DeKalb’s District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson to host forum on gentrification, crime

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By Mackenzie N. Morgan

DeKalb County District Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson will hold a community forum to discuss the county’s changing communities and address pressing concerns in the district.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Lou Walker Senior Center, 2538 Panola Road, Stonecrest.

“Many of the residents in District 7 have shared with me their concerns regarding the changing landscape of their neighborhoods,” said Cochran-Johnson. “As a fellow resident of the district, I understand their apprehensions and believe we have taken great care to select an agenda that will not only answer their questions but provide courses of action and valuable insight into the changing landscape of our communities.”

The forum will focus on various issues including gentrification and displacement, property taxes and home values, affordable and senior housing, crime and justice reform, small business survival, traffic, infrastructure, and the future of DeKalb County.

“A lot of people in my district have expressed their concerns about the aggressive nature of realtors seeking to acquire their homes. I just want to ensure that my constituents, particularly elderly residents, are informed and receiving fair market value for their homes.

Cochran-Johnson stated that one of the major issues with gentrification is home loss or displacement, especially for senior citizens who have been living in the community for decades. As gentrification occurs, the property values rise, making affordable housing a concern.

“Someone who sells their home in this housing market could potentially be unable to afford a home in a community they’ve been living in for decades,” said Cochran-Johnson.”

“Because we will be concentrating on robust topics,” said Cochran-Johnson, “it is imperative to have experts present whose professional experience is rooted in DeKalb County and can speak to the dynamics of each issue.

Representatives from various DeKalb County departments and community agencies will include Peggy Allen (associate director, Roads and Drainage), Andrew Baker (director, Planning and Sustainability), Michael Yarbrough (assistant chief, DeKalb County Police Department),Allen Mitchell (director, Community Development) and Reginald D. Wells (director, Watershed Management), Edward Patton (president, DeKalb Board of Realtors) and Pete Walker, Jr. (president & CEO, Housing Authority of DeKalb).

Additional scholars and experts in attendance will include James D. Cromarti (special initiatives senior manager, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.); Paul Denard (assistant district engineer, GDOT); Michael J. Rich (professor of political science and environmental sciences, Emory University); and Michael German (Georgia Field Office director, HUD).

The DeKalb community forum is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 404-371-3681.

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