February 2022


US Senate Testimony on Institutional Landlords

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On February 10, Georgia Appleseed Executive Director Michael Waller testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Michael told the committee about a growing and disturbing trend impacting Georgia’s low-income housing market: predatory practices by large institutional landlords that leave families poorer and in dangerous living conditions.

The role of large institutional investors in our housing market is growing quickly, likely driven in part by Georgia's landlord-friendly laws. Investors purchased some 40% of single-family homes in the Atlanta area in the third quarter of 2021. Corporate landlords were responsible for 76% of eviction filings in Atlanta’s five-county region in 2021.

Instead of increasing the amount of “affordable housing,” some institutional investors impose aggressive rent hikes and new predatory fees. Rather than fixing up properties and investing in local communities, these landlords often refuse to perform even basic maintenance or repairs. Under Georgia law, families have little recourse, and landlords threaten eviction if they complain. Eviction courts and housing code enforcement authorities are unable to stop these predatory practices. Institutional investors can hide behind out-of-state shell companies, making it impossible for tenants and communities to enforce their rights.

Children and families suffer as a result. Unhealthy and unstable housing conditions lead to mental and physical health challenges. They negatively impact children’s educational performance, increase the risk of criminal legal system involvement, and reduce parents’ employment potential.

If we work together, all of Georgia's children can have access to stable, healthy homes. Reach out to your local, state, and federal elected officials with these key messages:

  • Increase legal protections for renting families and provide local housing safety agencies with the funding and authority they need.
  • Make direct investments in local efforts to provide safe, affordable housing.
  • Pass laws that require landlords to provide accurate ownership information to ensure accountability for illegal practices.

View the Senate testimony and follow our healthy housing initiatives on our website.

Tori Silas Chairs Board of Directors

We warmly welcome Tori M. Silas, Associate General Counsel at Fanatics, as new Chair of the Board of Directors. Before joining Fanatics, Tori was a Partner in the Corporate Section at Smith Gambrell Russell, bringing with her a depth of experience advising clients in the automotive, technology, media, and telecommunications sectors as lead counsel. She has served as President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), a voluntary bar association serving over 600 members throughout the State of Georgia and the community at large. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Tori is most passionate about the work she does to mentor young women in high school, college, and law school, and young attorneys. Awarded athletic and academic scholarships to Georgia Institute of Technology, Tori was on the varsity track and field team and earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.

Tori’s dedication, commitment to justice, and wealth of experience fit well with Georgia Appleseed’s mission and programs; we are lucky to have her at the helm in the coming year. We appreciate the excellent leadership of Harold Franklin, outgoing Chair, who will remain active with our organization and work. 

Advocacy Training

Georgia Appleseed’s Programs Team regularly holds trainings on a wide variety of topics to help grow Georgia's community of advocates for children. In a recent training, Georgia Appleseed's Morgan Bridgman and Caren Cloud trained 250 foster parents and Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) employees on how to advocate for children in school discipline matters.

To learn more about or attend one of our trainings, email Program Manager Tanesse Brown. Presentation material is also accessible on our website, including:

Get Ready to Roar April 14, 2022


Get your tickets now! Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and live music at Zoo Atlanta on Thursday, April 14 (Reception 6:00pm, Program 6:45). Together we'll toast this year’s Good Apple Award winners, including the UPS Foundation and Georgia Legal Services Program. 

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Visit our website or contact Development Manager Liz McDaniel for more information.  

Black History Month

During Black History Month, we celebrate the contributions of Black Americans and the community’s heroic efforts to dismantle racism and create an equitable society. In our statement on racial justice, we describe our overall aim to honor those heroic efforts by working to break down the systemic, structural, and institutional injustices deeply embedded in racist education, housing, and criminal justice systems, just to name a few. February also reminds us that Black History Month is every month and recommits us to regularly assess Georgia Appleseed’s practices inside and out, reviving and deepening our commitment to antiracism and equity.

Additional Resources

Hopeful Futures Campaign

This month we highlight the Hopeful Futures Campaign effort to raise awareness about our nation's mental health crisis and the campaign's data dashboard.

The following resources from trusted partners may help connect resources to those in need:


Calling 211 or searching the website can help you find food, pay housing bills, access childcare, and more. 

Atlanta Legal Aid Services

This resource list includes information on health, unemployment, emergency food help, and more. 

Georgia Department of Education

This DOE site includes updates on coronavirus and schools and a link to the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Daily COVID-19 status report. 

Voices for Georgia’s Children

News and resources around COVID-19, including financial resources, food assistance, closures, and guidance on talking to children about the pandemic. 

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

CHOA's resource page provides news, FAQs and resources, including relevant links to information from the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health.

Support Justice for Georgia's Children Now

Georgia Appleseed fights to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, promotes behavioral health supports in schools, and advocates for healthy housing for Georgia's children. With nurturing schools, the supports they need, and a stable, healthy home, all of Georgia's children will thrive.

Join us by making a donation, sponsoring Roaring for Justice, and becoming a pro bono partner.