News

Activating Tenant Power

On Thursday, Feb. 2nd, the Housing Justice League launched its new tenant leadership development training series. The series will take place every month at different apartment complexes, and include smaller trainings in between each month based on the needs of each complex.

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Job Announcement: Vista Tenant Organizer

We have a new opportunity for a passionate person who's down to organize tenants. There's a ton of training involved so experience isn't required but it is appreciated.

VISTA Tenant Organizer

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Turner Field Neighbors and Students Unite: TFCBC Takes a Stand Against GSU/Carter Development

Press Conference Before Council MeetingOn Tuesday, Jan.17th, one day after Atlanta celebrated MLK day, Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition (TFCBC) residents and students packed City Hall to speak out against Turner Field stadium purchasers. On Dec.31st, 2016, Georgia State University and its development partners closed a purchase deal to acquire Turner Field stadium and its surrounding lots. This deal, however, did not include the detailed Community Benefits Agreement TFCBC has researched and arranged over the past two years. GSU and Carter Development have taken a stance of non-negotiation, and no-CBA, despite active outreach by Turner Field residents to the contrary. The refusal to include a Community Benefits Agreement in the purchase deal, first through the sale by the City, and later in the purchase by GSU, has created a climate of non-negotiation. Without a CBA, there is no guarantee that development in and around Turner Field will not displace families, nor economically benefit residents who remain. The welfare of the Turner Field Neighborhoods, and especially its most low-income residents, has been dramatically de-prioritized by the City of Atlanta, and their future neighbor, Georgia State University.

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Residents and GSU Students Threaten to Block Turner Field Development if Binding CBA Not Agreed Upon

As the final sale agreement for Turner Field is set to be completed by the end of the year, the surrounding communities of Summerhill, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, and Pittsburgh still have no binding Community Benefits Agreement.

Today Turner Field area resident and GSU students meet at the capitol to send a clear message to the city and the developers of the Turner Field property.

“As residents, we simply can't afford another development project that further displaces our community members and has no real community engagement, and no real accountability to our neighborhoods”, stated longtime Peoplestown resident Alison Johnson.

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Graduation Ceremony Disruption Serves as a Public Warning

On Wednesday, Dec, 14th, members of the Turner Field campaign coordinated a direct action at Georgia State University’s mid-year commencement ceremony. During the University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby’s commencement address, residents and students intervened with chants of “Dr. Becker, do the right thing” and “CBA or no deal.” Their chorus sounded through the Georgia Dome, and received focused attention from Hank Huckaby and Mark Becker. Huckaby berated the protestors, and incited police officers to remove them from the seating area.  

Asma Elhuni, JT Pennington, and Athri Ranganathan were pushed out of the Dome and taken to a holding room. There, they were detained and interrogated by police for two hours. The encounter was largely non-confrontational, though officers handcuffed Ranganathan and claimed he was lying about his name, date of birth, and social security number. After a delayed acceptance of Ranganathan’s information, officers issued criminal trespass notices to all three individuals. Asma, JT, and Athri are currently under a two-year ban from entering Georgia State University property. They are amidst discussions on how to fight this heavy-handed ruling.

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Peoplestown Residents Send Clear Message, "We Will Not Be Moved!"

On Monday, Nov. 21st, residents of Peoplestown and Housing Justice League members marched to the Atlanta City Hall to testify in front of City Council members who voted to authorize eminent domain proceedings against Mrs. and Mr. Darden and Tanya Washington. Protestors brought “Thanks-taking” themed posters plastered with the face of Mayor Kasim Reed, highlighting Reed’s gentrifying tendencies and impassivity in meeting with residents. The contingent group outside City Hall was only a small part of the 6,000+ signatories who signed a petition supporting Tanya and the Dardens’ resistance to displacement.

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Peoplestown Residents Stand Up to Mayor Reed's Use of Eminent Domain

On Thursday, Nov. 17th, a group of Peoplestown residents and the Housing Justice League rallied together at the house of resident Tanya Washington, bringing attention to the eminent domain proceedings brought against Washington and her neighbors. In front of reporters and cameras from various television stations, Washington led the charge in explaining the issue at hand.

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Letter to the Beltline: We Support Ryan and Nathaniel

Housing Justice League shield

October 5, 2016

Last week, Ryan Gravel, credited as the brainchild behind the Atlanta Beltline and Nathaniel Smith, founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity, submitted resignation letters to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. They cited concerns about affordable housing along the growing trail, and a lack of pedestrian green space. The Housing Justice League would like to commend Ryan Gravel and Nathaniel Smith for taking a principled stand. Affordability along the Beltline has become a growing issue-- its popularity is raising housing prices and exacerbating concerns that have already displaced long-term residents. It threatens to make Atlanta even more unaffordable for low to moderate income residents.

Atlanta Beltline, which oversees the development of what will be a 22-mile loop through the city, has said it hopes to raise $7.5 million to encourage affordable housing development. In their resignation letters, Gravel and Smith noted, however, that “funding is far from what is needed." For example: The recent announcement of $7.5 million from TAD bonds will likely support fewer than 200 affordable units out of ABI’s obligation to 5,600. When compared to the need, the pair said, current funding “is a drop in the bucket”. As the economy roars back to life, and the city accelerates, this work is increasingly urgent. Gravel and Smith mentioned they feel strongly that, "our attention must be channeled directly toward it.”

It is clear; the city of Atlanta has made little effort to hold the Beltline developers accountable. The developers have built exclusively luxury housing, creating a period of unbridled wealth extraction from communities that have only recently begun strong economic development. The Beltiline's unfolding makes us wonder, 'What type of city we will be left with, if the Beltline continues to develop without accountability to communities it profits from? The Beltline is a reality, and there seems to be no turning back from this popular city project. Huge rent hikes and displacements have already occurred around the completed sections of the Beltline. If Atlanta is to be a city that works for everyone, we simply cannot afford to allow the Beltline to continue to develop in its current fashion. We hope this serves as a wake-up call to the City of Atlanta, City council, Mayor Reed, and Paul Morris. It is time to hold developers accountable to their commitments.

In conclusion, we support Ryan Gravel and Nathaniel Smith for their courageous efforts to seek equity and equality for all.

 

With Love and Power,

Housing Justice League

 

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Atlanta Declared a Renter's State of Emergency

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Atlanta is in a renter’s state of emergency. How many of us have engaged in or overheard conversations with folks in our city about the rising rents and rapidly changing face of our city? Development doesn’t have to be a bad word, but what we are seeing in Atlanta right now is the kind of development and wealth extraction that will leave Atlanta totally unaffordable for low and moderate income people.

 

On Tuesday July 12th at 11am on the Trinity side of Atlanta City Hall the Housing Justice League released our, “Renter's State of Emergency” report and declared Atlanta a state of emergency for renters and low income homeowners. After the press conference we presented the report to City Council members. 

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City View @ Rosa Burney Tenant Association Anniversary

IMG_0244.JPGCity View @ Rosa Burney's Tenant Association celebrated it's one year anniversary with a 2 day event celebration. In one year, the City View at Rosa Burney Tenant Association has brought together tenants, allies, and the Mechanicsville Community. The tenant association organized to keep City Views at Rosa Burney affordable by getting a HUD contract for 7 years. A very eventful and successful year!

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