AC Finally On at Friendship Towers Senior Highrise, Three Months and a Court Order Later
(APN) ATLANTA — Following three months of senior-led activism and a court order, the air conditioning is finally repaired and working at Friendship Towers, a senior high-rise subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Atlanta Progressive News previously reported that fed-up tenants took their complaints to HUD after the building manager, Glass Ratner, and the building owner, Friendship Baptist Church, neglected to fix air conditioning and heating problems for years.
At the time, HUD’s regional director made plans to conduct a walk through of the building.
A spokesperson for Glass Ratner had told APN at the time that the air conditioning would be repaired by June 03, 2015.
But as of July 19, 2015 residents were still mobilizing because the cooling unit was still not fixed.
They attended the service at Friendship Baptist Church and confronted church leaders.
Former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman (District 12) has been leading the advocacy charge for the Friendship Tower residents for some time.
He joined them at the church and noted in a Facebook post that “The air is on inside the church, just not at Friendship Towers.”
The protest at the church prompted intervention from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who quickly announced that the church would pay to temporarily house residents in a hotel until the repairs are made.
Then Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter called an emergency hearing and ruled that residents will not have to pay rent for the next two months because the cooling unit has yet to be repaired.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that church leaders promised the Mayor that the air conditioning would be fixed by the end of the day Friday, July 23, 2015.
Last year, Friendship Baptist Church sold its historic church building to the City for 19.5 million dollars so it could be demolished to make way for the new Falcons Stadium-related development.
Needless to say, many of the people involved were puzzled as to why a fraction of that sum was not timely spent to keep the church’s senior tenants from sweltering in the summer heat.
Brenda Wood of Channel 11 issued one stinging commentary in her “Last Word,” on July 21, 2015.