Fight continues to save Memphis' only public housing complex - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fight continues to save Memphis' only public housing complex

(WMC-TV) - The push continues to keep Memphis residents from being forced out of their homes in the city's only public housing complex.

Improve don't remove. That is the rallying cry for a group of residents trying to save Foote Homes.

"We had a very productive and fruitful meeting," said Gil Carter, Vance Avenue Collaborative about a meeting the group had with the mayor about the future of Foote Homes.

Resident Shelia Williams once lived at Cleaborn Homes. Now, the single mother faces another re-location.

"Affordable public housing is a stepping stone," she said. "My hope is that we keep Vance Avenue and keep that stepping stone for other single mothers."

The collaborative is pitching The People's Choice Plan which would save Foote Homes, costing a third of the price while still improving the neighborhood.

"Yes we want the help, but we want it this way. We need this. Who better to know what they need in their community than the people that are living there," said Nicole Cleaborn, Vance Avenue Collaborative.

"You have families that have been there for generations. And you know, it's home. We don't wanna leave our homes," agreed James Smith.

"Those concerns will be taken seriously," said Mayor A C Wharton, who says he has heard from all sides of the issues but remains not-committal based on federal funding concerns. "Even the best laid plans of mice and men might well have to be re-done. This is a very fluid process right now."

The collaborative says the final decision will impact far more than just Foote Homes.

"We can re-build the city infrastructure from the inside out rather than pushing people to the fringes of society," said Rev. Kenneth Whalum, Vance Avenue Collaborative.

"Cleaborn Homes. Dixie Homes. Hurt Village. Lemoyne Gardens. And now Foote Homes. The last public housing complex in the city. It doesn't have to end here," said Carter.

The mayor did not put a timetable on when this whole thing will be settled. However, the Vance Avenue Collaborative expects to meet again within 30 days.

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