Deal gone sour complicating efforts for affordable housing in At -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Deal gone sour complicating efforts for affordable housing in Atlanta

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

A real estate deal gone sour is complicating Atlanta's efforts to build more affordable housing near downtown Atlanta. 

CBS46 previously told you the mayor and Housing Authority are suing the partners who changed the face of public housing here. Now, we've talked with a man who sees the changes up close.

When the day ends, people come home to new apartments near Grady Memorial Hospital and Auburn Avenue. A thousand or more people, virtually all African American, used to live here when it was one of the city's toughest housing projects.

A thoughtful Kevin Whiteside admits he is a little racial about the neighborhood changes.

"Everybody knew Auburn Avenue, Edgewood, prostitute spot," says Whiteside. "You could buy any kind of drug you wanted. Look it at now. Looks better, renovated. White people coming back, buying up property, restaurants, safe place to go. Looks nice."

Many former tenants did not return, but are using vouchers to rent from private landlords in other, usually poorer parts of Atlanta.

Some of the former residents are back.

"I'm not downgrading my people. Who wouldn't want somewhere safe to live?" asks Whiteside. "Who wouldn't want to walk their dog in a nice area without worrying about being shot by a stray bullet?"

Mixing poorer tenants with newcomers, and paying real market-rate rent over a thousand dollars a month, are making the difference, say Atlanta Housing Authority leaders. The board met and heard statistical evidence that Atlanta's mixed-income housing experiment is de-concentrating poverty. Living in a mixed-income development increases job chances by 400 percent, says a study from 2011.

Whiteside doesn't live here, though. He's buying a house in Grant Park, where his mortgage is less than the rents here. He did seem a little wistful about the colorful life now gone. But, he repeatedly said this is real and this is better.

Click here to read some of the statistics on the area. 

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