City approves funding to relocate residents out of Forest Cove Apartments

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:40 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - On Monday, the city of Atlanta approved $1.5 million to serve as the down payment to begin moving residents out of the Forest Cove Apartments.

The federally-subsided complex, which houses more than 200 families, has been an eyesore for the city for more than a decade. It’s also proven to be a haven for crime.

CBS46 has covered shootings at the complex dating back to 2008. Just last week, a teen was found dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

Upon hearing of the funding approval, some residents were skeptical about the city’s plans.

“They’ll tell us one day that we’re going to get out of here, then they turn around... it’s a totally different thing. Come on y’all. Why we got to suffer like this, it’s sad,” said a resident who goes by Ms. Peaches.

Ms. Peaches said some residents had already visited potential landing spots when suddenly the process stopped.

“They had started relocating people and then all of a sudden, it stops again. So, I can’t get nobody no answers, only thing I can tell them is to hold on,” said Ms. Peaches on Monday.

In December, a municipal judge condemned the property – demanding all tenants be removed by March.

The property owner, The Millenia Companies, filed an appeal that currently sits in the superior court.

Despite it being private property, and federally subsidized, Mayor Andre Dickens and the city said they felt compelled to step in.

“While this isn’t a city-owned property, I could not stand by as these residents continued to be left behind,” said Mayor Dickens in a press release on Monday.

“That’s why I have directed the city to step in to take urgent action. Every resident deserves the dignity of safe and quality housing, but that has long been lacking for the families living at Forest Cove,” said Dickens.

Councilmember Jason Winston, who sponsored the ordinance that ushered in the funding for relocation, said roughly 180 units have been identified for relocation.

“For so long we have failed the people of Forest Cove,” said Winston, in an interview with CBS46 on Monday. “The city of Atlanta has failed them. The federal government has failed them. And so, this is a chance to make atonement.”

The city is appealing to landlords and property managers to help place the remaining residents.

“Taking care of our neighbors at Forest Cove is a chance for Atlanteans to show what it means to be a truly inclusive community,” said Mayor Dickens.

Winston said the entire relocation will cost roughly $9.1 million.

The city has earmarked federal funds from the American Cares Act to cover the costs.

Winston said he anticipates the property manager, The Millenia Companies, to reimburse the city.

“They understand that that’s the goal. The goal is to reimburse us. But we wanted to do everything we could to put a plan in motion immediately,” said Winston.

Winston said the city is also working to ensure that all Section 8 vouchers, allowing residents to stay at Forest Cove at a discounted rate, will be portable – allowing residents to return to Forest Cove if or when it is renovated by the property manager.