The Resident Leadership Academy at the Mel King Institute works with grassroots leaders to build their power and voice. We offer trainings and networking opportunities for residents to build skills and knowledge so that they may effectively participate in the decision-making that impacts their lives and communities.

How to Get Involved

Leadership Development Resources 

Click here for a list of resources for grassroots leaders, especially for public housing residents.

Our Approach

Our trainings use the popular education approach which always centers residents’ lived experiences. Through multiple sessions, residents identify issues that are important to them and learn to overcome key obstacles to building power: fear, hopelessness, division and confusion. Our trainings help residents build networks of shared power, as well as build key skills such as running meetings, communications, issue identification and taking action. Throughout, we address racial equity and make it clear that “radical inclusion” of all tenants in our tenant groups is essential for success.

Our curriculum developed organically through several years of experimentation. Input came from dozens of residents as well as our team of highly skilled trainers. No two sessions are ever the same—each revolves around what the participants in the room bring with them.

Testimonials & Program Video

Everything I know about housing and the board is because of the Mel King Institute. I wouldn’t have had any other way to learn it. I used to be scared and just sit back and listen at the board meetings, but now I realize that I don’t have to do that. I have more backbone because I understand what’s going on. It makes a lot of difference when I know what’s going on.

Randi Parks Resident Board Member, Greenfield

As a result of the training, I feel like our tenant groups are speaking the same language. We use the materials to help us make decisions and that takes the ego out of things. Our groups have been fortified and we’ve taken a leap forward in getting things done. There’s less tension in the building and people are more ready to claim ownership of the tenant group instead of staying disengaged or hostile.

Sue Kirby Resident Board Member, Salem

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