“Evictions haunt us:” Cobb residents demand better housing solutions from BOC

Natasha MartinNatasha Martin speaks about her eviction at a Cobb County Board of Commissioners Meeting (screenshot from video of meeting)

by Arielle Robinson

Cobb residents spoke during the public comments section of last Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting to express concern over affordable housing and evictions.

Back in February of this year, Cobb’s BOC approved the creation of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The ERA Program’s intention was to help Cobb residents pay rent and other necessary utilities.

In addition to this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a temporary eviction ban that a federal judge struck down earlier this month.

The moratorium remains in place until next month while President Joe Biden’s administration attempts to appeal the judge’s decision to end the ban.

Despite the ERA Program and CDC eviction moratorium, some Cobb residents say that they have trouble affording rent.

Some residents also say they are subjected to dehumanizing and possibly illegal evictions.

Natasha Martin and her family were evicted from their Vinings home Thursday, May 6.

Martin said she was caring for her daughter and newborn grandchild when her son called her to inform her that sheriff’s deputies are at their house with guns drawn, telling them all to get out their house.

Martin said she was terrified for her teenage son, who is Black.

Martin also said that deputies approached her husband, telling him to get off the couch he was sitting on.

Martin said her husband has had five strokes, cannot walk and is completely dependent on others to care for him.

Because of the stress he was under, Martin’s husband ended up in the hospital with another stroke, she said. Martin and her family stayed in a hotel after being kicked out.

The front office of where Martin was living was supposed to help out with attaining certain resources if evicted, Martin said, but did not do that.

“I also sent them an email stating what is the full [amount] that’s due, I’m going to try to work on getting that down,” Martin said. “They said they didn’t want it. I explained to them I have a [disabled] husband. They just wanted me out. And that’s fine. What’s not fine is pulling out a gun on my husband who can’t walk.”

Martin thanked the founder and president of We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association, Monica DeLancy, for coming to her family’s aid when it was needed.

We Thrive in Riverside advocates for the rights of renters in the Riverside area of Cobb County.

To close, Martin asked the board about families who face evictions and do not know whom to call when they need help.

She asked the board to take action to assist families who are being evicted.

“I don’t like to cry in public … Nor do I like to disclose my own life … But I know I have to open my mouth because there are other people that are going through what I’m going through. So I’m asking for help for people like me,” Martin said.

The Courier reached out to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for comment on the drawn weapons Martin described.

Saba Long, the Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said that officers drawing their guns during evictions is a common practice by deputies to ensure their safety.

Long said deputies acted professionally and adhered to departmental policies.

“The deputies knocked on the door, announced themselves, and that they were there for an eviction action,” Long said. “After they determined the dwelling was clear they placed their weapons back in the holster. This is standard procedure. Camera footage showed that at no time were the deputies discourteous to the occupants of the residence and in fact assisted them in retrieving personal items.”

Courtney Omega, a friend of Martin and former city council member of Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida, said she now lives in Georgia but was previously evicted while living in Florida.

Omega said evictions are shameful and embarrassing and demanded the board draft “aggressive” legislation to ensure they do not occur.

“This is a Black woman problem,” Omega said. “This is a gender-specific, race-specific problem to us. Regardless of our backgrounds, regardless of our education and regardless of our positions — evictions haunt us.”

When DeLancy addressed the BOC, she asked that they implement live resource guides to help with those who are evicted at all times of the day.

DeLancy said that when she was helping Martin and her family with finding a place to go after being evicted, county resources like the board and MUST Ministries did not initially reach back to them, as it was after hours.

Because of the time of day, it was also hard to find UHaul trucks to move Martin and her family’s belongings.

DeLancy said that luckily, her organization was able to assist Martin with food and a hotel to stay in for the night.

It was not until the next morning that Cobb housing officials reached back out to DeLancy and Martin.

“There should be a working number provided so that person can get some type of housing for that evening,” DeLancy said. “You can talk with the churches and say okay, we know that evictions for multi-housing takes place on Thursday. So you rotate … on call churches available on that day.”

Cynthia Johnson said that housing is an equal rights issue and asked the board to implement policies that prevent discriminatory practices in housing.

In particular, Johnson said she would like to see Cobb developers accept housing vouchers.

Housing vouchers, according to the United States Department of Housing Urban Development, “is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.”

Johnson said she was illegally evicted back in January.

While waiting for her court date, Johnson has been looking for housing but said it is difficult because complexes will not accept vouchers.

Her denials come in spite of the fact that she has a great credit score, no previous evictions, no lease violations, no bankruptcies or anything else they may disqualify her from housing.

Because housing vouchers expire after an amount of time, Johnson said she had less than four days to find housing before her voucher expires.

Last year before the pandemic, Atlanta’s city council enacted historical legislation, saying landlords must accept people with housing vouchers.

Not doing so would be discriminating against people based on their income, some city council members said.

Johnson said Cobb must go in the route that Atlanta has and that the board must work to ensure that developers accept vouchers and create affordable housing.

Watch Natasha Martin’s comments at the Cobb BOC meeting

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6 Comments on "“Evictions haunt us:” Cobb residents demand better housing solutions from BOC"

  1. You are never going to get all landlords to take Section 8, typically there will be other reasons in the person’s background to deny, which landlords can legally do, i.e. bad credit, past eviction and criminal history. The only landlords that will take Section 8 are the slumlords, the good mom and pop landlords are selling their properties as fast as they can now to get out of the business. The hedge funds and big corporate landlords are buying out the small guys for above price cash offers. The big landlords have the money and lawyers to evict and keep Section 8 out. They will simply upgrade the properties and price them above the rates HUD will approve for a tenants “full rent”. As usual the government is only taking a bad situation and making it worse.

  2. The sheriff’s deputies could have offered a peaceful way out and only escalated use of force if necessary. Peoples’ first impression of the deputies just became an awful one – and leads to refusals to cooperate or help law enforcement when they need witnesses / info.

    What a way to destroy legitimacy and gain a reputation for thuggishness, SMH.

  3. At what hour and minutes are the Martin comments? Please and thank you.

  4. Tracey McDearmid|Martin. Steffey | June 7, 2021 at 4:18 am | Reply

    I am the only one that #1 there is no Martin my Uncle Hubert who married Betty Ford Martin. My cousins Melissa and Debbie Martin and Carmen Sizemore married Hubert Asbury Martin Sr., 1948 murdered, left Carmen with everything #2She married Judge Cecil Bullards’brother Herbert Bullard 44 year CCPD, CHIEF OF COBB POLICE DEPARTMENT,, DIED IN 1978.3773 DALLAS HWY. MARIETTA, GA. 30064 AND ACROSS THE STREET MY HOUSE HISTORICAL LANDMARK THE CIVIL WAR, JUDGE CECIL BULLARD MADE THE FIRST AS LAW MAKER, FROM PLANTATION UP. TOI BAD YOU LEFT HIM SITTING IN PROBATE 28 YEARS FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH HUBERT MARTIN SR AND CARMEN SIZEMORE MARTIN, BULLARDS’TRANSFERRED EVERYTHING ON 10/19/1994.I ALREADY HAD EVERY IT BEFORE SHE DIED, SHE DIED 07/15/1995.AND FOR NOT GIVING ME MY OWN ESTATE IN MY NAME JUDGE CECIL BULLARD TOOK THE OTHER MARTINS TO COURT AND ORDERED THEM TO BE EXECUTED OUT AT ALL BLOOD RIGHTS, THEY SIGNED AND NEVER EXPIRES IN DALLAS, PAULDING CO. NANCY GRAHM NOTARY, AND IN SUPERIOR CLERK OF COURT SEAL JC STEPHENSON TO WENDY PEAL NOTARY. I JUST GOT IT OUT OF THE COURT IN COBB THAT CECIL BULLARD BUILT THE GODDAMN COURTHOUSE, THE JAIL, MAYES WARD C&SLOANS, BB&T BANK, GA. STATE BANK, HE WAS OFFICIATING FOR PRESIDENTS FOR EVEN AN ATTORNEY TO PASS THE BARR HE WAS LAW MAKER NOW I AM. AND IMPERSONATING ME , AS TRACEY LYNN MCDEARMID STEVENS MARTIN GRANTHAM SIZEMORE MARTIN LAND PIERCY ROBERT LUCIOUS McDearmid, MAC’s Real daughter, hit by a drunk driver in 1961,editor in chief creator of the Kennesaw Sentinel, wore 200,000.00 suits, drank smoked, he financed everything after the cold war the rebuild, that was just given to me on 09/03/2018,the restart of SSA, THAT TAKEN BEFORE I EVEN STARTED MY OWN FUND AND IT GO 3 YEARS AND YOU ARE IN THE FEDERAL RESERVES, 860 MILLION THE IRS SAID THAT I DID NOT EVEN GET TO DOWNLOAD MY FOLIO , MUTUAL FUNDS

  5. So you better have everything that was seized by Cecil or any judge, every ledger, and feel free to call my Uncle Bill Barr, or my cousin Judge Greg Carlyle, or Judge Bullard or my cousin John Dierkes, President of Matin Lockheed 1983 to be ordered after failure to comply with orders and sentencing orders,security breach,Read out in the Federal Bldg that Martin Lockheed was 8n my name and John Dierkes killed judge Bullard and stayed in Lockheed illegally

  6. Tracey McDearmid|Martin. Steffey | June 7, 2021 at 5:00 am | Reply

    My phone is out of minutes, I am at 4426 Floyd Rd Apt#124,Mableton, Ga30126,I have nothing but everything is being seized for me by the IRS . Washington D. C. Sent me the paperwork work for me to fill out the Presidential Declaration for Disaster Relief for immediate money and states from 10/19/1994 to on going to fill out the amounts needed and they will send in FEMA, RED CROSS, Disaster Relief Case Workers, Money, but now you are property of Ga. Department of Community Health for Infectious Diseases. HepA, B, C, D, and live Radiation, and Sporadic Acidic Mold Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Live Asbestos, and Raw Sewage downtown backed up in the Chattahoochee River already, Hemp Hill sump pump stations motors completely out, but the live electric current/conduit will not shut down it is nuclear power, Omaha Nuclear is completely dismantled. That’s how you get your electric current through that Power and Water treatment plant, gone, the population stopped on 10/26/1995.Everything stopped that was in the good as truth and good and law and You have separated ChristJesus,King, and kept the 10 COMMANDMENTS TO THATS FINAL WELCOME TO YOUR HELL. THE USA IS CUT OFF FROM MARTIN BULLARD MCDEARMID YOU WONT RECEIVE OR HAVE CONNECTION OUT OF THESE 50 STATES , THEY ARE NOT STATES IT’S BEEN TRADED WITH CUBA TO BE FREE AND USA IS EXILED, FINAL, I HAVE THE CHURCH , AND THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND, AND LINDSEY GRAHM, AND THE VATICAN, AND THE POPE AND NATO, UK , USSR, GREECE, MUNINCIPLE PRESIDENTS AND I AM, PRESIDENTIAL SELECTED AS US JUSTICE , CAPITOL HEARINGS RIGHT HERE NOT WHERE STACY IS PLAYING AROUND

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