ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) — So far, the city of Atlanta has moved four families out of the dreadful conditions at the Forest Cove Apartments. However, about 200 residents remain, months after the city first said it had identified new affordable housing units for most of the complex’s tenants.
Atlanta City Councilman Jason Winston shared details about the latest developments surrounding the relocation efforts.READ MORE: Ketanji Brown Jackson Joins US Supreme Court
News that the city would soon rescue them from the slum-like conditions at the apartments gave tenants some much-needed hope. Before then, optimism among residents was at an all-time low. Winston has been working with the city to move things forward.
“I’m happy to report that we had our first four residents this week that were relocated, got the keys to their brand new apartment,” said Winston.
The city just allocated $1.5 million to jumpstart the process, as roughly 200 residents continue waiting for more suitable living arrangements.
“You gotta remember, this is a 50-year problem, and to say that we’ve gotten this close and started moving people out within the first five months of this year is unprecedented,” Winston said.
Several agencies and non-profits are involved in the process, and the process has involved several hurdles. Officials wanted to avoid uprooting students during the school year. There were also concerns about making sure HUD vouchers were transferable, limiting their rent payments to 30% of their income.READ MORE: Delta pilots protest for new contracts, more pay ahead of July 4th weekend
“I’m happy to report we’ve gotten past that hurdle, and so, right now we’re just focused on making sure we find adequate housing for the families that live in Forest Cove,” said Winston. “Each family has the opportunity to go toward three different housing complexes to make sure they’re a suitable, viable option for their family.”
Forest Cove Property Management Company Millenia is reportedly still appealing a judge’s decision to demolish the property. In the meantime, Winston says the city is still working to relocate everyone as soon as possible.
Part of the relocation effort led to the Atlanta Board of Education’s decision to close Thomasville Heights Elementary School. The board voted 6 to 2 in favor of closing the school in the fall. Officials say about three-fourths of the school’s students live at the Forest Cove Apartments.
Once residents leave the apartment complex, local school attendance is projected to fall dramatically.
“My hope is that APS finds a way to get the school back open as soon as possible, and I know a lot of that is contingent upon bringing folks back to the Thomasville community,” said Winston, who indicated the school’s closure is meant to be temporary.MORE NEWS: Both Sides In Abortion Fight Wait To See How Far DeSantis Will Go In Florida
The remaining students who went to Thomasville Heights will be going to Slater Elementary School this fall.