saint Paul's initial statement on the passage of S.A.F.E. tenant protections
Pictured above, from left: HENS leaders Tram Hoang from the Alliance, Shaquonna Jackson from the Southeast Community Organization, and Michael McDowell and Monica Bravo from the West Side Community Organization
Click here to visit our Resources page, which includes housing resources like how to know your rights, organize a tenant's union, access housing services and legal services, and resources for landlords.