Six renters using public housing vouchers to live at Old Fourth Ward’s EDGE on the Beltline apartment complex will likely be kicked out by the end of the month and scramble for the increasingly elusive landlords willing to accept government-subsidized rent payments.
They’ve been ensnared in a protracted back-and-forth negotiation between their landlord, Carter-Haston, and the city’s housing authority, Atlanta Housing (AH), that underscores the challenges Atlanta’s low-income renters face when seeking stable housing.
Carter-Haston, the Nashville real estate fund and property manager that bought EDGE in January, has indicated it will stop participating in the Section 8 rent voucher program that the property’s previous owners had committed to, despite pressure from AH. That means the six EDGE tenants who rely on the government’s help to pay rent must move out Aug. 31.
Carter-Haston, which did not respond to Atlanta Civic Circle’s requests for comment, has declined to file the paperwork necessary to continue the Housing Choice Voucher Program agreement that the complex’s previous two owners had with AH, according to a statement from the public housing agency.
“We re-sent the instructions on how to complete the new Property Owner Application (POA), but have not received a completed application to date,” the statement said. “We have also offered a conference call to ensure the instructions were clear, but did not receive a response.”
AH said it even told Carter-Haston it could forgo filing a new application and simply supply a W-9 and a voided check, so the housing authority could resume making subsidized rent payments, which stopped coming when the real estate firm purchased the complex from the Ohio-based Connor Group.
Three of the six Section 8 renters have found new places to live, according to AH. That includes Marcus Dede, who told Atlanta Civic Circle that finding a small studio unit at EDGE back in 2019 entailed “looking through a haystack with the tiniest needle.”
AH has been helping the other three renters search for available units that accept housing vouchers, it said in the statement, but added: “However, none of the three have chosen a new unit as of yet.”
Dede told Atlanta Civic Circle that his new apartment, in Summerhill, is just as nice as EDGE on the Beltline, which straddles the most popular leg of the multi-use trail. It was one of only two he found that would take his voucher.
“Right now, across the country, housing is riddled with greed, and the hardest hit are still the working classes, black and brown communities,” said Dede, who is Black.
After having his housing security threatened by Carter-Haston’s unwillingness to accept his voucher payments, Dede added, “I wouldn’t even want to continue to live here, regardless of if they got the program back or not.”