Shelia Edwards, a BOC District 4 Candidate, calls for an affordable housing summit

modest homes in Cobb CountyHouses in Fair Oaks -- photo by Larry Felton Johnson

Shelia Edwards, a candidate for the Cobb County Commission District 4 seat being vacated by Commissioner Lisa Cupid, submitted the following press release proposing an Affordable Housing Summit:

Shelia Edwards, candidate for Cobb County Commission – District 4, is calling on members of the Board of Commission and other elected officials from various offices throughout the county to host a community summit to address the humanitarian crisis that is occurring within Cobb County as it relates to affordable housing.

Edwards addressed members of the Commission during their Board meeting Monday night. Her remarks included the following:

Most of us have heard about the unfortunate situation last week when a mother and her two children were displaced from their apartment in South Cobb. This is traumatizing and serves as a red flag to all of us who care about families and affordable housing, but this didn’t just start with this family and will not end here unless we act now.

It is time for us to address this matter in our community. Many of us have witnessed over the past year several attempts at bringing affordable housing to our community and saw these attempts ceremoniously rejected time and time again.

I personally witnessed senior affordable housing being rejected at a Board of Commissions meeting, as Chairman Mike Boyce cast the lone vote for it.

We need to undertake a discussion and develop an action plan to educate citizens on home ownership and pave the path forward for affordable housing in our community. I am willing to donate my time and energy to work with whatever group is deemed appropriate to begin these discussions and develop actionable items to address this issue once and for all.

Chairman Boyce and others participated in a discussion on this topic this past summer. We must find a way to continue this discussion and develop strategies to must us forward because people with limited funds and housing needs creates an immediate demand for affordable housing that can no longer be ignored.

I have come before the Board of Commissions several times in the past to advocate for the development of Magnolia Crossing, fifty acres of prime real estate property in the Six Flags area that has sat dormant for years. As I saw last week’s unfortunate story unfold, I wondered if the development of Magnolia Crossing could have altered the trajectory of what occurred with this family.

We will never know about yesterday, but we can surely plan and plot for a better future for tomorrow. The need for affordable housing is real in Cobb County and it gets up close and personal each day. This is not the first family to be displaced and it will not be the last.

A community summit should also include a discussion on the current eviction process. We must move towards a more humane process that does not harm or humiliate families that already finds themselves in a vulnerable situation.

The states of California and New Jersey both have 21st century laws on their books to address evictions in a more humane manner. It is time that Cobb County did so too.