After school program abruptly ends in Atlanta with short notice eviction

People who live in the Oxford Village neighborhood of Atlanta's Orchard Knob say without an after-school program, chi...

Posted: Apr 1, 2018 10:32 AM
Updated: Apr 1, 2018 10:32 AM

People who live in the Oxford Village neighborhood of Atlanta's Orchard Knob say without an after-school program, children run the streets all afternoon and evening unsupervised.

"They tear up, they break windows, they play with the fire hydrant like you just saw," explained one neighbor.

For going on three years, The Jabez Project, an all-volunteer, non-profit group, has given free meals to any kid who walks in the door and provides them with a safe learning environment to hang out until their parents get home.

On Wednesday, that all came to an abrupt end.

"They gave us a short window of time to have everything out, so we've just got everybody all hands on deck," said volunteer Jessica Madden.

After-school volunteers tell CBS46 they had a friend on the board of directors at the property where they stay. On Tuesday, the person who helped them get free space for the program was voted out of office.

By Wednesday, the locks on the non-profit's doors were already changed.

The sudden eviction looks very much like an act of political revenge with children caught in the middle.

To add insult to injury, someone with a key snuck into the building and took everything of value: electronics, computers, things the volunteers say belong only to The Jabez Project and its sponsor, ATL Moms Making a Difference.

"That's the most hurtful part because everything we do is for these kids," said Madden.

The volunteers called 911, but they say the officer told them nothing could be done until they came up with receipts or serial numbers for the stolen items.

They're working on finding those now.

Attorney Simon Bloom is not involved with the case, but when CBS46 consulted him about what happened, he says anyone in this volunteer group's position has the same basic rights.

"They're entitled to sixty days notice. They cannot have the locks changed on them. They cannot have their property converted."

He says squatters who live in vacant buildings have more rights than this group was afforded.

"Even a trespasser is entitled to more notice."

In the meantime, CBS46 wanted to hear the property manager's side of the story, but their only response was having their security guards tell him to leave.

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