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Last Families Move from Forest Cove Under Mayor Dickens' $9.1M Relocation Plan

ATLANTA
— The last of over 200 households of Forest Cove Apartments in Southeast Atlanta have moved from the property to new residences, capping a relocation process that Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens initiated in the spring. The subsidized apartment complex, long beset by serious problems quality-of-life issues that negatively impacted the health and safety of residents, is now closed. Under an agreement that Mayor Dickens negotiated earlier this year, the complex will be rehabilitated to create safe, quality housing in Thomasville Heights to allow the residents to return to the neighborhood.

"This is a historic milestone for the families of Forest Cove who have been left behind for too many years," said Mayor Dickens. "I am proud that the work of the City — particularly under the leadership of Senior Advisor Courtney English — and so many of our partners helped these residents access new safe and quality homes. After meeting with the families at Forest Cove in my first weeks in office, I knew that even though the City wasn't responsible for the conditions there, we had a moral obligation to act. While our work is far from over, this is an important step for these residents who now have a chance to start fresh. We must now work with urgency to ensure these residents can return to a community that is safe, clean and thriving."

Mayor Dickens, with the support of the Atlanta City Council, invested $9.1 million to support the relocation of Forest Cove residents. The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta served as the lead agency for the relocation which engaged more than a dozen nonprofits and public agencies — including the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Open Doors, APD Urban Planning Management and Georgia Power — to provide full support services to the residents during the transition. Mayor Dickens secured additional private funding and access to homes through the Atlanta Apartment Association, Pretium and Progress Residential and Airbnb.

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"The effort to relocate residents from Forest Cove into safe, permanent homes of their choosing was a monumental task," said Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. "It would not have been possible without the relentless dedication, commitment and collaboration of our partners. It wasn't seamless – there were bumps along the way – but the successful relocation of all 202 families is a testament to what can happen when nonprofit, for-profit, and government agencies pool our resources on behalf of the community. It's a testament of what we can achieve when we all work together."

Throughout the relocation, residents had the ability to view multiple properties before selecting their new homes. Residents were provided moving services, new furniture and other forms of assistance for their moves. The first families moved from Forest Cove on June 3 and the last resident moved on Friday, Sept. 30. In coordination with Atlanta Public Schools, the relocation process prioritized families with children to provide minimal disruption to the school year.

"For too long the residents of Forest Cove had been left to live in dangerous and unsuitable conditions, so I am pleased that all families have now been relocated," said Atlanta City Councilmember Jason Winston, whose First District includes Forest Cove. "Thank you to Mayor Dickens, his leadership team and all partners who rolled up their sleeves and helped with this enormous lift to ensure the housing dignity of hundreds of families in District 1."

Mayor Dickens made the swift and safe relocation of Forest Cove residents a top priority since taking office:
  • In February, Mayor Dickens visited Forest Cove residents to hear their concerns and personally inspect the conditions.
  • In late March, the City and the owner of Forest Cove Apartments reached an agreement to expedite the relocation of the residents of Forest Cove.
  • In mid-May, Mayor Dickens signed legislation allocating the first $1.5 million of the total $9.1 million investment to support the relocation.
  • Mayor Dickens visited with families multiple times during the relocation process to answer questions and expedite the process.
  • The Mayor also met with numerous housing providers to identify available suitable homes for residents.

Mayor Dickens also praised the work of the multiple City of Atlanta agencies that provided direct support to the relocation effort including the Department of Public Works, Atlanta Housing, the Department of Law, the Department of Finance, the Atlanta Police Department, Invest Atlanta and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

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As a result of negotiations with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the Dickens Administration, relocated residents will continue to receive subsidized rent through the Housing Assistance Payments contract administered by HUD. The City is paying the upfront costs of the relocation, and the owners of Forest Cove will repay the full amount to the City upon the closing of a deal for the rehabilitation, rebuild or sale of the property.

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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta.

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