City of Atlanta proposes $9 million to relocate Forest Cove residents

forest cove apartments

WABE’s Feb. investigation documented how government officials stood by for years as Forest Cove received hundreds of code violations and failed federal inspections. In late December, a local judge condemned the complex. (Alphonso Whitfield/WABE)

The City of Atlanta is proposing to allocate $9.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to help relocate the residents of Forest Cove.

A local judge described the Southeast Atlanta apartment complex as “uninhabitable” late last year and ordered it condemned. The ruling forced the owner, Millennia, to pause its already long-delayed renovation plans.

The Cleveland-based company has appealed the order and said it remains committed to redeveloping the federally-subsidized property. Until the company figures out its plans, the city has agreed to pay for the residents’ relocation.

According to legislation introduced on April 18, the city wants to put the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta in charge of the funding. As this intermediary, CEO Frank Fernandez said he hopes the nonprofit can expedite the relocation process.

 “These residents have had a lot of promises made and a lot of those promises have been broken,” he said. “So we are doing everything we humanly can to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta will partner with APD Urban Planning and Open Door, two groups that were already working with Millennia to relocate residents before the condemnation order.

Fernandez said the $9.1 million will help cover moving costs and supportive services for the 200 families remaining at the low-income complex. It also could cover additional rent costs when the residents’ subsidy from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development comes up short.  

The American Rescue Plan funding comes from stimulus money Congress passed in March of last year. According to a joint statement from March, Millennia must reimburse the money when it follows through with renovations or sells the property.

The legislation finalizing the funding is currently in the council’s Community Development and Human Services Committee. Its next meeting is May 10.

Subscribe to WABE’s serial podcast following a year-long investigation into the conditions at Forest Cove on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and more. In the latest episode, WABE explores the federally-funded complex’s long history with mismanagement.