News 12 first at five, December 27, 2007
Augusta, GA---"This is a true, true blessing." Felicia Rogers is a single mother of seven. She has kids ranging in age from 3 to 17. She says news of Gilbert Manor residents having to move hits home. Felicia and her children relocated just 2 years ago.
It was a time when she was a self-proclaimed couch potato. "Yes, I was...I'm not gone tell a story from 2000 to 2005, and then when I got into this program it started motivating me and I started school and it was motivating me from then on."
The program is offered through the housing authority. It is called Residential Opportunities for Self Sufficiency. It has made a big difference in Felicia's life. "I finally got up and said I got to do something with my life. I'm getting older, I got kids...they gonna be looking at me and saying mom's not this... mom's not that, so I said I gotta pick it up. My kids are so proud of me from this point."
Jennings Place is home for Felicia now, and it's one of 13 options for Gilbert Manor residents along with a section 8 voucher. The housing authority says they're trying to make this a smooth transition.
"The sale of Gilbert Manor is inevitable. There are a few people, some of the elderly in particular that have some anxiety and that's what we're trying to do is ease that anxiety for them," says Harden Oldfield.
The housing authority is even working with the Medical College of Georgia to offer entry level positions to Gilbert Manor residents.
"We want to be apart of the community instead of being apart from the community so in all of our planning process from the day we walked in working with the housing authority on Gilbert manor we wanted this to be a positive experience for all that it touched," says Michael Ash with M.C.G. Felicia knows first hand that moving can be challenging, but that you can make a move for the better. "Oh yes you really can, really can and i just thank god that it ended up this way."
The housing authority says they will foot the bill to move each resident...the cost about $200,000 dollars. They also say they are prepared to provide one on one counseling for all residents. Now here are the options...residents can move to one of 13 additional housing developments or they can receive a Section 8 housing voucher.
About 250 families will have to relocate. 75 families asked for vouchers, 33 families asked for the option of a voucher and/or public housing, and 146 families asked to move to another public housing development. Families will be mailed a notice to vacate next week. They will have 90 days to move.