Photo of the Day: Herndon Homes demolition February 19 2010

Herndon Homes, located off of Northside Drive, was one of the city’s last public housing projects.

The Atlanta public housing project Herndon Homes, located off of Northside Drive, is being torn down. It was one of the few remaining housing projects left in the city following an ambitious initiative to replace the projects with mixed-income communities.

The demolition, which started earlier in the winter, is slated to be finished by May. Once it is torn down — and housing market conditions are more favorable —  the land will be shopped around to developers and non-profits for development, according to Atlanta Housing Authority spokesman Rick White.

White says that close to 250 families used to live in Herndon Homes, and those who qualify have been given certificates that allowed them to relocate to other private-sector homes and apartments — and pay the same amount of rent. “I think it’s been extremely effective, ” White says, “and  I think the affected families would tell you so. It has allowed families to move into much safer areas, areas closer to their employment and with better schools.”

Deiredre Oakley, assistant professor at Georgia State, has been working with her colleagues on a study that has followed 400 individuals who used to live in Atlanta public housing. In the last year, Bowen Homes, Bankhead Courts, Hollywood courts, Thomasville Heights, Herndon Homes, Hollywood Court, MLK Tower and University Homes have all been razed. Palmer and Roosevelt houses are slated to be imploded later this year. Most of the city’s other projects were demolished starting in the ’90s.

“I would say there are individual successes if you take the the program as a whole, but I don’t think you can say — based on our data — that the program is a complete success,” Oakley says. “The outcomes are very mixed. There are some people who do really well, but there are problems that come up.”