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Tenants worry about being kicked out after redevelopment at Orange Avenue Apartments

Posted at 6:11 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 18:11:46-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — People in public housing units in Tallahassee say they don't trust what's going to happen to their homes next year.

What authorities say is redevelopment, they worry means potentially getting kicked out.

There's a lot of mistrust right now from the people who live here. The idea is to take out all these buildings and build new ones for everybody.

One woman tells ABC 27 there hasn't been enough transparency in the process.

"This whole situation is like a double-edged sword," said Tifany Hill.

Tifany Hill says she first moved here with her family in the seventies. She's since moved out, joined the Army, and left.

But her dad still lives at the Orange Avenue Apartments along with about 200 other families. Hill worries soon, that could change.

"If you say we're not going to be displaced, let's see it in writing," said Hill. "Let's go to the table and get some lawyers or whoever and get involved."

"What I can say to the residents here at Orange Ave apartments is to trust the process," said Brenda Williams. "Those residents who were relocated have the rights to return to a new apartment that has been constructed."

Brenda Williams works with the Tallahassee Housing Authority. Williams says what Hill worries about is illegal. And something this agency would never do to tenants.

"We will replace 200 public housing ... with 200 more public housing units," said Williams.

The rest of the apartments will be mixed-income. Hill says that's another issue.

If the redevelopment does happen, she believes it could take away from the quality of life.

"Myself as a veteran, I don't want to live like that. I like to be able to come here and I have a front yard and a backyard," Hill explained. "That's more of a culture to me."

With a lot still up in the air, including if the housing authority will even be granted the money to redevelop, Williams believes everything will be okay.

"We've had several meetings here at Orange Avenue over the past couple years," said Williams. "The residents are aware of what we're doing, and we will continue to meet with the residents."

The Housing Authority says it won't find out if the redevelopment is approved until the end of the year. Then, construction would take about nine months.

If they get denied, they have to re-apply next year and start the whole process over again.