Atlanta City Council OKs more funding to support Forest Cove tenants

A puddle of raw sewage (bottom right of picture) stands in front of Lolita Evans’ apartment at the Forest Cove apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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A puddle of raw sewage (bottom right of picture) stands in front of Lolita Evans’ apartment at the Forest Cove apartment complex Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Atlanta City Council is allocating more federal funds for the relocation efforts of tenants at the condemned Forest Cove Apartments.

The council approved legislation during Monday’s meeting to donate $7.6 million to the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, which is spearheading the city’s unprecedented relocation plan.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published several articles about Forest Cove, including a 2018 investigation about the state and local government’s lack of authority to address mold issues in rental units. A Municipal Court judge in December condemned Forest Cove for demolition this year due to safety and crime concerns.

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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

Millennia Companies in Ohio, the apartment’s property manager, is working with the city to relocate the more than 100 families living at the southeast Atlanta complex.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens previously announced plans to provide $9.1 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward the relocation plan. Dickens signed off on the initial $1.5 million allocation in May. Millennia is expected to reimburse the city upon the closing of a deal for the rehabilitation, rebuild or sale of the property.

Last month, officials said 15 families have been relocated and 165 are in progress. Atlanta interim Planning Commissioner Janide Sidifall told a City Council committee the effort is “slower than expected” but an urgent matter nonetheless.

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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

Since then, according to a spokesman from the mayor’s office on Tuesday, 63 families have relocated and all remaining families are in the multi-step process to move.

“Families at Forest Cove have been left behind for years in terrible and deteriorating conditions. Progress to move these families into safe and decent housing only took place when Mayor Dickens personally intervened,” a mayoral spokesman said.

“Progress has been slower than any of us would have liked. Simply put, the relocation cannot happen fast enough. At the Mayor’s direction, additional partners have been brought in to work directly with families, identify suitable housing options, and facilitate the moves. This is a top priority for City Hall and our partners, and we will not be resting until every family has been relocated from Forest Cove.”

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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