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13 SIMPLE STEPS TO START A DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION FOR YOUR BLOCK

You are concerned about something on your block (ex. an abandoned and falling apart house). You think others are also concerned. You'd like to know how to address it.

Here are 13 steps you can follow to get the job done in a democratic fashion:

  1. Decide to host a meeting of your neighbors at your home

  2. Draft a flyer announcing the meeting and stating its purpose

  3. Knock on all the doors on your block, hand the flyer to someone residing in the house, and personally invite them to attend

  4. Knock on all the doors again two or three hours before the meeting

  5. Have a printed agenda outlining each step of the meeting and a sign- in sheet so that you have a record of who attended and their phone numbers and email addresses if appropriate

  6. Welcome everyone present and ask them to introduce themselves (name, address, how long they've lived on the block)

  7. Introduce the purpose of the meeting

    • Want to talk about the abandoned house;
    • Want to address the concern in a democratic fashion, insuring that the majority of people on the block agree with our concern;
    • Would like to create an informal organization of participants who share phone numbers (phone tree)

  8. Propose a possible action to address the concern (ex. write a letter, signed by as many block residents as possible, to the gov't office which inspects buildings giving them the causes of your concern and asking for an inspection and appropriate enforcement action)

  9. What ever action you choose to take, put it in writing and get a volunteer(s) who will take it around to the neighbors and ask them to sign their support (thereby assuring the support of the majority of block residents)

  10. Set a time to go deliver your letter to the inspector's office (in person is best); designate a volunteer who will serve as chief spokesperson for that group; make provision for a brief pre- meeting prior to actually entering the office to insure your small group will function in a united and disciplined fashion

  11. Take a vote on establishing a phone tree including all those who attend this or subsequent meetings so you can contact people quickly if necessary (this can be very useful for things in addition to the concern that has brought people together)

  12. Schedule a time for a followup meeting so you can assess how things are progressing and plan any subsequent actions necessary (to schedule the meeting you will need a time, place, volunteer to pass out the flyers, and designated person(s) to run the meeting)

  13. Repeat steps 3, 4, 5, & 6 for each meeting (your flyer, in addition to announcing the next meeting, can also serve as a mini- newsletter informing neighbors about what has occurred)


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