The University of Illinois Tenant Union opened its doors in Room 296 of the Illini Union on September 20, 1971. The office was originally staffed by volunteers and two part-time student workers, funded by the U of I Student Government Association via the Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF). From the beginning, their mission was to stimulate fairness in landlord-tenant relationships and to serve as a resource for students residing in privately owned housing. In 2011 the Board of Trustees approved a proposal to fund the Tenant Union using the mandatory Service Fee. That decision expanded the number of students eligible for services and removed the office’s reliance on the refundable SORF.

In 2015 the Office of the Dean of Students began Campus and Community Student Services to assist students who reside off campus adjust to living independently in the campus district and the greater Champaign Urbana area. Largely their outreach initiatives focused on safety awareness and connection to community resources.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the Tenant Union and Campus and Community Student Services (CCSS) merged to form Off-Campus Community Living (OCCL). Off-Campus Community Living is a program within the Student Assistance Center of the Office of the Dean of Students. This would allow for one entity to support and assist students living in privately owned apartments and homes and connect off-campus living students to campus and the Champaign-Urbana community.