Reynoldstown neighbors to vote on controversial affordable housing complex
3-story building would house 42 formerly homeless individuals with disabilities
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Monday, neighbors in the Reynoldstown community of Atlanta will vote on an affordable housing project that, if approved, will house 42 formerly homeless individuals with disabilities.
“A vote of yes would make things substantially easier for us at this point,” said Cathryn Vassell, CEO of Partners for Home, the City’s non-profit steering the project.
The 3-story affordable housing complex is planned for development at 111 Moreland Ave.
Vassell said that the project has faced objections, which she attributed to NIMBYism from neighbors.
“What seems to be just NIMBYISM at its core,” Vassell said in an interview with Atlanta News First on Friday.
Some neighbors in Reynoldstown quickly rejected this claim.
“They think we’re just trying to protect our home value and stuff. They’re very dismissive of legitimate concerns,” said Mark Edwards.
The developer of the project, Stan Sugarman, told Atlanta News First said it’s unclear if or to what extent a ‘No’ vote could stop the project.
Vassell said community engagement was a necessity to usher in public funds from the Atlanta Housing Authority and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The funding would go towards rental subsidies.
Vassell said the 42 individuals all have disabilities, but all would be able to live independently.
She said those conditions could include disabilities such as physical or mental illness. They also might have co-occurring addiction issues.
Vassell said the tenants would have access to a licensed clinician and a supervised peer specialist as part of supportive housing.
The project has been met with significant pushback from the neighborhood.
Some who spoke with Atlanta News First said they are primarily concerned with the density of the project along with safety concerns as the complex sits along a busy stretch of Moreland Avenue.
“I’m just really concerned that 42 homeless people, formerly homeless people, couped up in this small site is just too much for this site. It’s just too dense,” said Linda Dunlavy, who lives in the neighborhood.
Dunlavy also pointed to dignity concerns that this project doesn’t properly meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness.
“This site is the wrong site and it won’t provide the kind of quality that I personally believe these people are entitled to,” Dunlavy said.
Vassell refuted the dignity concerns on Friday.
“The fact that you’re trying to say 300 square feet is not dignified…so what is your preference, we leave people under a bridge,” questioned Vassell.
Some neighbors Atlanta News First spoke with are in support of the project.
“The proposed project, as it has been described to our community, should be something Reynoldstown will take pride in for decades to come,” said Michelle McClafferty, who lives next door to the site.
“No project is perfect, and this is no exception, but I believe it is the best version of what could be built in the space given the institutional support that will be baked into the residents’ living experience,” McClafferty continued.
The vote will take place March 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lang Carson Community Center during a Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League (RCIL) meeting.
Atlanta News First reached out to RCIL board members but did not get a response on Friday.
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