The economic crisis that accompanied the pandemic has caused widespread unemployment and tremendous economic uncertainty.
So far, a feared wave of evictions in metro Atlanta has yet to materialize – thanks to state and federal unemployment benefits and a hold on eviction proceedings in most counties in the region.
Now, a one-two punch threatens to cause a huge spike in the number of people at risk of losing their homes: Federal unemployment benefits are being cut in half in Georgia to $300 per week, and many counties in the metro area have resumed eviction hearings after a limited federal ban on evictions expired.
This potential tsunami of evictions has put local governments and housing advocates on notice and sparked urgent dialogue and a search for solutions:
- Evictions will be the focus of the next Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, which takes place at 9:30 on Sept. 2 and will stream live on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
- An interactive data tool has been developed to provide a granular look at where eviction filings are taking place in the region, down to the Census tract. The eviction tracker was created by the Atlanta Regional Commission in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Georgia Tech.
The tracker is already showing an uptick in eviction filings. In the week ending Aug. 29, there were 1,546 eviction filings in the region’s core five counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, and Clayton, compared to 383 a month earlier.
- Rental assistance funds are being set up to offer direct financial help to people at risk of eviction. For example, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recently announced $22 million in federal coronavirus relief will help keep more than 6,700 residents in their homes.
“It is critical that our region joins together to head off an eviction crisis resulting from increasing rents, a global pandemic and job loss,” said Bill Bolling, founder and moderator of the Housing Forum. “We invite leaders across the Atlanta region to join us for this important discussion.”
What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.