Last week Occupy Our Homes Atlanta launched an online campaign alongside the Peoplestown Listening Project and residents of Boynton Village after a series of meetings with residents of the longtime Peoplestown apartment complex. As residents did the hard work of building support in the community, launching an online petition, doing media trainings, agreeing as a group on demands and points of unity, there was an effort to reach out to the property owners(the Woda group) for a meeting.
Last night that meeting happened. A copy of the petition was hand delivered to the Woda group and the property management company. Residents had space to share their concerns and articulate their demands. Besides having serious concerns about maintenance issues, residents are concerned about their right to return after renovations are made to the property. Boynton Village was acquired by the Woda group as obvious shifts were occurring in the Peoplestown community. As the Beltline project in rolling through and Turner Field is being sold many fear that gentrification could destroy the historic community. Many of the Boynton Village residents have lived in Peoplestown their whole life and while they’ve all agreed to move out for three months while the complex is renovated, many fear they will not be allowed to return.
We are very pleased with the tone of the meeting and the willingness the Woda group displayed at the meeting, we know this is a direct result of a strong turnout by residents, community members, and allies. We know it’s also a result of good organizing and points of unity agreed upon by residents.
The Woda group pretty much agreed to all the residents’ demands, which is amazing! It’s important to be clear that we are not celebrating yet. The Woda group has agreed to put everything in writing by December 15th, so we await that date to confirm. A win for Boynton Village isn't the finish line for housing justice work in Peoplestown, in fact it's only the beginning. Atlanta's gentrifying forces have shifted an eye toward Peoplestown, affordable housing is already becoming hard to find.
We are grateful to the 800 people who signed the online petition! Keep the signatures coming, they do have an impact when met with on the ground organizing! We are excited to continue to work with the brave residents of Boynton Village as we see the beginnings of a strong Boynton Village Tenants Associating in the works to monitor repairs, relocation, renovation, and the return to the property for all.
American Friends Service Committee is proud to be a supporter of the campaign and we will continue to lend on the ground support and give resources to build infrastructure for the housing justice movement in Peoplestown and the greater Atlanta area. Right now there is a need to provide funding for on the group organizers who are longtime Peoplestown residents. Please contact AFSC if you are able to help at firstname.lastname@example.org