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College Park senior residents want guarantees when being relocated

“I would like to stay here, but I see it’s getting to the place where I have to make a move,” said Dorothy Thomas, College Park resident.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As residents face the reality of relocating from College Park, they also express their concerns of distrust.

Instead of spending this holiday season with friends and family or just simply enjoying it, the number one thing on residents’ minds at College Park is where am I going to live come January.

With a deadline of January 3rd, residents at College Park must move out.

In 2018, Memphis Housing Authority started the process of switching ownership to Memphis Housing Strategies and BGC. They said in order to renovate the entire property, residents have to temporarily leave.

RELATED: Seniors being forced from homes as Memphis Housing Authority sells public housing to private developers

Linda White’s 91-year-old mother, Dorothy Thomas, has lived at College Park for 18 years.

“I would like to stay here, but I see it’s getting to the place where I have to make a move,” said Thomas.

It is a move that at Tuesday’s relocation meeting, Memphis Housing Authority said could last 90 to 200 days.

“If you all knew this was coming in 2018, why are you doing these last-minute changes? That should have been coming all the way until now,” said one concern person at the meeting.

For White, the fear isn’t temporarily leaving.

“A lot of them are not going to be able to come back. That’s going to be the fear,” said White.

Memphis Housing Authority said they sent notices and held meetings.

“Here it is going on 22. Then, here they come. They started putting these letters in the door,” said White. “You’ve got to read it over and over again to comprehend because you just don’t really know... When you talk about going to the office to ask questions, you have to do an appointment. When do you get the appointment because they keep putting them off, putting them off, and putting them off?”

“Why would they move me from Jefferson Square five months ago here knowing that I’ve got to move again,” asked Eugene Smith, another College Park resident.

Smith just moved in the building this summer and already has to leave.

“I feel like a refugee. I keep moving. I keep moving,” said Smith.

Seniors will get help with moving and housing. Some will receive vouchers.

For many seniors, that is not enough.

“If she comes back, she doesn’t want to come back to another apartment. She wants to come back to the apartment that she had where she felt comfortable and secure,” said White. “There’s no guarantee.”

White believes no guarantee means the runaround.

“They just came here just to hear what the folks said. They’re not taking to heed to what they’re saying. What they’re doing is pacifying them,” said White. “I don’t feel good. Wasn’t nothing accomplished. Wasn’t nothing accomplished.”