Cherry Tree Housing Complex is almost empty

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News12 First at Five/ Wed. March 12, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- In April, the Cherry Tree Housing Complex should be completely empty.

The Housing Authority has moved close to 313 families to different parts of the city.

Things are quiet in Cherry Tree Apartments. At the end of last year, there were two shootings and a stabbing. These days the cleanup crews are the one's making noises emptying the apartments.

"We started with $355 families to move out. We moved 315 and still are working to move another 52 families," said HA Planning Director Richard Arfman.

Arfman, he works as the planning director for the Housing Authority. He says deputies still patrol the neighborhood because copper wiring and other metals have been stolen from the empty units.

"We are boarding the units up as they become vacant. We are also turning off the utilities so that there is no water as soon as they become vacant," he said.

We're told more than half of the families took section eight housing vouchers and are now scattered across the city. Things could may be more difficult for those that are left.

"These last 42 families are going to be the tough ones. They don't qualify for section eight housing. We have to relocate them to public housing. it's hard to match them up to the right unit sizes," he said.

He says they'll start tearing down the complex in June and building mixed income housing in 2016.

The Housing Authority plans to buy other boarded up homes near Cherry Tree Crossing to try and turn the area around. w

Will that be enough to bring new people into an area known for drugs and violence?

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