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About Tenants in Action

The app facilitates the submission of housing violations directly to Los Angeles City agencies using conversational language, in English or Spanish. Explore app details in the panels below.

First Screen

First Screen: Identify and Describe Issues

The Tenants in Action (TIA) App is designed to translate between the languages and technologies of citizens, and those of governmental agencies. Residents using the app are first presented with a checklist of board, potentially overlapping categories. While these categories reflect the structure of city codes, they do not impose this structure on the user; neither do they use the dense technical language o f those codes. This allows residents to quickly outline problems without immediately committing to concrete descriptions and legalese.

In this example, the user has indicated that they are experiencing electrical and fire safety issues. Complaints can often be categorized in many ways, so the TIA Mobile App is designed to encourage users to check any and all descriptions that might apply to their problem.


Second Screen

Second Screen: Convert Issues to City Codes

The app then generates a list of more specific complaints, based on the user's chosen categories. While these complaints are written to reflect options found on the websites of government agencies, such as the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD), they aim to restate the legalese of those agencies in more accessible language. In this way, the TIA Mobile App assists users in narrowing the focus of their complaints into the specific legal codes used by city submission forms.

In this screenshot, the TIA Mobile App has presented the user with specific kinds of city code violations that might be describes as electrical or fire safety issues. The user has selected "Deteriorated or sagging wires," which is a description phrase at the core of the city code.


Third Screen

Third Screen: Confirm and Submit Complaint

Users can review and supplement the language of their complaint prior to its submission. After submissions, agencies such as SAJE (as well as the user) can receive confirmation of a submission, and agencies like LAHD can receive app-generated submissions in the same format and language they would from their own website submission form. This process requires neither changes to any agencies' websites, nor access to their private data. In this way, the TIA Mobile App can potentially function as a bridge between broad community problems and specific government actions.

The third and final screenshot, shown here, displays that the user's complain, "Deteriorating or sagging wires," ha been translated by the TIA Mobile App back into the language of a code violation. Further, the user's other overlapping complains, "Over-fused electrical panel" and "Dangers electrical box," have been recombined into another specific city code violation.


About TIA

The TIA Mobile App is due to be released in Spring 2013, right here at callTIA.com.

Tenants In Action (TIA) is a collaboration between South LA Community Members, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), and the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML).

Craig Dietrich, IML Asst. Professor of Cinema Practice (TIA Co-director & Programmer) web email
Paulina Gonzalez, SAJE Director (TIA Co-director) web
Adam Liszkiewicz, USC Media Arts & Practice PhD Student (TIA Project Manager)  web

Jyotswaroop Bawa, SAJE Associate Director (TIA Co-director Emeritus 2012-2013) web
Chris Rowe, USC Cinematic Arts BA (TIA Video Production Coordinator Emeritus 2011-2012)
Maya Abood, SAJE Grassroots Media Coordinator (TIA Co-director Emeritus 2011-2012)


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