Ousted residents still distraught

It's been less than a year since Gilbert Manor residents were informed they would have to move from their homes.

 

At a town hall meeting Thursday night, it was clear many of those former residents who now live at Olmstead Homes on Broad Street are still sour about having to relocate from their former residences.

Hattie Nunnally, an 18-year former resident at the federally-subsidized housing project, said the problem lies in how she and other Gilbert Manor tenants were displaced.

"We were rushed from there," she said. "They told us the property had been sold to Medical College of Georgia and we needed to move immediately."

She moved Jan. 11.

"Now they're saying it hasn't been sold yet and they're still looking for a buyer," she added.

In August, the Augusta Housing Authority board voted to close Gilbert Manor.

Wilbert Allen, a community activist who claims ties with the United Church of Christ, came to the forum to support the relocated Gilbert Manor tenants, many of whom now reside at Olmstead Homes on Broad Street.

"They realized they had to move, but they're upset with the process they were presented for moving," he said. "It's a human rights issue. Because people are poor doesn't mean they should be mistreated."

Thursday night's meeting was at the Olmstead Homes Community Center.

Clara Chance, of the Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger, which organized the forum, said the Housing Authority members were not invited because the meeting was originally planned as a "community forum," but during a question and answer session, topics gravitated toward the more volatile Gilbert Manor issue.

District 22 incumbent Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta, and his opponent for the upcoming election, Marion Williams, were at the forum. Mr. Tarver left early because of a previous engagement. Ms. Chance said state Reps. Wayne Howard and Gloria Frazier also were invited, but neither attended.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.