Some Fairburn-Gordon Apartment tenants fear being left behind

The owners of the Fairburn-Gordon apartments in Atlanta's Adamsville neighborhood paid a $31-million fine late Friday after missing a deadline last Thursday. A&B Apartments LLC is under fire after being ordered to repair numerous code violations at the southwest Atlanta apartment complex.  

Some residents are slated to be relocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tenants who are not receiving HUD assistance will be forced to look for housing on their own.  

"I'm currently without air and a working stove," Nicole Pruitt says. "They promised me someone would come to fix the air, but no one showed up."  

Pruitt was among the residents not receiving HUD assistance. She arrived at the Fairburn-Gordon apartments 6 years ago with her kids after being homeless. She says the condition of the apartments, from plumbing to infrastructure and from crime to pest control has gotten worse. She says she is frustrated and fears that she and tenants like her will be stuck in the apartments much longer because she cannot afford the cost of relocation. 

Tenants receiving HUD assistance are being moved to another apartment.  

"There's no recourse for me," Pruitt says. "I have to foot my own relocation expenses and secure a place to stay on my own.  

With a tight budget, she says it's tough to devise a quick plan to move to an affordable place. 

"If you don't have those resources, and there's no other way to go that's reasonable, I'm just setting myself up to be homeless again," Pruitt says.  

Sterling Johnson with Partnership for Southern Equity has been working with tenants to coordinate relocation assistance.  

"Unfortunately, right now there haven't been as many resources since the pandemic for people dealing with housing transition, "Johnson says. "We're trying to help them know what's available during this transition."  

Johnson says about 75% of tenants left at the apartment pay market rate and will not receive direct help from HUD.  

"We've been having lots of conversations with the city (of Atlanta) and the Mayor's Office Housing Help Center to try to figure out what resources are available."