Host: Youth Represent
Martina advocates on behalf of tenants to improve housing stability in Atlanta by using grassroots advocacy, client-driven affirmative litigation, and tenant education to redress housing-related legal issues and their underlying causes.
Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country, and this housing instability disproportionately affects predominately Black communities in the area. The costs of housing instability play out in all aspects of these tenants’ lives, from healthcare to education to voting rights. These housing issues are often only framed as a family’s inability to pay rent, rather than a result of unmet legal needs and predatory landlord practices. Many of these tenants are not aware of their rights and defenses to evictions and are often unrepresented in legal eviction proceedings.
As someone born and raised in Georgia, Martina has personally seen members of her community struggle as a result of the rising eviction crisis in Atlanta. As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to exacerbate this housing crisis, Martina believes that now, more than ever, it is important to empower tenants and support them in fighting to stay in their homes.
During her Fellowship, Martina will provide Know-Your-Rights trainings and facilitate drop-in housing clinics to educate tenants about their housing rights and defenses to evictions. She will work with the NAACP Atlanta Branch and its coalitional partners to conduct community-led investigations into the practices of specific landlords and housing authorities, as well as write demand letters proposing changes to support tenants. Additionally, Martina will identify landlords with the most egregious eviction practices and bring Fair Housing Act challenges against them.
Growing up outside of Atlanta, I saw how housing instability was directly related to the way in which Black people were treated in every aspect of their lives.
Martina Tiku /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow
Host: Youth Represent
Host: Equal Justice Center
Host: Florida Institutional Legal Services, Inc.
Sponsor: Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities, Inc., The Florida Bar Foundation
Host: The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law