ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An attorney is working with people in Albany struggling with poverty and housing issues.
The Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) has added a private landlord/tenant focus called the Eviction Prevention Project.
Ahmad Crews is a private landlord/tenant attorney who wants to help those in poverty and a poor housing situation.
"Housing in Albany is pretty bad and they needed someone down here to tackle those issues," said Crews.
He is spear-heading the private landlord and tenant part of Georgia Legal Service Program's practice.
With the help of a grant given to all the GLSP divisions in the state, for the next two years, he'll work with Dougherty County residents living 200 percent below poverty, and not in government housing.
The goal is to help improve their living conditions.
"From my short time here, I've been told or have personally witnessed housing that is pretty much, there's mold on the walls, there's issues with toilets, there's issues with repairs," said Crews.
And the list goes on but Crews has already started to help five families in the area. Some of the items he can help with include:
- dispossessory (eviction) process
- security deposits
- fair housing
- code enforcement
- crime free housing programs
- wrongful conduct by landlords, and more
He hopes to stand up for more tenants, especially since these problems can happen anywhere.
"No part of town is excluded," said Crews.
He said according to Georgia law when there are problems with housing, landlords will put in the lease contract that tenants are responsible, but that is not true.
Sandy Bamford, Executive Director of the non-profit Family Literacy Connection, said about a quarter of folks in her program could benefit from this project.
"The need has been there all along. And we just found out that there was something that would help our students with this," said Bamford.
Bamford says she is excited about this new program.
"So many of them [FLC students] live in conditions that are just really not safe and don't have adequate facilities and many times landlords don't want to make the repairs and sometimes they're [tenants] are even told they're responsible for doing the repairs," explained Bamford, "And so we're excited there's going to be a program to help teach our students their rights."
Now Crews is ready to work with Bamford and others in the community to help improve living conditions.
"Having the opportunity to help people, to work hard for people, to use the law to fix a huge issue that's currently in Albany, it's everything. It's really a...it's an amazing opportunity," said Crews.
If you are in need of assistance Crews' office is located at 131 West Oglethorpe Boulevard.
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