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.

Group Urges Tax Reform to Ease Burden on Poor

Many residents in Houston, particularly its poorest, pay an unfair share in taxes while many Texas businesses and professional service industries are exempt, members of the Texas Tax Reform Commission were told Wednesday...

"We pay our share of taxes, but a lot of companies in Texas do not, and they should so that we are not the only ones carrying the burden."

Gonzales and a handful of other members of The Metropolitan Organization, a collection of churches, synagogues and nonprofit agencies, pressed the commission on needed tax reforms, including the group's proposal to broaden business taxes to include attorneys, accountants and computer programmers...

Full Article, Houston Chronicle

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Voter Registration Drive Targets Katrina Refugees

Danielle James came to the clubhouse at Summercrest Apartments in search of information about social services. As a young mother of a newborn, she wanted to know how to navigate Houston's public health system.

She left with something she didn't expect - her name on a list for an absentee ballot for next month's municipal elections in New Orleans....

Full Article, Houston Chronicle

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A Grass-Roots Group Is Helping Hurricane Survivors Help Themselves

0510 - NYT - Katrina SurvivorsIn the two months since Hurricane Katrina hit, the Metropolitan Organization, a group of professional organizers affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a grass-roots network founded by the Chicago radical Saul D. Alinsky, has been busy sowing nonpartisan political activism and mobilizing survivors to champion their own interests in resettlement and rebuilding decisions.

Early on, with at least a quarter-million people finding refuge in the Houston area alone, it helped organize evacuees in the Astrodome, winning a playground for children and secure areas for the elderly. It persuaded the Federal Communications Commission to maintain evacuees' cellphone service even if they fell behind in their bills...

[Photo Credit: Josh Merwin, The New York Times]

Full Article, New York Times

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Survivors Group Petitions for Action

With thousands of signatures already collected, a new organization of residents in the Reliant Park shelter complex continued to circulate a petition for improved services.

The Survivor Leadership Group, an organization of New Orleans community leaders who have been living in the Reliant Astrodome, began circulating the petition Tuesday evening. The leaders came together last week with the assistance of a Houston advocacy group known as The Metropolitan Organization, or TMO.

Full Article, Houston Chronicle

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