The Housing Justice League convened a Rent Control Town Hall with the Georgia for All Coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation on July 8 to build a coalition to push for the repeal of the state ban on rent control. 

Billed a “people’s town hall,” the event attracted over 250 people to the Neighborhood Church in Candler Park and support from 40 grassroots organizations for its message of “Rent Control Now!” Speakers said there’s a critical need for rent control at a time when rents keep spiking while wages stagnate, as they worked to raise awareness and provide a space for people to share their stories. 

Satya Vatti, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) from Vine City, said the goal was to get grassroots organizers, tenant leaders and tenants together to signal to politicians that there is massive support for rent control in Georgia.

Photos/Elizabeth Rymarev, @lizardshots)

Since Georgia law prohibits cities like Atlanta from passing local rent control laws, it will take a statewide movement to push state lawmakers to lift the ban, Vatti said, which means building a unified network among all the different organizations across the state fighting for housing justice.

Speakers like Diana Brown, founder of Ossie’s Fair Housing and Homecare, and Shanika Owens, founder of Our Power, Our Voice, made the long drive from Albany to raise awareness that there’s a housing crisis for working-class people all over Georgia, not just Atlanta. 

Shanika Owens, founder of Our Power, Our Voice, speaks on her experience with housing from Albany, Georgia at a people’s town hall in Neighborhood Church in Atlanta, hosted by the Georgia Coalition for All, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Housing Justice League on Saturday, July 8, 2023. (Photo/Elizabeth Rymarev, @lizardshots)

Brown described her work to provide better housing for senior citizens and the housing challenges for the elderly community, while Owens shared her own story as a mother and community leader who does advocacy work in Albany. 

“True resilience can look like anyone who is sitting at these tables,” Owens said. 

Organizing is the way to make change, said PSL labor organizer Addison Clapp. “We understand that housing, as long as it’s treated like a commodity to be bought and sold and profited off of – as long as that’s the case, we’re not going to have good housing. But if we organize and we fight, we can make that change happen,” she said.

previous coverage of the push for rent control

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  1. I agree, how can you raise the price of rent, when there are not wages being resided in order to afford the rent. Landlords are taking advantage of raising the cost and getting away with it. They can’t justify why an 20 year old apartments cost 1600.00 a month with know upgraded appliances or bathrooms. And live in a area where there are no jobs that pay. They have dedicated this expensive rent increase to military personnel and the Cain-contractors that work on the military base here. Which is not fair.

  2. What’s better than rent control? A market in which landlords have to compete against each other for tenants, instead of the other way around. How do you get that sort of market? Not by making it less attractive to supply accommodation, but by making it less attractive NOT to—by imposing a tax on vacant lots and unoccupied buildings. The “vacancy tax”, as it is sometimes called, is not limited to what real-estate agents call vacancies, i.e. properties advertised for rent; it also applies to unoccupied properties that are not on the rental market (preferably including vacant land, so as not to encourage demolition or deter construction), and prompts the owners to find occupants in order to avoid the tax.

    A vacancy tax is good for general taxpayers because *avoiding* the vacancy tax requires economic activity, which expands the *bases* of other taxes, allowing their *rates* to be lower.

    A vacancy tax on residential property is good for commercial property owners because it keeps nearby residential properties populated with prospective customers and workers.

    A vacancy tax on commercial property is good for residential property owners because it keeps nearby commercial properties populated with employers and service-providers. It’s good even if you’re a commercial property owner because it keeps nearby commercial properties populated with complementary businesses that will attract foot traffic to *your* property!

    And of course a vacancy tax is good for real-estate agents because it generates more rental-management fees or (if owners decide to sell rather than let) sales commissions.

  3. The people mentioned in the article are the ones who refuse to take accountability for there failures in life which are always self inflicted. Low education and no skills no problem; we will demand to be taken care of. I’m sure most of the people at the meeting have no ideal what socialism is.

    All they hear is darn near free housing and it’s not your fault you keep having babies for bum men who are pushing poverty.
    If they spent even a fraction of the time on working to get their own or leveling up they would not be trying to pass laws to forcr others to support them. I have been to meetings like the one in the article, the same woo is me and i work a dead end job for the last 10 years cause I refuse to get certifications or learn. What they need to demand is bring the public housing back.

    1. Logic: This comment reminds me of, years ago, I was protesting at an Occupy rally and two men in a truck screamed “GET A JOB!” as they drove by. I had woken up early that morning to prepare to participate in the protest, spent the morning protesting, and at 1pm headed to my closing shift tired and defeated with this guy’s voice ringing GET A JOB! all the way to 9pm when I left this job he just *knew* I didn’t have to finally get back home. This was 10 years ago and it feels like yesterday.

      It strikes me that you are struggling yourself, but instead of offering thought out solutions – like the vacancy tax suggestion above you that I may be skeptical of, but hey it’s something to absolutely discuss – you choose to leave a comment punching down. Not very “logical” my friend.

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