Decatur mom, four kids back home after Atlanta News First InvestigationNikki Waldon and her daughter.(Rachel Polansky)
By Rachel Polansky, Atlanta News First
Decatur, GA — (Atlanta News First) — Atlanta News First Investigates is getting results.
ANF Investigates introduced you to a Decatur mother and her four children who were living in a homeless shelter after a fire tore through their federally subsidized apartment.
The fire took place in April. We wanted to know why it was taking so long for the housing authority to make repairs. Well, two weeks after we got involved, the family is back home.
“I’m happy to be home, in my own space,” Nikki Waldon said with a smile.
The CEO of the Decatur Housing Authority told Atlanta News First that it began “repairs and remediation” in April. But then a second, “larger fire” took place in a unit above Waldon’s in May, and Waldon’s unit “received further damage.”
Waldon came to Atlanta News First looking for answers. Less than two weeks later, the Decatur Housing Authority told Atlanta News First remediation efforts were complete and Waldon and her family could move back home.
“I think you helped a lot. Because at first, it was taking forever, and I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. As soon you talked to them, a week and a half later, I’m back in my place,” Waldon said.
And the cherry on top? Waldon’s neighbors saw our story too and quickly began donating furniture and other items to help the family get back on their feet.
“We got furniture now, we got beds for them to sleep in, dishes and stuff, dressers to put their clothes in so it’s a start,” Waldon said.
While it’s a happy ending for the Waldon family, the situation also highlights the desperate need for more affordable housing in metro Atlanta.
The Decatur Housing Authority told Atlanta News First that it’s not unusual to wait five to 10 years for affordable housing. Their wait list is currently 12,000 families and it only operates 400 affordable housing units.
Over in Cobb County, the Marietta Housing Authority told Atlanta News First that it currently has 750 applicants on its waitlist and it operates 164 units.
In Gwinnett County, the Norcross Housing Authority told Atlanta News First that it has 90 individuals on its waitlist, which is now closed. It operates 44 units. Meanwhile, the Buford Housing Authority has 267 applicants on its waitlist and it operates 189 affordable housing units.
Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story.