Atlanta mayor OKs $1.5 million payment to support Forest Cove tenants

Mayor Andre Dickens speaks in front of Atlanta Fire and Rescue Station 26 on Howell Mill Road NW in Atlanta on Monday, May 16, 2022.  (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Mayor Andre Dickens speaks in front of Atlanta Fire and Rescue Station 26 on Howell Mill Road NW in Atlanta on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Work is now underway in the city of Atlanta to use federal funds for the relocation efforts of tenants at the condemned Forest Cove Apartments.

Mayor Andre Dickens on Tuesday signed legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston to allocate $1.5 million of a planned $9.1 million for the Forest Cove resident relocation. The remaining funds will be released later, according to the mayor’s office.

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. Forest Cove property manager, Millennia Companies in Ohio, wants to relocate the 212 residents for repairs. But a Municipal Court judge condemned it for demolition in December.

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Mayor Andre Dickens signs legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston to allocate $1.5 million to immediately support the relocation of Forest Cove Apartments residents to new housing. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: SYLVIA McAFEE

Mayor Andre Dickens signs legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston to allocate $1.5 million to immediately support the relocation of Forest Cove Apartments residents to new housing. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: SYLVIA McAFEE

Combined ShapeCaption
Mayor Andre Dickens signs legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston to allocate $1.5 million to immediately support the relocation of Forest Cove Apartments residents to new housing. (City of Atlanta)

Credit: SYLVIA McAFEE

Credit: SYLVIA McAFEE

“Mayor Dickens’ signing of the legislation on the day it has passed through the council is indicative of our belief that no family should live in deplorable conditions and is the first step toward ending the damaging housing conditions within our city,” Winston said in a statement.

In October, the city alleged in its lawsuit against Millennia that the complex has racked up at least 231 code violations for building damage and rodent infestations, among other issues, since 2017.

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The lawsuit also says the property has received more than 650 police calls for domestic violence, burglary, robbery, and homicide since 2020.

The mayor’s office said the nonprofit Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta will facilitate the relocation using Atlanta’s American Rescue Plan funds.

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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)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

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)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

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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)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Forest Cove families will have an opportunity to visit at least three properties before selecting their next home, according to the city. The mayor’s office said the new households will have the furniture and items needed for tenants to comfortably settle in. The city is also planning to provide workforce development and logistical support to residents throughout the process.

Dickens is urging property owners with vacant units to contact housing@atlantaga.gov.

“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. “We’re asking property owners and managers across Atlanta to reach out to see how they can help close the gap and get these families into safe and quality homes.

“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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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