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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Atlanta mayor approves $1.5 million payment to support Forest Cove tenants

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Neighbors who live in what they describe as a rundown Atlanta apartment complex will soon get help from the city to move out.

The city is putting up $9.1 million toward relocating people out of the Forest Cove Apartments in southeast Atlanta.

Mayor Andre Dickens signed a bill Monday that authorizes $1.5 million of those funds toward down payments for new housing.

The city says it is trying to relocate all Forest Cove tenants by the summer to help Atlanta Public School students before the school year starts.

Atlanta will pay the relocation costs for the tenants, which the Forest Cove owners will pay back once it reaches a deal for rehabilitation, rebuild or sale of the property.

“Every resident deserves the dignity of safe and quality housing, but that has long been lacking for the families living at Forest Cove,” Dickens said. “While this isn’t a City-owned property, I could not stand by as these residents continued to be left behind. That’s why I have directed the City to step in to take urgent action. Thank you to Councilmember Winston and the entire City Council for their urgent partnership on this issue.”

Channel 2 Action News has reported for years about issues at the complex.

Code Enforcement Unit conducted an investigation in July 2021 and found the apartments had 150 violations of city codes.

Officers found broken windows, open units, vacant units that were improperly boarded, damaged siding, abandoned, inoperable vehicles, severe overgrowth, burned buildings and areas of accumulated debris and trash.

Tenants have consistently complained of mold, water leaks and even ceilings collapsing.

In September, tenants told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that they can no longer live in hazardous conditions.

“The trash is never taken out on time. Maintenance isn’t done on time,” said Monica Johnson with the Housing Justice League.

“I have put in six work orders and they haven’t fixed nothing yet,” Shirlan Beauford told Jones in September. “A 1-month-old baby cannot keep on breathing that mold.”

Dickens says he is working with Atlanta Apartment Association and other property owners to identify housing units that families moving out of Forest Cove can consider.

“We’re asking property owners and managers across Atlanta to reach out to see how they can help close the gap and get these families into safe and quality homes. Taking care of our neighbors at Forest Cove is a chance for Atlantans to show what it means to be a truly inclusive community,” the mayor said in a statement.

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