News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 21, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---It turns out a move from Gilbert Manor will come at a greater cost than expected. It seems it was never on the Augusta Housing Authority's radar.
63-year-old Willie Bush is settling in to his new housing unit at Olmstead Homes, but he's got a bone to pick with the Augusta Housing Authority. "I feel that they did me wrong. It's not right," he said.
After being forced to leave Gilbert Manor as the Medical College of Georgia expands, Mr. Bush is now facing higher rent. "Nobody has come to talk to me and to tell me why.".
"We wish that Mr. Bush had known. We didn't know. We overlooked this," said Mr. Buddy Oldfield, Director of Resident Services for the Housing Authority.
Mr. Bush and 35 other families will see their rent go up almost 40 percent. "That's wrong for them to jump up that much without explaining and giving me an option to move somewhere else before I move here," said Mr. Bush. He and his former neighbors paid flat rates. Gilbert Manor along with Cherry Tree Crossing have the lowest rate of all 12 public housing developments.
What was once $207 a month in rent is now $284. Mr. Bush's bill this month was $301.
"We're sorry that we didn't recognize that up front," Mr. Oldfield said. "We simply missed it."
And that's not their only mistake. "We may have missed some fees or incorrectly charged people, and we're going back and taking those off."
The Housing Authority says they will work around the clock to get things back in order.
"Ultimately, we hope we can satisfy everyone, but it's sort of like any other organization," Mr. Oldfield said. "You're going to have some people that may not be satisfied, but we're going to try our best to do that."
The director of management for the Augusta Housing Authority tells News 12 she will work with families on a case by case basis. The rates are federally mandated. The Housing Authority is reaching out to local churches and the Salvation Army to see if they would help families with a portion of their rent for the first month.