As of Friday, September 23, there were still 11 households that might not have a place to live when Applewood Apartments closes on September 30, according to an organization that helps homeless families in Anderson County.
The closure of the 13-building apartment complex on Hillside Road and Hunter Circle in the Highland View neighborhood was announced in early August.
Andy O’Quinn of Trinity Out-Reach Center of Hope, or TORCH, which is based in Oak Ridge, said he is “extremely proud” of the way the community and its organizations have worked together to help Applewood residents, but there is still work to do.
“At the moment, we are looking for landlords that would be willing to rent by the month to a few people that who receive a disability check and will be getting into income-based housing but need a place to go in the meantime,” O’Quinn said in a Friday status report. “We are also seeking two- and three-bedroom rentals below $550. for our working families. If you think you might have a unit to rent, please e-mail Andy O’Quinn at [email protected].”
O’Quinn said representatives from TORCH; Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC; Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services; United Way; Oak Ridge Schools; and Oak Ridge Housing Authority, or ORHA, worked together to formulate a plan at the end of August.
A survey was sent to all Applewood residents asking if they need help, O’Quinn said. There was also a resource fair for residents at Central Baptist Church.
“I’m happy to report that we found that the majority of Applewood residents had savings or other resources and found other rentals on their own,” O’Quinn said. “Out of 50 tenant households at Applewood when its closure was announced, we identified about 17 households that needed assistance with finding alternative housing, and/or needed financial assistance to avoid becoming homeless until housing was located.”
On Friday, September 23, there were still 11 households that might not have a place to live when Applewood closes at the end of this month, O’Quinn said.
“Several of these households qualify for public housing and section 8, but there are waiting lists,” he said. “ORHA is allowing Applewood residents to have a ‘displaced’ housing preference when applying to public housing, which will shorten their time on the public housing waiting list. Around seven of those we are assisting only receive SSI or disability income. These cases will be one of our biggest challenges. Market-rate housing in the area is simply not affordable to many on SSI or SSDI, so these residents were assisted with applying for public housing. All have been approved; however, even with a preference, the wait could be months. We are currently looking for ways to temporarily house these individuals, some of whom have significant health issues, until an income-based unit becomes available.
“I can say that I am extremely proud of the way the community and our organizations have all joined together to assist the residents of Applewood. The cooperation and communication between the agencies involved has been amazing. Also, the number of calls TORCH has received from members of our community in support of our efforts has been incredibly uplifting as well. While officially the City of Oak Ridge government must maintain silence in matters related to Applewood, the city’s continuing support of agencies such as TORCH and other organizations that assist the less-fortunate show forethought and a commitment to ensuring that services are available for Oak Ridge residents in need today and in the future.
“In spite of our progress, we still have more work to do. At the moment we are looking for landlords that would be willing to rent by the month to a few people that who receive a disability check and will be getting into income-based housing but need a place to go in the meantime. We are also seeking two- and three-bedroom rentals below $550 for our working families. If you think you might have a unit to rent, please e-mail Andy O’Quinn at [email protected].”
More information will be added as it becomes available.