A Section 8 apartment complex on Atlanta’s southside that’s been falling apart for years seems primed for a revamp that officials say will finally make the property safe and livable. 

For years, residents at the Forest Cove apartments complained of dangerous, even “uninhabitable” living conditions, including rats, roaches, mold and structural failures, among other blight.

The complex’s property manager, Millennia Housing Management (MHM), had long been telling residents that the company planned to purchase the community from owner Global Ministries Foundation and fix the place up, but it seemed that effort kept getting stalled, residents told Atlanta Civic Circle.

Now, though, MHM representatives assured ACC in a statement that the company “is in the final stages of acquiring Forest Cove and moving forward with plans to preserve the 396 units of affordable housing through an extensive rehabilitation.”

Plus, the city’s public housing authority, Atlanta Housing, says it intends to play a role in the property’s revival. 

“While not directly involved with the families at Forest Cove through the provision of subsidy, ownership or other investments, AH is very concerned about the quality of life for residents who remain on-site and will work with the new owner on intentional solutions that benefit the residents,” says an AH statement sent to ACC

Millennia approached AH to help support and preserve the long-term affordability of the property, according to an agency spokesperson. 

“Discussions are preliminary and contingent upon a well-thought-out relocation plan for the current residents administered by Millennia, as well as programs that provide benefits to the residents, supporting internet connectivity and computer access, transportation and education,” the statement continued. 

Additionally, after ACC reported on the withering state of the Forest Cove complex last week, some local leaders leapt to help the residents who had been struggling with unsafe living conditions, pests and litter.

For example, Christy Carr Betz, director of the Giving Grace program at community advocacy group REMERGE, has raised money to help at least families relocate from Forest Cove and put deposits down on new housing. 

And Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown recently rallied volunteers to help clean up the property. Brown also said he’s reaching out to Councilwoman Carla Smith, who represents the district where the complex is located, to discuss the possibility of launching a community-run fund that could support residents of Forest Cove and other blighted developments. 

“Some of these kids there, their clothes were filthy, and you could tell a lot of them hadn’t eaten,” Brown said in an interview with ACC after the cleanup. “We really need to build a fund to help relocate these people or help their living conditions get better.”

(Header image, via Millennia Housing Management: A rendering of the planned renovation of the complex.)

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