Conversations at the DeKalb County government’s second virtual forum on race relations broadened this week. Demands for improved housing agreements took center stage.
Jacob Maas voiced concern about uneven housing conditions and agreements that he says are prevalent in the county.
“You know, we live in a community where it's not uncommon for people who rent to go without hot water, clean water, heat in the winter air conditioning in the summer,” said Maas.
Maas helped form the DeKalb Tenants Association. He said in order to address racial inequality, the county should re-evaluate the kind of contracts that exist between renters and landlords.
“I want to echo the demands of protesters in calling for a common lease to enshrine tenant remedies," he said. "Tenants should be allowed to withhold rents or break their lease when their landlords don't satisfy their ends of housing agreements."
Board members Rukisha Crawford and Kiara Jones plan to focus the concerns from the forum and put together a task force designed to get some of these plans considered within the year. The next forum will meet in August.
- Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.