Housing authority's change of heart

A 20-year-old marijuana conviction won't keep a public housing tenant out of one of the Atlanta Housing Authority's new "mixed-income" developments after all.

Stevie Rogers, who lived in the dilapidated Carver Homes before it was torn down in 1998, had applied earlier this year for re-entry into the projects' replacement, the Villages at Carver. The new community has a certain number of apartments set aside for public housing families, with the rest going to those who pay slightly reduced or full market rent.

Initially, the housing authority turned down Rogers' application due to "past criminal activity." She had been charged in 1983 with possessing pot, a misdemeanor for which she paid a $65 fine. The story of Rogers' inability to return to Carver, as well as the housing authority's decision to tear down nine housing projects and replace them with fewer units for the poor, was outlined in last month's cover story, "Locked Out."

Rogers challenged the housing authority's decision to exclude her, and the authority decided to let her back in. She says she and her three children moved to the Villages at Carver June 1.

"If you're on the outside looking in, you think that's a nice place to move," says Rogers, who had been living in a run-down rental house where she paid reduced rent. "It's better now. I feel more secure with the kids."??

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