Mom shares concerns over living conditions at Dogwood Terrace

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:35 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Neighbors in the Dogwood Terrace Apartments are speaking to us with complaints about gunfire and living conditions.

It’s set to be demolished next summer as some neighbors get moved to a new location, the old Cherry Tree Crossing Apartments.

It’s just one neighborhood involved with Augusta’s housing voucher program. With Augusta’s housing market expected to boom in 2023, it drives up competition for the Housing Authority to get their hands on property to house families in need.

“I have woken up out of my sleep from bullet shots hitting my windows. Me and my kids will constantly be in shootouts just sitting out on our porch,” said one mom.

She wants to stay anonymous to protect her family. She has lived at Dogwood Terrace for almost five years and says it’s less than ideal.

“Sometimes I have water that’s leaking from the ceiling out of nowhere. I have like four doors that have been torn down for like two years. I called maintenance to come put it up,” she said.

A new project for voucher and Section 8 neighbors, Walton Green, is set to start having available housing in July.

Douglas Freeman, Augusta Housing Authority, said, “Depending on what they qualify for and what’s available at the time it’s their turn to relocate, it’s possible some of them could be over there,” he said. “What we can say for sure is we will have a place for everybody”.

Getting into the voucher program is something else, with a waiting list in the thousands.

“Typically, when the housing market is hot, when there’s lots of demand and not enough supply, that makes it more difficult for our voucher holders to find a place,” he said.

The hope is to start relocating Dogwood this summer, but it’s a matter of waiting.

The mom said: “It’s also traumatizing my kids because they’re turning out to be very bad, and before I moved here they were awesome kids but now it’s just... they’re running away.”

To combat the competitive housing market, they’ve been working to add more of the rent vouchers the program offers to property owners. In 2022, their success rate of being accepted rose to just over 50%.