ASHLEIGH STARNES | MAY 30, 2019
National Housing Week of Action starts today. How will you get involved?
It’s National Housing Week of Action, and we’re kicking it off by sharing nine ways that you and your community can get involved in housing issues in Atlanta.
The more engaged we are, the better our community can support the needs of all Atlantans in a fair and equitable way.
You can learn more about National Housing Week of Action here.
1. Educate yourself on housing issues in Atlanta – and the real-life stories of those affected.
Empathy is the first step toward change. And to foster empathy, you have to educate yourself! There are tons of resources on the history of housing and poverty in Atlanta.
Check out our reading list, which has several excellent books on the topic.
Here are some articles and blog posts to get you started:
- The Redemptive Love of Chiliquila Ogletree
- The Housing Vision that Guides Us
- Why aren’t landlords renting to Section 8 tenants?
- Housing Justice is Racial Justice
- Eviction tactics squeeze renters
2. Attend the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on June 5.
“To get involved with housing issues in Atlanta, people should start attending the quarterly meetings of the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum (next meeting is June 5). At these meetings, community leaders and concerned citizens with an interest in housing justice come together to discuss Atlanta-specific challenges, strategies, and initiatives.” – Cole Thaler, Safe and Stable Homes Director
[Get started: https://www.atlantaregionalhousingforum.org/]
3. Get involved with the Housing Justice League.
Take direct action and learn about on-the-ground grassroots affordable housing activism! You can learn all about the Housing Justice League on their website.
The Housing Justice League empowers renters and homeowners to self-organize and defend their right to remain. They fight to preserve affordable housing, prevent gentrification, and build neighborhood power for an Atlanta-wide housing justice movement.
4. Learn about the NPU Initiative.
Do you know that if you’re over 18 and living in Atlanta city limits, you’re part of a Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU)?
Atlanta has 25 NPUs, each with their own individual by-laws. NPUs meet monthly to discuss various aspects of our city’s development.
The Center for Civic Innovation is launching the NPU Initiative, which is intended to assess how NPUs are working and increase community engagement.
You can learn lots more about NPUs here.
5.Observe eviction court.
Fulton County receives 40,000 eviction filings each year. To really understand the way evictions work in Fulton County, you need to see the process first-hand.
You can observe eviction court at the following times:
Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., or 3:00 p.m
[Further Reading: At Fulton County’s 3 P.M. Eviction Hearing, All Of The Tenants Lose]
6. Learn the basics of zoning and land use regulation.
Did you know that zoning laws can promote – or destroy – the accessibility of affordable housing? Our zoning laws determine what can and can’t be built in a given area, and the right policies can help prevent displacement, gentrification, and affordable housing deserts.
Here are some resources to start:
- The 5 Immutable Laws of Affordable Housing
- Reforming land use regulations
- Atlanta’s War on Density
7. Visit the Dignity Museum.
Earlier this week, some of our staff took a trip to the Dignity Museum in College Park. We learned about the human impact of homelessness, challenging stereotypes and rethinking ways we can take action in our community.
Housed in a repurposed shipping container, the Dignity Museum is an immersive, interactive experience that helps break down assumptions about poverty and homelessness.
You can learn more about the Dignity Museum here.
8. Learn about the intersection of housing and intimate partner abuse.
Did you know that a study of homeless women with children found that 80% had previously experienced domestic violence? (Source: https://safehousingpartnerships.org/intersection)
Intimate partner abuse often directly contributes to housing instability for survivors. (This is why we’re starting to strengthen the connection between our housing work and our service to survivors.)
Here are some resources you can check out:
- Intimate Partner Abuse and Housing Instability
- Domestic Violence and Housing Problems
- National Alliance to End Homelessness: Domestic Violence
9. Give to the cause.
Whether it’s your time or your money, sharing our excess resources with those who have less is a simple yet transformational action you can take this week.
Read about the organizations throughout the city that are dedicating themselves to fighting for a fairer and more equitable Atlanta. Once you’re familiar with these organizations, choose one and volunteer or donate! This work is collaborative, and we can only make positive change when we work together.
If you’d like to donate to us, we’d be honored. You can do so here.
Are you following us on social media? Find us @supportavlf.
Communications Manager (Interim)
As AVLF’s Interim Communications Manager, Ashleigh works in website content development, social media outreach, and various other forms of communication with our clients, volunteers, and supporters.
Ashleigh is ever-eager to share the remarkable stories of our work, and the impact of AVLF’s staff and volunteers on our community.
Before joining AVLF, Ashleigh was a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey. She holds a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Georgia. She is also a performance artist, and can occasionally be seen performing movement pieces, poetry, and combinations of the two around Atlanta and beyond.