Josephine Roberts has to move – right away – out of the rundown southwest
Atlanta apartment that has been her home for 25 years.
“It’s probably for the best,” Roberts, 65, told the AJC on Thursday after
meeting with an apartment management company that is trying to relocate the
180 people stranded in the Hidden Pines apartments after the bank foreclosed
on the property. “The conditions [at Hidden Pines] are not [safe] living
standards. I don’t think we, as a people, should live in this type of
environment… It was unbelievable.”
Hidden Pines was not always bad, Roberts said. But the two-story buildings
that flank Cushman Circle now are not fit for people, she said.
All the windows on one of the buildings have been boarded up as have most of
the windows in the one across the street where people were still living when
city officials discovered some of them in apartments without electricity or
“This property is not safe,” said Mitzi Bickers with the Mayor’s Office for
Bickers said city workers discovered the Hidden Pines residents when crews
were dispatched to investigate reports that broken pipes were spewing
untreated sewage. She said several senior citizens and pregnant women were
moved Friday while the others will leave over the next few weeks.
Bickers told the AJC only eight of the 23 families, almost all with children,
were on the “rent rolls.” The rest were not and simply squatting in empty
units, using electricity from other apartments or had rigged the Georgia
Power Co. lines so they could have lights and current.
The lender has agreed to give the rest of the residents – those living there
legally as well as those who are not – 30 days to move, Bickers said. The
management company handling Hidden Pines for the bank is offering apartments
at other complexes they manage.
Roberts, retired from a shirt manufacturing job, has applied for a
three-bedroom apartment on Fairburn Road for her, her daughter and her two
“I’m hoping it comes through,” Roberts said.
Representatives from Atlanta schools, Georgia Power, several homeless shelters
and two apartment complexes were stationed Thursday at tables with folding
chairs on a makeshift, asphalt basketball court next to the still-open
“We have a lot of people here who have been displaced,” Bickers said. “We’ve
got to move these people out of here. We’re not leaving until we make sure
we’ve got everybody transitioned.”
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