Rental Advocate calls out Cobb’s Ongoing Band-Aid to the Housing Crisis
South Cobb housing and rental advocate Monica DeLancy sent out a notification to the community that another family was evicted last week in Cobb County, a mother with 3 children; ages 2, 6, and 8.
DeLancy, who runs We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association questioned Cobb Chair Lisa Cupid and the Cobb County Commissioners as she pointed to the continued application of bandages to a situation, evictions and housing, that requires major surgery. We can agree that the pandemic has brought on a number of hardships that families find themselves faced with, however, DeLancy has been sounding the horn for years on the plight of families in the South Cobb area who are housing challenged. Many now find themselves caught in the spiderweb called eviction as they wait for their families to be displaced.
DeLancy released a statement following the Board’s meeting last week where they announced that they will seek an additional $40 million in federal rental assistance funding from Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs.
Despite the overwhelming demand in South Cobb and other communities across the state, the department has struggled to distribute its allotment of federal rental assistance dollars. Reports claim that less than 15% of the $989 million provided to the state had reached renters, even as evictions have soared, and a backlog of applications await processing.
In South Cobb, evictions continue to surge despite claims by Cobb County to have spent nearly all of the money it received (about $39 million – with another $13.8 million expected from the U.S. Treasury).
Data tracked by the Atlanta Regional Commission says landlords have filed an average of 1,500 evictions a month in Cobb since a federal moratorium was lifted in August. That’s up 50% from about 1,000 a month in the first eight months of last year.
According to DeLancy, “If a household is granted the rental assistance for past and future rent it is only for a short period of time. Eventually, the households will need assistance again.”
She provides an example of rent for a 2-bedroom apartment averaging $1,000 a month and says a household income must be at least $30,000 a year to maintain the rent, which many families do not make. She says, “The answer is not to tell a person to go get a higher paying job or training because all jobs are important. There needs to be an intentional plan to address the housing crisis.” She also challenged remarks from the ill-informed South Cobb commissioner who suggested that new apartments being built would provide the housing needed to address the problem in South Cobb.
Not so, says DeLancy. “I was able to listen to Commissioner Sheffield’s town hall meeting and she mentioned the possible Dominion development on the Magnolia Crossing property on Riverside Parkway. She stated that the price points would be affordable, a one-bedroom would be $980 a month, a two-bedroom would be about $1,200 a month and a three-bedroom would be about $1,300 a month. There are apartments in existence now that charge less than that. Remember Cobb County eviction courts are wall to wall with evictions with price points of apartments under $1,000 a month. The benefits of having a new apartment complex would be more options, however, to state that it will ‘be affordable’ is an overstatement.”
DeLancy says the time is now to really address the housing crisis and that short-term rental assistance, among other things, will not be enough. SPOTLIGHT will continue to provide coverage on this issue as we get more information from DeLancy on proposed solutions.