Women and Children Evicted from Efficiency Lodge by Armed Guards

photo from Housing Justice League Petition

The Efficiency Lodge at 3675 Flat Shoals Road in South DeKalb County evicted eleven families with children in September and continues to evict residents.   Some residents were evicted at gunpoint by armed guards.

Former Governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes is an investor in the Efficiency Lodge, and his brother, Ray Barnes, is the Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer of the extended-stay motels with facilities in Georgia and Florida.

Roy Barnes at a groundbreaking ceremony for a homeless shelter said, “We have an obligation as a community for those that have fallen on bad times to take care of them.” 

The wealthy Barnes Brothers are hypocrites who are contributing to the homeless population not helping “those that have fallen on bad times.”  

The unemployed need help to get through this recession and pandemic not evictions, lies, greed, and hypocrisy from those with privilege and power.

We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic and the worst recession since the Great Recession in 2007.   Over two hundred thousand people have died from coronavirus(COVID-19)  and over 14 million people are unemployed because of the pandemic and now can’t pay their bills.

The most vulnerable are devastated and suffering from unemployment with little to no help from the federal government, and nothing to fall back on.  These victims of the pandemic are being evicted and may join the millions who are already homeless, sleeping in shelters, cars, under bridges, or on the ground in the rain and cold. This is a humanitarian disaster that is getting worse.  

Stephanie Williams lived in the Efficiency Lodge for four years until she was evicted this year and told Streets of Atlanta what she saw and experienced. 

“While I lived there I experienced money being stolen from the rent money, making people pay double payments.  The property was roach-infested, bed bugs, with mold in every room –  they don’t want to fix anything,” Williams told the Streets of Atlanta.  

“Five people have died on the property.  We don’t know the medical reasons the people died but we do know mold is in every one of these rooms.” 

“You can’t go to the office and complain because they retaliate by locking you out of your room.” 

 “We also know about the money Roy Barnes has received throughout the pandemic.   He received thousands and thousands of dollars from the PayTech Protection Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and all these other government agencies that assist with financial help for business owners.   But he [Roy Barnes] has yet to do anything to fix his properties of mold and mildew,” Williams said.

Image may contain: tree and outdoor
photo by Gloria Tatum

THE RICH GET RICHER BECAUSE TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS AIN’T TRICKLING DOWN

The working poor and middle class watched in horror as President Trump gave $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy and corporations (who don’t need it) while working folks got budget cuts. 

At Mar-a-Lago, after signing his tax scam for the rich bill, Trump brags to his billionaire friends, “I just made you a lot richer.”  Trump also brags that he is too smart to pay taxes.  

Wealthy folks, like Trump, take unfair advantage of the many loopholes in the tax code and the rest of us pick up the tab.  It’s past time for big corporations and the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.

For too long, we have had a socialized government for the rich, and crumbs for the rest of us.  All the money going to the top earners does not trickle down.  Time for the government to give to the working poor and let it trickle up, so victims of the pandemic can pay their rent and buy food.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ItEP) issued a report that shows many state and local governments engage in redistribution from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.  https://itep.org/who pays/   

THE FEDERAL EVICTION MORATORIUM

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  This order is in effect from 9/04/2020 through December 31, 2020.   

The new moratorium doesn’t apply to motels and hotels, even though the Efficiency Lodge functions as permanent housing for many tenants.  They even advertise “Stay a Night or Stay Forever.” 

Latoya Gibson and her five-year-old son were evicted from the Efficiency Lodge in September.  They joined a protest across the street from the Lodge to demand “No Evictions During a Pandemic” and ” Respect the Federal Eviction Moratorium”

Image may contain: 1 person, child and outdoor
photo by Gloria Tatum of 5 year-old boy evicted from Efficiency Lodge

The New Life Church helped the first wave of folks who were evicted.  “We don’t know if the church can come back and help the next group of evictions,” Gibson told the Streets of Atlanta.

“Some people have checks which they have not received because they won’t let us go on the property to get our mail – that [Efficiency Lodge] was our permanent mailing address.  They need to respect the Federal Eviction Moratorium; they unlawfully evicted people,” Gibson said.

Under Georgia law, if a resident lives over 90 days on a property and considers it their primary residence they can’t be illegally evicted by hiring armed guards to throw them out.   Many residents at the Efficiency Lodge have lived there for years.

A lawsuit has been filed in DeKalb County by two plaintiffs who have lived there for years. 

Lawyers argue that extended stay motels cannot evict residents without going through the formal court eviction process that apartments go through.

Tenants have an on-line petition with demands that include:  

1) No more evictions, lawful or unlawful, at Efficiency Lodge during the pandemic. Respect the federal eviction moratorium.

2) Compensate all residents who were unlawfully evicted from Efficiency Lodge with two full months rent.

3) Allow all evicted residents to return to the property whenever they need to retrieve their mail which is being illegally withheld.

4) No curfew for tenants.

5) Cancel all late fees and overdue rent. Allow residents to pay whatever they can afford during the pandemic.

6) Hire a new manager that is held accountable for not stealing resident’s rent and then claiming they never paid.

7) Remove the armed guards from the property.

8) Fix the property:

Fix electrical wiring to protect residents from electrical fires

Fix plumbing and flooding

Clean up the piles of trash

Exterminate all infestations

Remediate all mold 

You can help the residents of the Efficiency Lodge by signing their petition with this link: 

https://housingjustice.controlshift.app/petitions/former-governor-roy-barnes-is-a-slumlord-his-tenants-demand-an-end-to-his-human-rights-violations?fbclid=IwAR1LmhhHqp11M_TmAkVjvsi6pPDO9RKXTzBJsODBZbLEwloQoZYdO-9bX64

written by Gloria Tatum

2 thoughts on “Women and Children Evicted from Efficiency Lodge by Armed Guards

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to us and helping us get our story out there. This is a very devastating time for us because we’ve been uprooted from the only place many of us called home. We’re fighting to survive, to stay alive and stay as safe as possible from Covid-19. I my mind though, Roy and Ray Barnes have literally put us all out here to die 😪

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