02/21/2019 -- Austell, Georgia -- A warning of eveiciton sign is displayed in front of the leasing office at Parkview Apartments, located at 360 Riverside Parkway, in Austell, Thursday, February 21, 2019. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Housing a top issue in South Cobb commission race

A lack of quality affordable housing in South Cobb is emerging as a top issue in the race to replace Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who is running for commission chair in 2020.

While qualifying is still a year away, at least two South Cobb residents have announced their intentions to run for district commissioner.

Monica DeLancy, founder of the We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association, and April McDonald, a corporate attorney, both say if they are elected to represent South Cobb housing will be a priority.

“The housing crisis is the biggest issue,” said DeLancy.

DeLancy has spent the last decade urging renters to be more politically engaged, but trying to organize working people who move a lot is a challenge, she said.

“They’re not going to come to meetings,” she said. “They’re not going to speak up. They’re just going to work to make sure that their leases are renewed.”

McDonald said she would like to focus on “affordable middle class housing” for “our nurses, our teachers and firefighters.”

While the county has limited tools at its disposal when it comes to shaping the housing market, McDonald said she would work with stakeholders to address the problem. 

“It’s forging relationships with people who can bring about that change,” she said. 

Recently, South Cobb become a poster child for affordable housing reform after one high profile case of a landlord who collects tens of thousands of dollars a month in subsidies despite dozens of code violations.

The story helped galvanize support for a bill banning retaliatory evictions, which was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp last week. 

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