BREAKING: Councilwoman to Bring Public Housing Resolutions

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felicia(APN) ATLANTA — City Councilwoman Felicia Moore will be introducing three new pieces of legislation today, including one asking AHA to halt demolitions in District 9 until the Council and the affected residents receive a copy of the demolition application to HUD and are consulted with regarding the application.

Atlanta Progressive News obtained copies of the three prepared bills this morning and has interviewed Councilwoman Moore several times over the last several weeks regarding the pending legislation.

Moore will introduce the bills today, they will be discussed at the next Committee meeting for CDHR, Tuesday, January 15, 12:30pm. If they pass at that point, they will be voted on at the next Full Committee meeting.

The second bill codifies City Council practice of having the City Council approve any public housing demolitions.

This is after Atlanta Progressive News revealed weeks ago that Mayor of Atlanta Shirley Franklin sent in five letters to HUD in 2007 approving demolitions in Jonesboro North, Jonesboro South, Leila Valley, U-Rescue Villa, and Inglewood Manor, however, without City Council consultation, awareness, or approval. APN has been the only news agency so far to report this fact.

The third bill, Moore said, is a technical bill related to the second bill.

HALT TO DEMOLITIONS REQUESTED IN DISTRICT 9

“The resolution is necessary to be able to make sure that those Housing Authority communities in my District, the leadership as well as the residents have the opportunity to review the applications and have adequate input and understanding of the plan for relocation as well as many other questions that they have,” Moore told APN in a phone interview.

“This is for people who are ready to leave and those questioning whether they should leave,” Moore said.

“The title of the first resolution is: A RESOLUTION URGING THE ATLANTA HOUSING AUTHORITY (AHA) NOT TO PROCEED WITH THE DISPLACEMENT OF RESIDENTS FROM THE COMMUNITIES OF BOWEN HOMES, HOLLYWOOD COURTS, AND BANKHEAD COURTS IN ATLANTA COUNCIL DISTRICT 9 UNTIL AFFECTED RESIDENTS AND THE ATLANTA CITY COUNCIL RECEIVE A COPY OF THE HUD DEMOLITION APPLICATION FOR REVIEW, COMMENT, CONSULTATION; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,” it also states, “that if any letter(s) of support and/or approval for the demolition of Bowen Homes, Hollywood Courts and Bankhead Courts have been submitted to HUD as a part of the application(s), said letter(s) have been submitted prematurely and without consultation, review and expressed support of the Atlanta City Council for the City of Atlanta.”

The demolition applications previously were not made available to the public, even though AHA was required to include any written comments from the public in the application itself.

Atlanta Progressive News attempted to get the applications from AHA and HUD voluntarily, but both agencies refused to provide them. APN had to obtain the documents through the Freedom of Information Act, taking about six weeks. Councilwoman Moore and resident leader Diane Wright also requested the documents but did not receive them.

Thus, this first resolution requires that AHA provide the applications, something that they are required to do by HUD anyway but have failed to do.

The resolution also requires AHA to consult with the residents, also something they are required to do by HUD anyway but have failed to do. APN previously exclusively reported that AHA sent in fabricated documents to HUD to show what AHA claimed was resident consultation.

“I’m not quite sure of the process of how the consultation will occur. That will be something we would have to work long with the Housing Authority to establish what is meaningful in the consultation,” Moore said.

“To the extent the application doesn’t address questions, issues, or concerns, those can be brought out through the residents, the Council, et cetera, delivered to the Housing Authority, and they’ll be required them to answer them,” Moore said.

“Once we’re satisfied we’ve gotten answers to our questions, or to make suggestions, then we can move forward on how we’ll approve of the resolution [to demolish the communities] or not,” Moore said.

“If AHA is not able to come up with a process that is satisfactory directly with the residents, they [residents] still have another opportunity to get those things addressed through the process with the Council,” Moore said.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL WOULD BE REQUIRED ON DEMOLITIONS

The second bill is titled:

AN ORDINANCE TO ADD A NEW SECTION 2-46.2 ENTITLED “AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED BY CITY COUNCIL FOR REQUESTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT APPROVAL AND/OR LETTERS OF SUPPORT”; ALSO REQUIRING THAT RESOLUTIONS AUTHORIZING SUPPORT OF AHA INITIATIVES MUST BE ACCOMPANIED WITH A COPY OF THE APPLICATION AND/OR DOCUMENTATION; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

“The other ordinance is to make sure in the future it’s clear by code there’s an understanding the Council is the governing authority of the City and should be consulted to send any letters of support that purport to be of the City,” Moore told APN.

“I think it’s necessary to codify because I’ve found other resolutions in the past where the Council did by resolution say that they supported demolitions and applications, and somehow we’ve gotten away from that,” Moore said.

“That’s where the problem has come in, is where the Council would have voted through resolution to send the letter of support. We’ve gotten away from that practice. Now what seems to be happening, AHA is going directly to the Mayor’s Office, and the Mayor is making the decision for the City, whether there’s local support or not, and sending the letter,” Moore said.

“They’ve [the usual processes] been circumvented,” Moore said.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for the Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndicaton policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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