Mayor Andre Dickens signs the legislation sponsored by Councilmember Jason Winston. The legislation will allocate $1.5 million to immediately support the relocation of Forest Cove Apartments residents to new housing.
Forest Cove Relocation Moves Forward as Mayor Dickens and City Council Provide $1.5 Million Down Payment to Support Families
Mayor Andre Dickens signed legislation today to allocate the first $1.5 million of a planned $9.1 million investment to support the relocation of Forest Cove residents. Councilmember Jason Winston, whose District includes the Forest Cove Apartments, sponsored the legislation in partnership with the Dickens Administration.
“Every resident deserves the dignity of safe and quality housing, but that has long been lacking for the families living at Forest Cove,” said Mayor Dickens. “While this isn’t a City-owned property, I could not stand by as these residents continued to be left behind. That’s why I have directed the City to step in to take urgent action. Thank you to Councilmember Winston and the entire City Council for their urgent partnership on this issue.”
The Mayor is also today signing a partnership agreement with the Community of Foundation of Greater Atlanta, which will be facilitating the relocation of Forest Cove residents. The funding, which is drawn from the City’s American Rescue Plan funds, will be immediately allocated to the Community Foundation. The remaining balance of Mayor Dickens’ $9.1 million commitment will be allocated in the near future.
“The legislation demonstrates that our city and its elected officials can come together to deliver results for the residents of the city of Atlanta,” said Councilmember Winston. “It will assist in relocation costs, recovery, and support for the residents of Forest Cove Apartments. With these resources, the Community Foundation can begin assisting with the relocation efforts. I would like to express my gratitude to Mayor Dickens and my colleagues on Council in support of this paper. Mayor Dickens’ signing of the legislation on the day it has passed through the Council is indicative of our belief that no family should live in deplorable conditions and is the first step toward ending the damaging housing conditions within our city. My office will continue to work toward resolutions that will help the people entrust our city government’s ability to meet these challenges.”
Separately, Mayor Dickens is working with the Atlanta Apartment Association and other property owners to identify housing units for families moving out of Forest Cove to consider. The Mayor and Association co-hosted a call with property owners to identify potential units last week and is today broadening the call for property owners with vacant units on the critical relocation effort.
“With a housing market this tight, we know we need to pound the pavement to find the housing units that these families need,” Mayor Dickens added. “We’re asking property owners and managers across Atlanta to reach out to see how they can help close the gap and get these families into safe and quality homes. Taking care of our neighbors at Forest Cove is a chance for Atlantans to show what it means to be a truly inclusive community.”
Property owners with vacant units are urged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Dickens has 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.
- The City restarted the relocation process and is making best efforts to relocate all Forest Cove residents this summer to minimize any potential impact for Atlanta Public School students ahead of the new school year.
- 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. This federal program currently subsidizes housing costs for households at Forest Cove.
- The City will pay 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.
The City is partnering with the owner of the Forest Cove Apartments and Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta, the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, Open Doors, APD Urban Planning Management and others to facilitate a smooth transition for the residents.
Each family at Forest Cove will be able to visit a minimum of three homes before making their selection. The relocation team and the City are working to ensure households have the furniture and key items needed to comfortably settle into their new units. The City is also working with the relocation team to identify wraparound services to support economic mobility, workforce development and logistical support to residents throughout the relocation process.