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Georgia Senators announce nearly $2 million grant to upgrade housing conditions in Atlanta

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Georgia Senators announce nearly $2 million grant to upgrade housing conditions in Atlanta


ATLANTA — U.S. Sens. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff announced the delivery of nearly $2 million to the City of Atlanta from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve housing conditions for residents in the city.

According to a news release, $1.75 million will be provided from HUD’s Healthy Homes Production Grant to repair homes and complete remediation projects in order to keep families and children from living in dangerous housing conditions.

“Georgia children can’t grow and thrive unless they’re living in a safe and healthy environment. When we fight for the health of children across the Peach State, we fight for the next generations of leaders. I’ll continue working to ensure our schools and homes are hazard-free,” Warnock said in a statement.

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The grant program funds follow a previous set of funding with the same goal provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December.

The senators said almost $3 million was also provided in May 2023 for the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity to go toward building more affordable housing.

“Senator Reverend Warnock and I are delivering these resources to help improve the quality of housing for Georgia families,” Ossoff said in a statement. “Working families in Georgia urgently need access to quality, affordable housing.”

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Ossoff has also been pushing the Federal Housing Finance Agency to address what he said was an inadequate supply of affordable housing across rural Georgia.

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The funding from Georgia’s U.S. senators follows a recent report about how many Americans are currently cost-burdened, or who are paying more than 30% of their monthly income on rent or housing.

As previously reported by Channel 2′s Michael Doudna, in Atlanta, just under half of all metro area renters are cost-burdened, according to the study, and a full 25% of renters are spending more than half of their incomes on rent.

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Georgia

Judge McAfee’s upcoming election adds ‘new dimension’ to Trump Georgia case

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Judge McAfee’s upcoming election adds ‘new dimension’ to Trump Georgia case


Judge Scott McAfee’s requirement to run for reelection in Georgia could “add a whole new dimension” to Donald Trump’s election interference case in the state, a former U.S. attorney has said.

McAfee, a Superior Court judge in Fulton County, will rule in the case against the former president and 18 others—who are accused in a 41-count indictment of trying to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia—when it goes to trial.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all 13 charges against him and has said the case is politically motivated because he is the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

The case has been delayed thanks to a hearing that will determine whether Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney prosecuting Trump, should remain on the case after Michael Roman, a former Trump staffer and co-defendant, accused her in a court filing of having an affair with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor.

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Judge Scott McAfee during final arguments in the Fani Willis disqualification hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse on March 1. He must run for reelection this month.

Photo by ALEX SLITZ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

He also alleged the pair benefited financially from taxpayers’ money, as Wade has earned more than $650,000 from the district attorney’s office since he began working on the case and has paid, the filing said, for vacations for the couple.

Roman’s attorneys have argued that the relationship between the district attorney and the special prosecutor is a conflict of interest, and that Willis should be removed from the case and the charges against Roman dropped.

Though Willis and Wade have admitted to having a personal relationship, they have denied a conflict of interest, saying the relationship did not begin until after Wade was appointed to the case. They have also denied the allegation of financial impropriety.

McAfee, who is presiding over the hearing, will decide whether to remove Willis from the case.

Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor, said in her legal blog Civil Discourse Sunday that McAfee’s role in Georgia may also attract interest.

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McAfee was appointed to the bench in 2023 by Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Republican governor, to fill a vacancy and must run for election this year.

“Presumably, Judge McAfee will run for reelection, which may add a whole new dimension to the past few weeks of theatrics in the Fulton County case,” Vance wrote.

Newsweek called the Superior Court of Fulton County for comment. A member of staff said they would relay a message to McAfee.

McAfee was Georgia’s inspector general from 2021 to 2023. He also previously served as a senior assistant district attorney in Fulton County and as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

His campaign website says: “Scott is running for election in 2024 so that he can continue serving our community by clearing the COVID backlog, giving everyone their fair day in court, and keeping our community safe.”

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.



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USA TODAY Network sports writers in Georgia win 3 national APSE honors for 2023 work

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USA TODAY Network sports writers in Georgia win 3 national APSE honors for 2023 work


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Journalists who cover sports in Georgia for the USA TODAY Network took home three national honors for their work in 2023 by the Associated Press Sports Editors, with Athens Banner-Herald writer Marc Weiszer placing in the top 10 twice for his coverage of the University of Georgia athletics.

Weiszer placed in the Beat Writing for his UGA coverage in the D Division for smaller news organizations for his portfolio of work from the year. He also placed in Projects for his collection of stories on the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program for Georgia athletes.

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Former editor Fletcher Page placed in Breaking News for his story for the Augusta Chronicle on play being halted at The Masters after three trees fell near the 17th hole.

APSE judging took place in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, this past week. Where stories rank in the top 10 in each category will be announced in late March and early April.



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Squatters take over Georgia man’s home while he was caring for sick wife — and now he can’t evict them: report

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Squatters take over Georgia man’s home while he was caring for sick wife — and now he can’t evict them: report


A Georgia man claims he returned home from caring for his sick wife to find that squatters had changed the locks on his home and moved in — and now local laws are blocking him from evicting the alleged freeloaders.

“Basically, these people came in Friday, broke into my house and had a U-Haul move all their stuff in. It’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating. I can’t even sleep,” DeKalb man Paul Callins told WSB-TV.

Callins had sunk thousands of dollars into the home and renovated with his own hands after he inherited it from his late father, but since squatters moved in he’s found himself facing nothing but obstacles to evict the alleged intruders.

“I guess they have done this before, because when I called the police, they said since they have a fake lease, that they can’t do anything. That it’s a civil matter,” Callins said.

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Paul Callins’ DeKalb County home, which he said was overtaken by squatters while he was away caring for his sick wife. Google Maps

Callins believes the squatters targeted him after posting a rental advertisement online. He’d been planning to rent to a government-subsidized tenant when he lost the house, WSB-TV reported.

Rather than forcibly evicting the squatters, Georgia law requires homeowners file an “Affidavit of Intruder” which then needs to work its way through the court system before police can act, Callins explained.

“I have to go through the court system, and I understand it could take 60 to 90 days,” the homeowner said.

Callins had sunk thousands of dollars into the home, which he renovated himself getting it ready to rent out. WSB-TV
Two men were observed entering the home. Callins thinks the alleged squatters have done it before at other homes. WSB-TV

Situations like Callins’ have become all too common in Georgia.

About 1,200 homes across DeKalb County are currently occupied by squatters, according to the National Rental Home Council trade group. The problem is exacerbated by its status as a civil matter, which prevents homeowners from easily evicting intruders, according to critics.

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Lawmakers in Georgia are nearing the passage of a bill which would make squatting a criminal offense and using a fake lease a felony, which would allow police officers to arrest offenders.

Callins was advised that there’s little police can do as he signs an “Affidavit of Intruder” that needs to go through the court system. WSB-TV

“These are people that know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re stealing other people’s most valuable capital, which is their home,” Rep. Devan Seabaugh, a Republican co-sponsoring the bill, told Fox News.

“I don’t know how it took us this long to get here… but no more free rides.”



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