Healthy Housing

Housing Justice Initiative

Georgia Appleseed’s Housing Justice initiative increases access for low-income children and their families to safe, healthy rental housing. Substandard housing conditions lead to increased childhood illness, more home and school moves, and behavior and learning challenges that set children back and increase their risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Our initiative:

  • engages with tenants directly
  • convenes a statewide Healthy Housing Coalition
  • advocates for legislative action to protect low-income tenants
  • supports a collaborative social innovation lab in Clayton County that develops and implements local solutions.

Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition (GHHC)

Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition’s (GHHC) more than 50 organizational members lead Georgia toward healthier housing for its children. GHHC and its working groups coordinate legislative advocacy, implement strategies to grow the coalition’s diversity and effectiveness, and perform important research.

GHHC's 2023-2025 Policy Reform Agenda were developed through conversations with community members and members of the Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition.

In 2019, the Georgia Healthy Housing Coalition led the charge on HB 346, a bill that proposed to ban retaliatory evictions. In May 2019, the governor signed the historic bill, making it illegal for landlords to evict tenants in retaliation for requesting needed repairs. Read about how the law is already making a difference in the lives of tenants in this recent AJC article.

If you have questions about the new law or the coalition, please contact Caren Cloud. If you are interested in joining GHHC, please complete our Healthy Housing Coalition Interest Form.

Clayton County Homeless Intervention Program (HIP)

Georgia Appleseed is a founding member of the Clayton County Homeless Intervention Program (HIP). This collaborative social innovation lab develops and implements effective interventions to end homelessness and unhealthy housing conditions for low-income children and their families. HIP’s unique design facilitates a local-focused group of leaders and stakeholders—including those from schools, courts, and government—to identify barriers to healthy, affordable housing and innovate community-specific solutions. HIP creates a model for localized reform by engaging the courts, schools, nonprofits, service providers, and policing and housing code enforcement. Check out our one-page HIP summary for more information.

Communities can apply our social innovation lab model to a wide range of social problems. Check out our Social Innovation Lab Best Practices to learn more.

Tools and Resources for Families

Use our Healthy Housing Advocacy Toolkit to fight for healthier, more stable rental housing for families and children in your neighborhoods, towns, and counties across Georgia.

A free Rental Housing Basics guide offers information on rental assistance, eviction proceedings, and conditions issues rights. It’s a joint project by our partners Atlanta Legal Aid and Georgia Legal Services Program, and all information is accessible in both English and Spanish.

Advocating for Safe, Healthy, and Stable Housing

Institutional Landlords

In early 2022, Executive Director Michael Waller was invited to testify at a US Senate committee hearing on the role of institutional landlords on the housing market, and in particular, on their impact on low-income families. See highlights or the full Senate testimony here.

Responding to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis putting many Georgians out of work. We have responded by advocating for a temporary halt to evictions and foreclosures to ensure stable housing for children and families and to protect public health. More than 135 partners joined us in a letter to Governor Kemp asking him to stop all evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our regular surveys of Georgia's magistrate (eviction) courts during the pandemic provided a reliable source of information for tenants, landlords, and policy makers about how the courts were handling evictions. Georgia State University analyzed and published the results in three reports--Courts in Crisis, parts I, II, III.