MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents at Peppertree Apartments in Whitehaven are working to figure out their next steps nearly two months after the US Housing and Urban Development Authority announced they will permanently shut down the complex.
HUD held a series of meetings with residents Thursday to provide information about the relocation process.
“Our goal is to walk them through the step-by-step process and make sure everybody is taken care of,” said Kenneth Free, field officer director for HUD.
Considering the issues at Peppertree have been such a point of contention over the last several years, everyone we spoke with seemed in good spirits as they look ahead to what they hope will be a brighter future.
Resident April Bell says she can finally see a future — away from the last two years at Peppertree Apartments.
“God is good and he’s going to give me something better,” Bell said.
It was back in January when HUD announced the permanent closure of the affordable housing complex, after the owners failed to bring it up to livable standards.
Free says residents will need to reapply for vouchers, but most everyone that currently lives in Peppertree should qualify. He says the vouchers will be valid for anywhere in the United States- not just here in Memphis.
With the Housing Choice Voucher program, the tenants pick where they want to live, so it’s one of those and they can move around. It’s not where they’re required to be in that one location.
Chase Madkins, who works for the Center for Transforming Communities, says he wishes the meetings happened sooner, but he’s feeling positive moving forward.
“Our goal is to get the most direct answers that we can get from the representatives and the agents that are in charge of overseeing this relocation process,” Madkins said.
So Thursday, as people like Bell walked into the meeting, they walk out with a renewed sense of hope.
“I appreciate that they’re having these meetings, because it’s giving us an update on where we’re going to go and how we’re going to move forward,” she said.
HUD is still looking for landlords willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Anyone who might be interested is urged to contact the Memphis Housing Authority.