Eviction relief program's future uncertain

Sep 20, 2021

District 5 Commissioner Tim Denson has been a strong advocate for a local eviction relief program.
Credit accgov.com

The future of a community/government partnership to alleviate evictions in Athens-Clarke County may be in jeopardy, as the program faces a key vote tomorrow.

Last month, Commissioners voted to issue a request for proposals, looking for an agency partner to work with the Magistrate Court, tenants, and landlords to institute an eviction relief program. The goal set by Commissioners was to vote tomorrow night on a partner, with the program starting on October 1.

However, due in part to a short deadline – just 15 days – only one organization submitted a proposal. County staff don’t like that proposal, submitted by an organization called Athenian First Development Corporation, or AFDC.

Among the reasons given are: the organization’s lack of experience, the high cost – AFDC is requesting some $3.8 million, and skepticism that the organization could begin providing services on October 1.

It’s unlikely that any organization could have an eviction relief program up and running by October 1, however, and that’s a point that county officials make in their briefing to lawmakers. Now, with only one proposal submitted, and a nationwide eviction moratorium struck down by the Supreme Court last month, Commissioners are in a quandary.

County staff are urging Commissioners to let the county re-issue the request for proposals, this time with a longer deadline, and to deny funding to Athenian First Development Corporation. Commissioners can decide to move ahead and approve AFDC’s bid, or to substitute some other action at their meeting tomorrow.