Theresa Coleman and WEM's Caring Communities Program
Theresa Lynn Coleman has been with Women's Energy Matters since 2005, serving as a consultant, board member, and project manager. She is a long-time community organizer and resource person for families and individuals, particularly women. Theresa currently offers counseling and assistance for residents of federally-assisted housing through her consulting practice, TLCC. She also provides a wide range of informal counseling services for women and children, especially foster children.
Theresa survived terrible abuse as a foster child. She herself has raised more than thirty children whose parents could no longer care for them.
She assists and inspires local youth to become educated and engage in healthy, positive work, and through her network of professionals and mentors, she offers training for promising young people to start their own businesses and non-profits.
Articles of interest
As Government Balks, Strangers Lavish Support on Bayview Woman >>>
The Bay Citizen 3/11
Rescuing 4 Children, but Struggling for Assistance >>>
Bay Citizen (NY Times online) 2/11
Why is the San Francisco afraid of Theresa Coleman? >>> SF Bay Area Independent Media Center 3/04
Ujamaa Resident Management Corporation
After Theresa and several friends lost their homes in the Loma Prieta earthquake, they moved to public housing on “the Hill,” near the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, in 1990. Theresa was appalled at conditions in the neighborhood and convinced fellow residents to take action together to fix up their community. She founded the Ujamaa Resident Management Corporation, which enabled residents to manage their own projects.
As Executive Director of Ujamaa, Theresa was responsible for management and direction of a 300-plus member resident corporation. She hired staff largely from her client base, and worked with them to craft individual and group tenant participation plans for self-sufficiency. The organization attracted major funding from HUD as well as the city, and was hailed as a national model. Theresa was personally presented with an award from President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
In addition to home repair, Ujamaa provided client services and resources referral such as employment, education, childcare, life skills training, and citizenship programs. It also provided recreation and cultural opportunities and a food program.
Ujamaa established partnerships with a wide range of government agencies, private firms, and other community organizations. It engaged top architectural, landscape, environmental and construction firms to assist the community to create a tenant-led redevelopment plan.
These efforts came into conflict in the mid-1990s with powerful forces that had other plans for Bayview Hunters Point. A goal of gentrification replaced community empowerment. Ujamaa’s funding was suspended; guns and drugs flowed into the community; many residents fled the city to escape the violence, others faced eviction. Theresa was forced to retreat.
TLCC Consulting & a Weekly TV Show
With support from WEM and others, Theresa has worked to develop other projects in Bay Area communities and beyond, always focusing on building self-sufficiency in the low-income communities where she lives.
She is reformulating Ujamaa as a resource available to other communities. Theresa founded her own consulting firm, TLCC, and still works with the remaining residents of the Hill to achieve dignified relocation if they wish to escape the chemical and radioactive contamination from the nearby Navy Superfund site; or to get reconstruction jobs if they prefer to remain.
Theresa discusses these issues on a weekly TV show, Access to Fair Housing and Opportunities, on San Francisco public access Channel 29 every Monday at 4:30 pm, or Live Stream >>>.
WEM's Youth Team: Clean Energy Outreach
In addition to heading WEM's Caring Communities program, Theresa works with WEM's Clean Energy program on strategy and outreach for Community Choice, energy efficiency and other clean energy initiatives. She manages WEM's Youth Team, which plays a key role in WEM's work to promote Community Choice, energy efficiency and other clean energy programs. The Youth Team conducted outreach at fairs and festivals all around Marin during the campaign to establish Marin Clean Energy.
Current Projects in Development
TLCC. Consultant company, specializing in "Section 3" of federal housing legislation, which grants specific rights to tenants of federally assisted housing.
Our current project are: advising tenants of projects in San Francisco and the East Bay and designing employment opportunities, including acquiring a retail store and converting it to a training facility.
- Transitional Housing Program for Foster Youth 16-24. The program envisions a 36 month residential program, that teaches youth how to live independently.
- Mt. Kilimanjaro's private school for at-risk and disabled youth K-12. We have 12 student currently enrolled.
- Family Self-Sufficiency in Housing & Energy.
She is seeking funding to develop a new program, Family Self-Sufficiency in Housing & Energy (FASHE), to provide training & assistance for low-income community members in developing their own environmentally friendly housing & energy projects.
Contact Theresa Coleman at TheresaLynnColeman@yahoo.com
Theresa has provided a fountain of information about "green" living, and seeks to inspire and encourage the youth to seek green jobs, including the "Green Build" of their own developments.