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Tenants at the fast-deteriorating Forest Cove apartment complex soon may be able to rest their heads in comfort and safety.
City of Atlanta officials have identified 170 units available in other apartment complexes, which would be enough to temporarily house most of the 211 families still living at Forest Cove, Mayor Andre Dickens announced at a Wednesday press conference.
An Atlanta judge condemned the property in December and set a March 1 deadline to relocate the residents.
Dickens said city leaders — from the mayor’s office, Atlanta Housing, and Invest Atlanta — have lately devoted two hours each day to navigating the Forest Cove crisis “and to relocate these individuals out of those deplorable conditions.”
But the mayor has not yet announced when that could happen and where the 170 units are located.
The news marks the first real glimmer of hope for the Section 8 tenants, who have long waited for property owner Millennia Housing Management — and before it, Global Ministries Foundation, which sold Forest Cove to Millennia last April — to fulfill its promise to rehabilitate the complex.
Millennia previously sought to renovate Forest Cove, which has been plagued for years by open sewage, mold, and rats, to the tune of more than $56 million — upwards of $140,000 per unit for 396 units — but an Atlanta judge instead condemned the property in response to a city of Atlanta petition that documented dozens of serious code violations. The judge ordered the developer to relocate the residents by March 1, and tear the buildings down by fall.
Although Millennia has appealed the court order, executives acknowledged last week that razing the complex and building new apartments might be the only option. Current residents would be invited to return to the community once it’s rebuilt, the company has said.
Wednesday’s announcement is the second big win for Forest Cove’s tenants this week. After residents launched a rent strike on Tuesday, Millennia agreed they would not have to pay rent until they’re relocated.