Open Collective
Open Collective
2022 Open Collective Annual Report
Published on December 22, 2022 by Chris

Note: this report in its entirety was written by admin EF. -Var

Here follows a short report that satisfies OCF’s request for our tenant organization, Solidaridad
Inquilina, to answer the following questions: “What did you accomplish during 2022? How did
you use the money?”

Chicago faced a wave of illegal evictions during the pandemic lockdown period and thereafter,
which occupied our group intensely during 2020-21 and from which we and our communities are
still recovering. Through our eviction and other tenant support during the pandemic, we have
learned that simply providing emergency support is insufficient without addressing the corollary
problems that tenants face in our communities. Our activities have broadened correspondingly.
We believe the work we have done in 2022 will therefore help us to be better prepared for the
ongoing and future emergencies communities face on the Southwest Side of Chicago.

On the other hand, in 2022, we have faced new challenges as the economic effects of the
pandemic continue, particularly for our core team of organizers, who as tenants, workers, and
community members themselves have faced considerable instability. We have thus had to be
careful to pace ourselves with regard to tenant rights activity in order to encourage cohesion,
prevent burnout, and maintain Soli as a radically humane organizing environment, all of which is
necessary to sustain Soli’s activity over time.

In 2022, our activity, and therefore our spending, has concentrated in four interrelated areas: (1)
emergency tenant support; (2) capacity building for tenant organizers; (3) community
relationship-building; and (4) Nebula, our project to support tenants facing domestic violence.

We have provided a brief description of each of these four areas below, and the following chart
also shows a more detailed breakdown of our expenses:

Emergency Tenant Support

In 2022, we provided direct financial eviction and rehousing support to two tenants (significantly
fewer than 2021 as we shift our organizing strategies toward the longer term). We have also

helped with fundraising to meet moving costs, and provided tactical and legal consultations to
additional tenants, including help navigating Chicago’s reopened eviction courts. These
consultations come with costs, such as fees for direct advice from attorneys, fees for translators
– we work with a multilingual population – and transportation costs.

We have also spent funds on building up Soli’s permanent base of basic supplies, such as tools
for transporting furniture for evicted tenants, and a scanner so that we can quickly produce
materials for community outreach. We also purchased an air conditioning unit, currently in use
by a tenant who reached out for help during a dangerous heat wave, which will be returned for
future use by tenants in similar emergencies (very many Chicago apartments lack air

Capacity-Building for Tenant Organizers
This year we worked with a legal expert who has provided our organizers and other interested
tenants with several training in tenants’ rights, on issues such as retrieving security deposits,
reading a lease, and blocking improper evictions in eviction court. We negotiated a low cost fee
arrangement to compensate the excellent attorney who has assisted us.

Community Relationship-Building
In order to build long term ties with the broader tenant milieu in our communities, we hosted an
outdoor neighborhood community social gathering this year. Despite being largely donation-
based, some food for the event was paid for by Soli. Many tenants in our communities are
migrants, so it was important to us also that Soli, as a tenant union, show up to provide support
during the current migration crisis. As part of this community solidarity effort, we have disbursed
some of Soli’s funds in the form of food, shelter, and transportation for recent migrants to
Chicago. Because we are a bilingual union, we have found ourselves particularly equipped to
play this role in our communities.

Since we came together as Soli in 2020, we have encountered a despairing number of tenants
who, in addition to facing neglectful landlords, illegal evictions, and other housing issues, are
also facing domestic violence. In response to this, one of Soli’s organizers created Nebula, an
anti-domestic violence collective which (i) hosts a monthly meeting where tenants facing
domestic violence can meet other survivors, and (ii) provides basic support, such as
transportation and safety in numbers, for survivors seeking safe housing. Soli has used some of
our funds to provide materials, supplies and organizing support for the Nebula collective, which
we see as fundamentally intertwined with our broader organizing efforts.

We look forward to another fruitful year in 2023.