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$1.5 Million Housing Development To Go Up In East Macon | News

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$1.5 Million Housing Development To Go Up In East Macon

Some new buildings will soon go up in east Macon to help more homeless people with disabilities.

They will be an extension of housing developments off Emery highway, the so-called First and Second Neighborhoods.

Georgia Behavioral Health Services put up the first homes in 2010 to house River Edge Behavioral Center clients who battle addiction, homelessness, and other problems.

18 individuals and families now live in First Neighborhood, including 64-year-old Bennie Lee Colbert. The Macon native was homeless for 3 years. He says he battled depression, a crack cocaine addiction and bipolar disorder.

After treatment from River Edge, he's been clean for more than 2 years, and he says having a home helps motivate him to stay on track.

"I'm just so happy that I qualified to be the one in housing, and passed. Now what I have to do is stay in class," he said with a chuckle.

The hope is the new buildings, which will form Third Neighborhood, will garner more successes like Colbert's, but they also serve to remove blight from the area.

"The goal is to start at one point and work your way down the neighborhood to really revitalize it," said Cass Hatcher, Director of Facilities and Housing Development for Georgia Behavioral Health Services.

He says they tore down three abandoned and dilapidated structures on Bowman and Woolfolk streets to make room for the brick duplexes of Third Neighborhood.

That's why the project qualified for $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization program, which targets areas with high levels of foreclosure, abandoned houses, and blight.

Ten units will open up in Second Neighborhood in October, after construction is completed. Hatcher says Third Neighborhood will have ten more units ready by next summer.


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