Fulton helps fund replacement housing in Roswell

Credit: Adrianne Murchison

Credit: Adrianne Murchison

A public housing complex in Roswell that was condemned as unsafe and emptied of residents last year should be replaced by a new facility more than twice as large, with a boost provided Wednesday by Fulton County commissioners.

Last summer 33 elderly and disabled residents were forced to move out of the Palfrey Pines building at 199 Grove Way, which was nearly 40 years old. A 2021 report found that sinkholes made its foundation unstable. “Critical repairs” had not been made since 2017, according to documents residents provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The housing authority hired developer Penrose to demolish the old building and build a new one: a 102-unit apartment costing $29.6 million.

“The Roswell Housing Authority anticipates this project will be a catalyst for a second phase of development that will include 90 additional affordable housing units,” the county agenda item says.

Commissioners authorized a letter committing $2.1 million from federal grant funds to the project, on the condition it qualifies for low-income housing tax credits.

Those tax credits are why the housing authority needs the county commitment, said Karen Parrish, RHA board chair. With the letter in hand, the authority will apply for tax credits next week, she said.

Those tax credits will cover most of the cost, according to the county agenda item. The project will also use $5.2 million in loans and $400,000 from the developer.

But there was a $6 million funding gap, Parrish said. In an unprecedented move, Roswell contributed $2 million, and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, is seeking a federal appropriation of $2.5 million, she said.

The housing authority relocated those forced out of the building. Some moved to nearby units, but officials also searched for private apartments that would accept Section 8 vouchers.

Shenetra Gates, tenant commissioner on the RHA board, told Fulton commissioners the previously displaced residents will be able to move into the new building along with more new residents. Her own mother was among those displaced last year, Gates said.

Parrish said the building condemnation displaced some residents who had been there for four decades.

Housing authority residents pay reduced rent, less than a third of market rate. The new apartments will be available to people earning below 80% of the area median income, with 40 of the units reserved for senior and the disabled on a fixed income, according to the agenda item.