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Metropolitan Tenants Organization

  /    /  Metropolitan Tenants Organization

Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) ( is the largest renters organizing group in Chicago. A membership based organization, MTO’s mission is to educate, organize and empower tenants to have a voice in the decisions that affect the affordability and availability of decent and safe housing.


A long-time client of Thinkinc., MTO has retained our firm to provide comprehensive strategic planning, community building and communications and media consulting services as the organization has grown and evolved to build its organizational capacity.

2013  Thinkinc. provided strategic consulting and outreach, social media consulting and media relations services to generate awareness for the launch of “Squared Away Chicago,” a first-of-its-kind web-based app for building tenant and landlord relations.

Prior to the app’s launch, Thinkinc. conceptualized a strategy for introducing the app, including the engagement of funders to co-sponsor a launch event and identifying the Chicago Community Trust as the host for a high-level stakeholder reception. Thinkinc. engaged a range of audiences including affiliate organizations, community partners, housing rights advocates, technology journalists and Chicago-area media, to enlist their participation and support for launch of the app and to generate awareness for the new tenant/landlord resource created by MTO.

Additionally, Thinkinc. worked with MTO to design and plan the program to officially unveil and launch the app and provided consulting and writing to draft the program agenda and internal script for the program participants.

Leading up to the launch of the app, Thinkinc. provided strategic social media and media relations consulting services to generate awareness and media interest for the launch of the app as a new tenant/landlord resource. Thinkinc. worked with MTO staff to execute a targeted social media campaign which elevated MTO’s social engagement with its audience to a new level. Thinkinc. also developed and distributed all media and event promotion materials, conducted media outreach and managed all media relations and story placements.

2007 – 2010 Thinkinc. worked with the MTO through a comprehensive strategic planning process beginning in Fall 2007 to build organizational capacity, broaden outreach activities, enhance its ability to take the lead on relevant policy issues, and empower the ability to organize among key constituencies. Thinkinc. managed, and in some instances hosted, numerous pre-planning and strategic/SWOT meetings with the MTO board and also facilitated confidential discussions with MTO’s stakeholders, peer organizations, and interested local officials, to determine the current positioning of the organization. As a result of Thinkinc.’s strategic activities, the organization was able to reposition itself.

As part of the MTO repositioning process, Thinkinc. worked in conjunction with senior leadership and staff to release the first State of the Renter report at a convening held at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in June 2009.

This work was followed by Thinkinc.’s engagement by MTO for the first half of 2010 to develop a positioning strategy for the organization based on its initial strategic plan.

  • Chicago Sun-Times | Friday, October 2, 2009: Letter to the Editor
  • LISC Newsletter | September 17, 2009: State of Renters Here: Insecure
  • Business Week| September 16, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Crain’s Chicago Business | September 16, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Forbes | September 16, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Windy Citizen | September 16, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Chicago Sun-Times | September 16, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Chicago Tribune | September 16, 2009: Chicago renters spending more of their paychecks on shelter
  • The Chicago Reporter | September 15, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference | September 15, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • | September 15, 2009: (no link available)
  • PNN Online | September 15, 2009: (no link available)
  • Progress Illinois | September 15, 2009: Chicago’s Rental Housing Shortage
  • SiloBreaker | September 15, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • StreetInsider | September 15, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Telemundo Chicago | September 15, 2009: (no link available)
  • Univision Chicago| September 15, 2009: (no link available)
  • WBEZ Chicago Public Radio | September 15, 2009: (link no longer available)
  • Reuters | September 14, 2009: Press Release
  • Housing and Development | September 2009: (link no longer available)