Altanta Low Income Issues Examiner

How to plan your move – visit first

October 14, 10:11 PMAltanta Low Income Issues ExaminerDannis Cole

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View south on Peachtree St shows Amtrak Station in Brookwood. Photo by Dannis Cole.

If you want to move to Atlanta, and you are low-income, it takes a lot of planning. Even more if you need handicapped-accessible housing. You should plan a trip to Atlanta first, to apartment-hunt.

You can find low-income apartments, and low-income house-buying info on http://www.hud.gov; use the links to the left. You may search by state, and by city. Since the Olympics, low-income housing is much harder to get.

 

There are only a third of the units that were present before the Olympics. Most low-income housing of any kind has a long waiting list. Apply early, and be ready to move fast when your name comes up. Some mixed-income housing only takes applications on a certain day of the month, or only in certain months.

If you do not have a car, check out MARTA’s Web site to see what your bus situation will be. Keep in mind that some buses run later or more often than others. If you are dependent on MARTA to get to work, plan well. Don’t choose work in the suburbs. if you can help it. Bus service gets better the closer to town you are, or the closer to the MARTA train stations you are. A shorter commute gives you a little extra insurance that Atlanta traffic will not lose you a job! Whether or not you own a car, traffic in Atlanta is very bad, and can add a lot to your commute time. Make sure you leave plenty of slack time in your schedule in case the bus is late.

 

MARTA drivers do their best, and I find most of them to be very helpful and polite. Be sure and ask the driver to help you find your location, even if you are familiar with Atlanta; if you are away for a month, streets might be rerouted around construction or bus routes can change. Let MARTA know that you are coming, and ask for help. All transit companies want to know where their patrons are located. They know where most of the patrons are. Where bus riders are, that’s where you should be, to get the most out of your bus pass. Email or call MARTA and pretend you are taking a bus ride. On one call you can get about three times per transfer.

 

Use MARTA when you come to Atlanta to apartment-hunt. If you have an appointment, leave a lot of extra time, if you’ve never taken MARTA there. Give a time at least an hour or two before your appointment, and take the earliest of the times. That way, if you miss a stop or a bus, it won’t ruin your plans. When planning to ride MARTA, get organized. Start with the time you want to get there, and allow an hour. Work your way backwards through the trip to where you are leaving from. Be at the stop EARLY, at least 15 minutes. Don’t give up on the bus until 30 mins have passed. I can’t tell you how many buses we missed because we got to the stop as it pulled away. The bus didn’t leave early; we took too long to get there. Or, our watches had the wrong time. If you carry a cellphone, use the time on it. If not, set your watch to the time the bus driver has.

 

Try to stay with a friend, or share a motel room with someone else who is coming to Atlanta. Or, try to get a deal on one of the travel sites. Otherwise, usually Motel 6, Super 8, and Days Inn are cheaper, but call for rates. Stay in the suburbs if you have bus service for a cheaper stay. Prices on motels can vary according to what convention’s in town, time of year, etc. Plan visits during the week, on weekends, and at different times of day to the neighborhood that interests you. A neighborhood can be quiet during the day and very noisy on Saturday night.

For more info: http://www.unitedway.org has resources for low-income people, by area. You can also call your nearest United Way, but call more than once. Different volunteers man the phones, and sometimes know different sources of help.

I am now the Atlanta Low-Income Examiner for Examiner.com; stay tuned for more articles. Let me know what you think!

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