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Neighbors in Covington trying to get answers after they are told to leave their homes

Posted at 7:22 PM, Oct 07, 2021

COVINGTON — Dozens of neighbors in Covington attended a meeting Thursday to try to get answers after finding out they will have to leave their homes.

Officials with the federal government agreed that the City Heights public housing complex is so outdated that it is beyond saving.

Housing Authority staff met with the neighbors in the City Heights community hall. Staff explained the timeline to move out and how the housing authority plans to help neighbors find a new place to live.

"It really is scary to someone who wants stabilization," said Cathy McCants, who lives in City Heights.

Neighbors were able to meet face-to-face with staff after finding out Monday the apartments are being shut down.

"Knowing what's going on with the selling of the property's a problem for me," president of City Heights Community Council Penny Blevins said.

Right now, about 750 people currently live at City Heights and all of them will need to find a new place to call home.

The housing authority plans to resettle senior citizens first with a goal of helping 10 families each month. Officials warn progress could take up to three years to finish.

"We're probably looking at December of this year to February of next year before we can actually begin relocating someone. So it's not going to be tomorrow overnight," Executive Director of Housing Authority of Covington Steve Arlinghaus said.

The city is applying for special tenant protection vouchers, which would allow people in City Heights to move outside of Kenton County.

Neighbors are concerned about changing schools for their kids and upset they have not been involved more closely in the process.

"I really hate the fact that we have to get up and go so quick," McCants said.

The thought of moving is also causing emotional problems for McCants, "A lot of anxiety. That's why I'm sweating. A lot of anxiety, because once again I don't want to have my son placed somewhere where we can't be safe."

For Blevins, she is upset the community council was not involved in the decision-making process.

"We do have to have something better. These buildings should have been condemned and they do. But we need to be at the table. There's no way we shouldn't have been at the table in any of these decisions," Blevins said.

Staff at the housing authority tell us it will be at least a few months before those special vouchers are approved, plus some additional time before residents will be able to use them.

They are setting up an office in the complex to be able to work more closely with neighbors.

In addition, they are holding two more informational meetings on Oct. 11.