The Mel King Institute is growing!

The Mel King Institute is growing! Building on the foundation laid by the Public Housing Training Program (see below), our program is now reaching residents in CDC and other kinds of subsidized housing.  

The Community Development movement is based in the power of everyday people to dream big and bring their community vision to life. The new Resident Leadership Academy partners with CDCs and other organizations to do just that. We help build resident power and expand opportunities for resident engagement.  

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. The training helps 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.  

Click here to see upcoming events related to Leadership Development

Click here to see Resources related to Leadership Development 

Click here to learn more about the CDC Resident Leadership Training Collaborative

Want to get involved? Have questions? Contact Sarah Byrnes at  

Register for the Fall 2021 launch of the Resident Leadership Academy on September 23rd at 10 am EST HERE!


“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  

Read more about recent stories from our trainings:

Leadership Development Video 

Background on the Public Housing Training Program  

Since 2016, the Mel King Institute has been training residents of public housing to participate in decision-making at their Housing Authorities. This work is a collaboration of the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, Mass Law Reform Institute, Mass Housing Partnership, the Department of Housing & Community Development, and the Mel King Institute/MACDC.  

A Massachusetts statute called “The Local Housing Authority Act of 2014” requires a training program specifically for residents of public housing, with the goal of “enabling tenant [Board] members and members of local tenant organizations to participate fully in the oversight of the housing authority’s operation and capital planning.” The Mel King Institute has been developing and implementing this training since fall of 2016.  

Click here for resources for Public Housing residents.