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Board approves innovative court program targeting evictions

picture of chief magistrate brendan murphy
October 31, 2023

Cobb County will break new ground with a revolutionary new accountability court targeting the eviction crisis.  The Board of Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding between the county’s Magistrate Court and a nonprofit to form the Housing Stability Court.

“We’re incredibly excited about the program. We’ve been charged with bridging the gap to the future,” said Cobb’s Chief Magistrate Brendan Murphy. “This will bring resources to bear so folks can lift their families to a better situation.”

The program will be funded from a $1.3 million federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) allocation, which can only be used for rental and mortgage assistance. The court wanted to wait until the ERA funds designated for direct assistance were exhausted before starting the program. The county received more than $23 million from the federal government for housing assistance during the pandemic.

The Magistrate Court will work with the Marietta-based Center for Family Resources to administer the program. Participants will be referred to the Housing Stability Court, and there is no mechanism for people to apply to the program directly.  The unique court program will help families avoid losing their homes by providing small monetary assistance combined with wrap-around services to work with landlords and tenants to avoid the eviction process.

The court will crank up in the coming weeks.