Atlanta begins to relocate families from condemned Forest Cove complex

Broken windows and missing siding are a common site at the Forest Cove apartment complex seen Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Broken windows and missing siding are a common site at the Forest Cove apartment complex seen Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Four Atlanta families that have endured years of mold and other building issues at the condemned Forest Cove Apartments have now received the keys to their new homes, according to the mayor’s office Friday.

Forest Cove has been the subject of several articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which revealed in a 2018 investigation that state and local governments lacked authority to address mold issues in rental units.

City officials alleged in court documents last year that the property has racked up at least 231 code violations and more than 650 police calls for violent crime. A Municipal Court judge ruled the complex must be demolished by Sept. 21.

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A broken pipe spews water (right side of picture) into the kitchen of an abandoned apartment at the Forest Cover apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

A broken pipe spews water (right side of picture) into the kitchen of an abandoned apartment at the Forest Cover apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

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A broken pipe spews water (right side of picture) into the kitchen of an abandoned apartment at the Forest Cover apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens allocated $1.5 million in federal pandemic aid to support the relocation of Forest Cove’s 212 residents. The city is working with the property’s private owner, the Ohio-based Millennia Companies, to facilitate the process with the help of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, APD Urban Planning & Management, and the Open Doors nonprofit.

“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 in a statement.

The court-ordered relocation prompted the temporary closure of the nearby Thomasville Heights Elementary School, so families with children are being moved first, so they are relocated in time for the next school year, according to the city. Open Doors has secured more than 135 units that have been shared with approximately 70 households for their consideration so far, according to the mayor’s office.

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A run down unit is seen in the Forest Cove apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

A run down unit is seen in the Forest Cove apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

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A run down unit is seen in the Forest Cove apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Rent at Forest Cove is anchored at 30% of the head of household’s income through a federal Section 8 program. The city said the families’ rents will still be subsidized at their new homes.

Property owners with vacant units can contact housing@atlantaga.gov if they want to help the residents.

“With a housing market this tight, we know we need to pound the pavement to find the housing units that these families need,” Dickens said in a statement. “Taking care of our neighbors at Forest Cove is a chance for Atlantans to show what it means to be a truly inclusive community.”

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stares back at a child looking out of a near-collapsing window as he reviews the conditions at the Forest Cove Apartments in the Thomasville Heights community on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stares back at a child looking out of a near-collapsing window as he reviews the conditions at the Forest Cove Apartments in the Thomasville Heights community on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens stares back at a child looking out of a near-collapsing window as he reviews the conditions at the Forest Cove Apartments in the Thomasville Heights community on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: City of Atlanta

Credit: City of Atlanta