New Quad-Cities tenant alliance aims to rally renters

Advocates say renters deserve a bigger voice in solving housing crisis
Advocates say renters deserve a bigger voice in solving housing crisis
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 3:25 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Evictions are at record numbers, homes are disappearing and blight is surging in many Quad-Cities neighborhoods.

We’re in a housing crisis – and some Quad-Cities groups are desperately trying to curb the problem.

Advocates on Thursday announced a new coalition, the Community Alliance of Tenants, that seeks to protect renters from unsafe living conditions, questionable landlords and complicated courts.

“The idea is that they’re going to be training tenants to know their rights, and ways to communicate and mediate with their landlords before things get to an eviction point,” said Leslie Killgannon, director of the QC Housing Cluster.

Housing advocates highlighted a recent report by Iowa Legal Aid. It spells out the eviction problem: Numbers are at record highs in Scott County – more than double the rates in Rock Island. Nearly 1,500 cases were filed in Scott County last year alone. And the worst could be yet to come as pandemic relief money dries up.

The numbers and the problem were the focus of a TV6-Investigates series over the past five weeks, detailing the Quad-Cities’ dwindling housing stock, soaring rent prices and the eviction crisis.

The QC Housing Cluster partnered with the advocacy group Quad Cities Interfaith to help launch the Community Alliance of Tenants.

Thurgood Brooks is a member of the council. He said the idea is to organize tenants behind issues that affect them and their livelihoods.

“Some people may need furnaces. Some people may have pest control or environmental issues within their home,” he said. “Some of it may come down to evictions, which has been an issue especially here in Scott County.”

Ultimately, the Community Alliance of Tenants wants to help people stay in safe affordable homes, ensure landlords get paid, and give tenants a voice in the local housing discussion.

“It’s about tenants’ rights, tenants’ empowerment, but it’s also about ways to stave off eviction,” Kilgannon said. “That’s the last thing that we need as a community is more people being evicted.”