The unseen casualties of the coronavirus pandemic are the millions of individuals and families who are currently out of work and struggling to make ends meet. For many, no work means no money to pay rent.
Last summer, the American Friends Service Committee's Atlanta Economic Justice Program, in partnership with Housing Justice League, was bracing to respond to a flood of evictions. We decided to launch the Home Defender Project to help people at risk of losing their housing. In July of 2020 we identified and hired four young people who had been participating in the summer’s uprisings and were passionate about fighting displacement. The Home Defenders help protect people from eviction, and help tenants organize to defend their rights.
Thankfully, the CDC's national eviction moratorium has staved off the eviction crisis we feared was coming—but we are not out of the woods yet. It is possible that there will be a wave of evictions after the moratorium expires early next year.
We need your help to sustain this project for another 6 to 9 months! This pandemic is far from over, and we must remain ready for any abrupt changes in eviction trends. We believe that housing is a human right, and no one should be displaced because of an inability to pay their rent, especially during a global pandemic and economic crisis. Our Home Defenders have received training in tenant organizing, de-escalation, and direct action. So far, they have provided critical organizing support to tenant associations working to achieve safe and quality living conditions.
"I've loved being a Home Defender! It has been an introduction for me into the world of grassroots organizing ... We’ve worked with such incredible leaders and been able to witness so much growth in others and ourselves. I feel that I’ve met and learned from some of the most kind and genuine people in our city and I am very grateful." — Ashia Gallo
"I decided to become a Home Defender because I wanted to learn how to help people in Atlanta that have been directly impacted by housing insecurity and gentrification. Being a home defender has taught me that there are so many people that love their neighborhoods and care about making their communities a better place." — Camden Hunt
Join us in the fight against displacement! With your help, the Home Defender Project can continue to assist people at risk of losing their housing.