The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. We work to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good. TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives. TMO is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history. TMO is also part of the West / Southwest IAF regional network and the Industrial Areas Foundation national network.

TMO believes that a truly democratic society requires the active participation of ordinary citizens. When people lack the means to connect to power and participate effectively in public life, social relationships disintegrate. Our model of relational organizing helps build real community. It generates social capital through a tight web of relationships across lines of race, ethnicity, class, faith, and geography. This social capital enables us to participate fully in public life and to become more effective actors in our communities.


TMO Leaders Lay Out Strategy for Nonpartisan Voter Education

TMO leaders lay out a strategy for nonpartisan voter education for increased voter participation in the March 2018 primary elections.  The proposal was delivered at a TMO leaders meeting.

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TMO Clergy & Leadership Send 20,000 Cards to Congress Demanding Solution to DACA

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TMO clergy and leaders took to the podium to demand that their US Senators and Congressmembers resolve the crisis which has jeopardized the status of thousands of Houston-area DREAMers who have relied on DACA to build their lives.

Immigrant leaders testified, with personal stories, that a failure to compromise would not only harm families, it would undermine the capacity of the hospitals and health care systems that currently rely on their talent.

[Photo Credit: Maria de Jesus, Houston Chronicle]

Immigrants, Members of Clergy Send 20,000 Postcards to Legislators Seeking DACA Solution, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

DACA's Future Weighs on Health Care Workers, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Dreamers Feel They Are Americans Contributing to Church, Community, Texas Catholic Herald

'Dreamers' Say They're Not Asking for Handouts, Just Chance to StayCatholic Philly

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TMO Calls for Extension of FEMA Appeals Deadline, Urges Flood Survivors to Appeal

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As the 60-day deadline for FEMA appeals approaches, TMO leaders are fighting to get that deadline extended, in addition to educating members and the public about the appeals process.  TMO is urging all Harvey survivors denied FEMA assistance to appeal as soon as possible.

Additional information about the appeals process can be found here.

[Photo Credit: Houston Public Media]

Advocates Tell Harvey Victims Not to Give Up if FEMA Denies Their Disaster Claims, Houston Public Media

Group Calls on Hurricane Harvey Victims to Appeal FEMA Aid Denials, Click 2 Houston

Community Groups Urge Extension of Deadline to File Appeals to FEMA in Wake of Harvey, Houston Chronicle

 

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TMO Partners with Red Cross to Ensure Delivery of Aid to Harvey Survivors

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One month after TMO leaders and clergy publicly questioned why Red Cross Immediate Assistance funds were denied to thousands of families that met the criteria, the CEO of Red Cross Texas Gulf Division resigned among criticisms about undelivered aid.  Within days, top leadership from Red Cross met with TMO to ensure that aid will be delivered to families in need.

One month ago, Helen Mott, a parishioner at Our Mother of Mercy, was denied $400 in cash assistance from  Red Cross even though she had had to evacuate her uninhabitable home.  Because  Red Cross offered one of the few cash assistance resources available at the time, TMO organized a press conference at New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, calling on them to ensure that families who needed these funds most would receive them.

At that press conference, TMO leader Charles Turner asked Red Cross to "take an extra step and work with community groups like ours and open up lines of communication so we can help people during this recovery process."

Red Cross is now responding to that challenge and expressing willingness to coordinate efforts with TMO.  Red Cross estimates that approximately 1.5 million families might have been wrongfully denied and is now working to ensure that families that qualify for assistance receive the aid they need.

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TMO Continues Fight for Defense of Tenant Rights

Building on last month’s achievement of making tenants’ rights a front-and-center issue in post-Harvey recovery, The Metropolitan Organization of Houston (TMO) leaders continue working with documented — and undocumented — immigrants to ensure their rights are protected.

Houston Mayor, Texas Senator Join TMO in Call on Landlords for Post-Harvey Grace Period for Renters, Univision, Telemundo & More

Hurricane Harvey Drove Houston’s Undocumented Population Further Underground, Huffington Post

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TMO Secures $27 Million in Added Food Aid for Harvey Families

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On October 6th, as thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits.”

More than one week later, state officials announced a three-day extension of the deadline for families to enroll.  TMO leaders expressed pleasure at the news of the extension, and recognized Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and Commissioner Rodney Ellis for their role in securing that extension.

Leaders are now celebrating that the three-day extension permitted more than 27,000 additional families to enroll in D-SNAP, resulting in the award of $27 Million in food aid for Harris County Harvey survivors .

Said Fr. Albert Zannatta, "Matthew 25:35 reads: for I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.   These words of Christ spurred TMO to call for an extension....[and] TMO will continue to work until all have received the recovery they need."

Sheila Jackson Lee Celebrated for Her Involvement in Extending D-SNAP Services in Houston, KIAH Newsfix

State Health Officials Continue Harvey Food Assistance ProgramHouston Chronicle [pdf]

TMO Demands Extension of Deadline for Harvey Victims to Sign Up for D-SNAPHouston Public Media

Community Leaders Push for D-SNAP ExtensionClick 2 Houston

Appeal for Aid on Behalf of NeedyHouston Chronicle [pdf]

TMO Press Statement

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TMO Wins Extension of D-SNAP Deadline for Harvey Survivors

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As thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits.”

TMO called on federal and state legislators to extend the deadline because “families are desperate for food resources and many have not been able to access D-SNAP benefits due to long lines.”

More than one week later, state officials announced a three-day extension of the deadline for families to enroll. 

The Rev. Dr. Rhenel Johnson recognized Congresswoman Lee for "listening to the cry of the people."  TMO is now calling for more locations throughout Harris County.

Sheila Jackson Lee Celebrated for Her Involvement in Extending D-SNAP Services in Houston, KIAH Newsfix

Piden Extender D-SNAP en el Condado de Harris, Telemundo

State Health Officials Continue Harvey Food Assistance ProgramHouston Chronicle [pdf]

TMO Demands Extension of Deadline for Harvey Victims to Sign Up for D-SNAPHouston Public Media

Community Leaders Push for D-SNAP ExtensionClick 2 Houston

Appeal for Aid on Behalf of NeedyHouston Chronicle [pdf]

Live Feed of Press Conference

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TMO Works with 200 Our Lady of Guadalupe Leaders to Organize Meeting with Ft. Bend County Engineer

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Over 200 people flooded out of their homes due to Hurricane Harvey gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Family Life Center in Rosenberg, Texas to learn their options and get input from the Fort Bend County engineer.   Fr. Lee Flores, Lali García, Joe Reyes and Marleny Ayala organized and led such a meeting (for the first time) to help flood survivors evaluate whether they should rebuild, sell, or elevate their homes in the aftermath.  Leaders are also researching a proposed levy considered by other neighborhoods.    

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TMO Asks Red Cross Why So Many are Denied Assistance

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As TMO leaders and clergy worked with families working to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Harvey, one issue they kept hearing about was confusion about Red Cross Immediate Assistance funds.  Helen Mott, a parishioner at Our Mother of Mercy, was denied $400 in cash assistance from the Red Cross even though she had to evacuate her uninhabitable home.
 
Because the Red Cross offers one of the few cash assistance resources available at this time, TMO organized a press conference, at New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, calling on them to ensure that families who need these funds most will receive them.

"We are asking that the Red Cross would clarify their application and appeals process. We also ask that the Red Cross would take an extra step and work with community groups like ours and open up lines of communication so we can help people during this recovery process," explained TMO leader Dr. Charles Turner.

American Red Cross Representatives Respond to Why People Aren't Getting Approved for $400 Assistance Package, NewFix CW39

Even Faith leaders Are Criticizing the Red Cross for Denying Flood Victims $400, Houston Press

Red Cross under Fire From Flood Victims, Houston Public Media

Afectados Por Harvey se Declaran Frustrados Con la Cruz Roja, Univision

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CCHD Features TMO Work on Flood Recovery

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Vulnerable Communities Respond to Hurricane Harvey
Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and loss of property and of work, CCHD-funded The Metropolitan Organization calls for a grace period for late rent payments in Houston. Read the NY Times story.

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