WATCH: Cancer patient evicted after Atlanta church cancels lease to demolish affordable housing
Ehsam Beroukhim was forced to move out of his apartment on Sunday even though he still had months on his lease after the church that owned the property decided to demolish five buildings that provided affordable housing in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.
Residents of properties owned by Second Ponce De Leon Baptist Church were told earlier this month that they had 60 days to find a new place to live.
But only 1,170 rental apartments out of 30,000 in the affluent Buckhead area are defined as “affordable” by federal government standards.
Beroukhim told WSB-TV that he was recovering from a major operation related to cancer and he was “in no condition to move.”
Beroukhim said that if it were not for a group of out-of-state volunteers from Church Folk Revolution, his belongings would have been left on the street.
“If I knew this was gonna happen, I would have never moved in here,” he said, arguing that the church should have never let him sign a one year lease if they couldn’t keep the agreement.
A spokesperson for Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church told WSB-TV that the church could not afford the $250,000 to $500,000 it would cost to renovate the buildings.
“They have fallen into disrepair. It is time for them to be renovated. We just don’t have the funds available to make the repairs,” church administrator Jeff Miller explained. “We didn’t want anyone to live in a situation that could be dangerous.”
However, advocates with Church Folk Revolution asserted that Second Ponce de Leon had more sinister motives.
“This is part of an effort by this church to get rid of affordable housing in this area,” Tyronne Jacques insisted. “(We came) just to show this brother that Christians don’t behave like this church. This is a very heartless church to do this to these people and the way that they did it.”
Even though Beroukhim was forced to leave some belongings by the curb, he said he was thankful for the help of the volunteers.
“They’re actually showing the good side of Christianity,” he remarked.
Watch the video below from WSB-TV, broadcast July 19, 2015.