When Marjy Stagmeier was 11 years old, she was the Monopoly champion of her sixth grade class in Atlanta, Georgia, and knew in that moment that she wanted to own when she grew up, and what a compassionate landlady she became.
After graduating from Georgia State University, he began investing in former affordable apartment communities and quickly realized that many of his tenant families were low-income single parents who needed services like after-school programs and playgrounds for their communities. .
In response to the demand for social services, Marjy launched her own 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides free on-site services to families living in affordable apartment communities, and Star-C has since become a godsend. for families.
“Many kids have been through the Star-C after-school program, who are now doctors, plumbers and school teachers, earning good salaries that lifted them out of poverty,” he told GNN. “Nearly 100 families have gone from renting to owning a home because we kept rents low so families can save their money.”
A chance meeting in 2017 with Bill and Melinda Gates, and Mathew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book EvictedHe opened his eyes: Even with their rents below market, some of the tenants were having difficulty paying their rent, so he began to build an informal network of resources for families to receive rental assistance.
After COVID-19 struck in March 2020, many of Marjy’s tenants were laid off from their jobs or had to babysit several children who were suddenly home during the day, making the need even greater. .
In April, Star-C launched an ambitious $ 50,000 GoFundMe campaign to ease the eviction, and the response completely surprised Marjy.
Adding icing to the cake, the local Cobb County municipal government learned about the Star-C Eviction Relief Fund and quickly voted to donate $ 1.5 million of its federal stimulus funding. Other municipalities followed, such as Fulton County, and Star-C has now raised more than $ 9 million and helped more than 3,000 families avoid eviction.
Marjy’s staff has personally spoken with thousands of Atlanta families through her hotline and, so far, has partnered with more than 330 homeowners representing 65,000 apartment units.
“The Eviction Relief Fund works with landlords who offer affordable rentals for low-income families,” says Marjy. “Our landlords know their tenants most in need and help them with their requests.”
The Star-C program It has been a game changer not only for renters but also for landlords who have struggled as well.
“Many of our tenants and owners are simply grateful. Our Star-C staff often receive thank you notes and calls from families who have now found work and can pay their rent. “
And more good news came with the 2021 federal aid package, which has provided another $ 4.1 million so they can provide even more assistance.
“If the tenants and their children are stable in their community, everyone wins, including the tenant, the child, the landlord and the local school.”
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