Casey Stands With Its NPU-V Neighbors on Housing in Atlanta

Posted January 9, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog caseystandswithnpuvneighbors 2017

With Casey Foun­da­tion fund­ing, the Atlanta Vol­un­teer Lawyers Foun­da­tion (AVLF) is expand­ing its Stand­ing With Our Neigh­bors ini­tia­tive to ensure more NPU‑V res­i­dents have access to rental hous­ing that is afford­able, safe and stable.

Too many low-income fam­i­lies strug­gle to secure hous­ing that meets their needs and end up pay­ing a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of their month­ly income on rent. The Har­vard Joint Cen­ter for Hous­ing Stud­ies found that in 2014, a record 21.3 mil­lion renters spent more than 30% of their income on hous­ing costs.

Hous­ing inse­cu­ri­ty is par­tic­u­lar­ly mag­ni­fied in Atlanta, where more than half of res­i­dents are renters. After the Great Reces­sion, large invest­ment firms and pri­vate equi­ty com­pa­nies bought fore­closed homes across the region and turned them into rental prop­er­ties. Now, these land­lords are evict­ing renters at rates that are some­times twice as much as small­er own­ers, espe­cial­ly in pre­dom­i­nate­ly African-Amer­i­can neigh­bor­hoods such as East Point, where half of the house­holds in the 30344 ZIP code had evic­tion notices filed against them.

Rec­og­niz­ing the neg­a­tive effects this can have on schools and com­mu­ni­ties, AVLF launched Stand­ing with Our Neigh­bors in Sep­tem­ber 2016 to pro­vide fam­i­lies in Thomasville Heights with free legal coun­sel and oth­er sup­ports to help them nav­i­gate dif­fi­cult land­lord-ten­ant issues includ­ing forced evic­tions, mold and util­i­ty shutoffs.

Learn more about Stand­ing with Our Neighbors

In the first 100 days, AVLF and its vol­un­teer attor­neys have pro­vid­ed more than 40 fam­i­lies with a vari­ety of hous­ing sup­ports. It has stopped 14 evic­tions, pro­vid­ed free legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion to more than 20 fam­i­lies need­ing crit­i­cal repairs to their units and helped five fam­i­lies avoid a ser­vice shut­off by pay­ing past-due util­i­ty bills.

AVLF is set to expand into sev­er­al oth­er com­mu­ni­ties across south­west Atlanta in 2017, con­tin­u­ing its work to improve res­i­dent health, reduce school enroll­ment turnover and enhance stu­dent atten­dance and per­for­mance. AVLF has already secured agree­ments to oper­ate in three local schools — Dun­bar Ele­men­tary, the Kindezi School at Gideons and D.H. Stan­ton Ele­men­tary — and has engaged sev­er­al res­i­dents to par­tic­i­pate in an advi­so­ry com­mit­tee, includ­ing moth­ers with chil­dren in these schools who rent homes in Peo­plestown, Mechan­icsville and Pittsburgh.

Read about Casey’s revi­tal­iza­tion efforts in Pittsburgh

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