200 South DeKalb residents receive county assistance after facing eviction

Tenants of Forest at Columbia line up for renewal intake. (DorMiya Vance/WABE)

Residents of the Forest at Columbia apartment complex in Decatur no longer have to leave their homes at the end of August. 

The residents had their leases terminated without notice for renovations after Meridian Management Group took over the public housing complex three months ago. The county set up wraparound services to assist residents with jobs and possible relocations. 

Donald “Dee Cee” Craddock is a representative of Meridian. He says the complex is working with the county, and residents do not have to relocate out of the complex on Aug. 31. 

“We’re going to work with them and keep them here until we can transition the ones that can’t stay here,” he said. 

Residents can choose to stay at the complex if they meet the intake requirements set up by management while renovations take place. The goal is to complete the renovations in phases so that eligible residents can experience the updated units.   

Many of the residents are hopeful about the help from the county, like Elaine Sumlan. She’s retired and has been at the complex for a few years. 

“It would be a blessing if they is going to give us a place to stay,” she said.  

The county is set to hold another housing and relocation meeting for all 200 residents on Wednesday, Aug. 17.