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Homeless Warming Party for vocal leader in tenant organizing efforts set for June 14
June 12, 2022

Local leader in tenant organizing faces unfair and retaliatory
eviction, will host Homeless Warming Party in front of
apartments the evening before eviction court

On Tuesday evening the Bedford County Listening Project (BCLP) will host a Homeless Warming Party to bring attention to the unfair and retaliatory eviction of a community leader who has been vocal in organizing efforts to improve rental conditions, gain more rights for renters, and increase landlord accountability in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Cara Grimes’s eviction hearing is scheduled for June 15th, a week after her landlord, Farrar Rental Properties, refused to accept her rent payment. Grimes feels like the eviction is retaliation due to her speaking out about her substandard living conditions (hole in ceiling, non functional appliances, other issues) and her peer advocacy and organizing to support other renters to fight for dignified housing. “I haven’t done anything but speak the truth, and ask to be treated like a human being,” she describes. “This is nothing but another form of retaliation to me. He can hurt me all he wants, but I have kids, and this isn’t right.”

Farrar Rental Properties is a local company, operated by the Farrar family, who owns and manages a lion’s share of rentals in Shelbyville, among other businesses including a bond company. Throughout its four years, the BCLP has supported dozens of renters who allege mistreatment and neglect by Farrar Rental Properties. A member of the Farrar family is also rumored to have funded a public smear campaign, described by community members as sexist and harassment, against a local city council person who champions renters’ rights.

The Homeless Warming Party will take place in the parking lot and side lawn of the apartments where Grimes, her fiance, and two young children will be evicted from. Along with music, food, visuals, and games, testimony will be shared by Grimes and others about the state of renters’ rights in Shelbyville, about unfair and illegal evictions, and how the same economic and population growth that is happening in larger cities that is pushing up rents and displacing families is also happening in smaller towns and counties. The property, a 12-unit apartment community, was recently listed for sale. Grimes feels that she is being evicted as one last form of retaliation by her landlord before they sell. She has already absorbed rent recent increases. She suspects rents will increase again with a new owner, and worries her neighbors will be next to be displaced.

Grimes is asking Farrar Rental Properties to accept her rent and cancel the eviction hearing. She is prepared to attend court the next morning, but, along with the community, is calling for Farrar to stop the retaliation and give them more time to find a new home. As of three days before the hearing, Grimes has been unable to find new housing and she and her family risk becoming homeless. More information about Grimes’s history of organizing and Farrar Rental Properties can be read here.

Shelbyville, TN, located an hour south of Nashville, is not immune to the substandard and affordable housing crisis that is wrecking middle Tennessee. As the housing market swells and pushes people from Nashville to Murfreesboro and further out, Shelbyville rents have increased, apartments are undergoing quick flips, and many new out of state owners and management companies are expanding into rural areas of the state.

The Bedford County Listening Project is a community organizing and advocacy group of working class people in Shelbyville. The Shelbyville Tenants Organizing Protection (STOP) Campaign is a tenant-led effort to reduce substandard housing and advocate for pro-tenant policies, including anti-displacement efforts to prevent and mitigate harms that occur during periods of economic growth.


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