Text Item Type Metadata
824 Hurt BurLoinc
TELEPHONE JA. 3-6074
ATLANTA, GeornGia 30303
March 22, 1967
Dean William S. Jackson
Scheol of Social Work
1660 Drew Drive, N. W.
Atlanta, Georgia 3031)
Dear Dean Jackson?
Our Chairman, Mr. Edwin Sterne, has asked that we reply to your letter dated
February 22 expressing your thoughts and those of your class on the subjects
of public housing and urban renewal. We are glad to have the opinions ex-
pressed in your letter and to have an opportunity to respond with additional
information bearing upon these matters.
Your letter states that the class developed an impression that urban renewal
was “urban removal" for many Negro families. We have found that this impres-
sion is widely held, not only in Atlanta, but throughout the nation. The
displacement of families in Atlanta has taken place not only because of urban
renewal but also because of clearance for expressway rights-of-way, other street
rights-of-way, schools, parks, playgrounds, and private redevelopment. As among
the foregoing, urban renewal has accounted for approximately 26.1% of family
displacement during the last ten years and expressway clearance 34.6%. The re-
maining is made up of Code Enforcement, over income in public housing and others.
In 1957 when planning of the first urban renewal projects began, little experi-
ence existed which would give guidance to planning for relocation of families
from urban renewal areas. One of the major difficulties encountered in the
early projects was that people became fearful when an urban renewal project was
announced, and many families moved out of the designated area soon thereafter.
The Atlanta Housing Authority had no plans, money or staff with which to cope
with this movement. Legally, families become eligible for relocation assistance
only after the properties in which they live are acquired by an urban renewal
project. Of those families which resided in urban renewal projects at the time
of land acquisition, more than 90% of these who can be traced were relocated in
decent, safe and sanitary housing meeting the requirements of the City's housing
code and the Federal government. Some families who wished to remain anonymous
because of questionable activities in the communities simply disappeared and
cannot be traced or helped.
Dean William S. Jackson -2- March 22, 1967
The urban renewal program, in recognition of the fact that families had moved
out prematurely in the past, now permits staff activities to inform families
and to work with families prior to the time they become eligible for relocation
assistance. These efforts are apparently being successful in the newer urban
renewal projects such as West Ind and Bedford+-Pine. We hope to become in-
creasingly successful in this respect in the future.
Partially due to the efforts of the Atlanta Housing Authority, but primarily
through the studies made under the federally-assisted Community Improvement
Program study, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Atlanta became
aware of the fact that insufficient replacement housing for low and lower-
moderate income families had been built in contrast to that which had been
demolished through various programs. As a result of this, the Mayor held a
Housing Conference on November 15, 1966, and announced a crash program to pro-
duce 16,600 such dwelling accommodations within a five year period. This
program has been implemented and appears to be moving forward at a rapid pace.
At this point, it seems apparent that the first two year goal of 9,800 dwelling
units will be substantially achieved.
Please understand that relocation assistance afforded displaced families to
help them find suitable living accommodations and pay relocation costs was
available only to families displaced from urban renewal projects until recently.
Few cities in the United States made any real attempt to furnish relocation
assistance to families displaced by governmental action other than urban renewal.
At the present time, and for the past two years, the City of Atlanta has a con-
tract with the Housing Authority to operate a Central Relocation Service under
which the City pays for staff and incidental costs. The displacement of families
due to governmental action such as rights-of-way and housing code condemnations
is made known to the Central Relocation Service and the families involved are
assisted in finding new accommodations. There are no funds available from which
to make relocation payments similar to those made for urban renewal project
displacees except limited funds for highway right-of-way displacees. More than
50% of families displaced by these actions have been satisfactorily relocated.
While this is not an excellent record, it is certainly much better than pre-
viously. It is our hope that as time goes on, funds will become available
either from local or Federal sources with which to operate a more successful
We believe that the construction of the above mentioned 16,800 dwelling units
will be of great assistance in meeting the needs of displaced families. One
of the services needed in the City of Atlanta is some type of central listing
service where families could obtain information and assistance in obtaining
better dwelling accommodations even though they are not being displaced by
governmental activities. The Housing Authority is without either funds or
authorization to perform such a service and probably should not administer it.
Hopefully this need will be recognized and fulfilled at some early date, and
we pledge the cooperation of the Housing Authority in any such endeavor.
Dean William S. Jackson March 22, 1967
From the references made to the Antoine Graves Homes and to the John 0. Chiles
Homes, both projects of this Authority, I believe that your visit must have
been made some time ago since the situation at Graves has changed considerably
from the description given in your letter. The former project now has a very
bright and lively appearance with an attractive color scheme ranging from
chartreuse to orange in the courts by reason of the fact that the panels sur-
rounding the balconies have been painted harmonizing colors. The interior
court now has a tile floor as does the large balcony just above. An attractive
plate glass enclosure has been installed in front of the building featuring
heavy aluminum frames so that the entire front is quite attractive and practi-
cal from the standpoint of controlling the influx of cold air in the winter time.
The project has further been improved by the purchase of chairs, sofas and
tables for the public spaces, all designed for use by elderly persons. Your
letter makes no mention of the fact that the Antoine Graves Homes has by far
the largest and most attractive open garden area in our projects of this type.
It is attractively landscaped and equipped with benches for the use of tenants
who may wish to be outdoors in good weather. It is on this open area that
the east side of the building faces, giving perhaps the most attractive view
of any of these projects.
I might mention that the unit costs of each of these two projects were almost
identical. Bids on the two projects were taken less than two months apart and
it happened that the same contractor was the successful bidder on both projects.
Antoine Graves Homes was recently awarded an Award of Merit for Design Excel-
lence by the American Institute of Architects, the only project of ours so
You were incorrectly informed that the Graves Homes project had all Negro
tenants while the Chiles Homes project contained only white families. Negro
families were admitted to Chiles Homes whenever they had requested this as
their first choice and their applications had been filed early enough to be
reached. In the initial process of filling this project, fourteen Negro fami-+
lies were admitted. A single elderly white person was admitted to Graves Homes
since this project was her first choice,
I can state categorically that there was no "old practice" of unequal housing
in the City of Atlanta during the period that projects were segregated. All
projects have been designed to the same criteria by outstanding architects of
the city and have the same quality of construction and the same facilities
In our many years in the field of housing we have, of course, observed that
moving families from slums to public housing does not completely, nor auto-
matically, change their living habits. Our management staffs are equipped by
training and experience to deal with many tenant problems and this is done
within the limits of staff that we are able to supply. We are not able to
finance a Department of Social Service within our budget but we have consis-
tently brought into our projects the services of other agencies to cope with
Dean William S. Jackson ~h- March 22, 1967
the needs of the families. There is a wide range of city, county, public and
private agencies, all of whom are concentrating efforts on our public housing
projects in the fields of recreation, education, health, employment and social
service. By way of example, both Antoine Graves and John 0. Chiles Homes have
programs co-ordinated by Senior Citizens Services, Inc., which is funded by
HOA and has been established to insure that public space is used effectively
for recreation, other leisure time activities, as well as for clinics and other
| public health programs.
At this time, we are also working closely with the Fulton County Department of
Family and Children Services to arrange office space in Perry Homes to house
workers of that Department in the project. This should result in a saving of
the time of the social workers and should increase their availability to those
of our tenants needing their services. A similar arrangement may soon be tried
in other locations.
As you probably know, we include in the development of our projects community
space for various social and recreational purposes. We provide these facili-
ties with the maximum permitted by Federal design standards and, over the past
few years, we have been successful in adding to some of our older projects
facilities which were originally omitted or under~designed under earlier
Federal economy drives or earlier inadequate standards. It is the provision
of this space that enables us to work with the many local social and welfare
agencies in providing a maximum of their programs to our tenant body.
I am taking the liberty of enclosing a slightly worn copy of a Preliminary
Report on Services and Needs Concerning Public Housing Residents. I believe
that to some degree it reflects our concern for our tenants. The enclosed
report reflects the reports made on one project only. We have continued our
survey and now have a more substantial body of information. In the meanwhile,
while we were surveying other projects, BOA came into the picture in Atlanta
and their services cut across mich of the subject matter of our survey. It
then seemed most appropriate, since they had the available manpower and financ-
ing, that we offer our fullest cooperation to them, a move which we believe was
of mutual benefit. If the time comes that the services we are now receiving
are not available to us, we shall have to search elsewhere for resources. Of
course, we currently receive services directly from many of the agencies who
in the future may be able to expand their efforts.
MBS: an M, B. Satterfield
ces iene Ivan Allen, Jr.
Dr. Rufus E. Clement