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I am an educated black single mother. I have 3 girls and we live in MA but I have been seriously looking into moving to ATL. I am originally from Bermuda (we are all US citizens) and I have lived in MA for 8 years. I can't say that I'm attached to this place. I’d like to move to a rather nice area in Atlanta or just outside of the city. I’d also like to find a nice apartment complex that would help us feel like we are in a community rather than just here on our own… ANY SUGGESTIONS??
I'm tired of me my children being the only brown people at school, in the park, at the grocery store and basically everywhere. I'm tired of being the minority. I'm sick of the ridiculous prices and feel like I will never get ahead here. I want to own my own business and my house. I want my girls to feel as if they fit in and belong and aren’t just the black girl in the picture. I have other reasons that I won’t get into on here but I’m defiantly looking to move and Raleigh and Atlanta are my first picks.
I don’t have a degree but I have 10 years solid work experience and excellent references. I have small criminal past but it has never caused me to loose anything. I also have a section 8 voucher. Without it we would be homeless. I have had my voucher for almost 2 years now and I feel lucky to have one. I work full time but I have help with a certain agency out here that gives me voucher for daycare and after school programs. IS ANY OF THIS AVAILABLE IN ATLANTA? AND HOW MUCH IS A SECTION 8 VOUCHER FROWNED UPON? WHAT IS THE JOB MARKET LIKE? ARE PEOPLE FRIENDLY? IS THE BLACK COMMUNITY SUPPORTIVE OF EACH OTHER? WHAT IS A GOOD CITY, COUNTY, AND SUBURB TO LIVE IN? IS THE SCHOOL SYSTEM GOOD BAD OR HORRIBLE? VILOENCE?
I have read that Atlanta is number 1 on the list of Top 10 Cities for African Americans so it can’t be all that bad. I’ve been reading for hours and bad things keep popping out at me about this city I thought and heard is so great. SOMEBODY GIVE ME THE SKINNY ON ATL??
Last edited by Georgia; 07-04-2008 at 06:13 AM..
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I hate to sound stereotypical, but this post is a duplicate of probably 20 others here in the past few months. It seems that every black single mom in the country is reading the same article about Atlanta being the mecca for blacks, and they all want to know how far their section 8 voucher will get them here. Anyway, here's some answers to your questions:
- Is section 8 frowned upon here? Some people definitely see it as another government handout- especially when the recipients stay on the program for years and years. Others see no issue with it. In general, you're not going to get into the better areas/school districts though unless you've got enough money to make up a substantial difference in the rent.
- Are blacks supportive of each other? Probably no more or less than anyplace else.
- How's the job market? That depends on your field of work. You mention that you've got 10 years of experience, but you don't say what type of experience. Bear in mind that service/support roles will pay much less here than in MA, and there's plenty of people looking to fill them, so be prepared.
- Are there daycare/aftercare assistance programs? Not that I'm aware of. While GA has the Section 8 vouchers, they're not really big on other "assistance" programs, so I'd do some serious research on that before you make the move.
- Are the people friendly? Sure, there's friendly people, and unfriendly people. Overall, probably about the same as anyplace else.
- What are good areas to live? How are the schools? Violence? There's tons of great places to live with great schools and low crime, but the question of affordability comes to mind. If you give us an idea of what kind of work you do, what kind of rent you'd expect to pay, etc., you'll probably get better info.
Atlanta probably has among the largest numbers of highly educated wealthy black professionals in the country and there is a higher percentage of black than white people in the metro. Also, sadly most of the poverty that aren't hispanics are black, so some black people in the metro are wealthy, and some are in extreme poverty. The Cascade Rd and Camp Creek Parkway areas outside the perimeter (Fulton County) are wealthy and almost all black but are mostly single family homes. Smyrna and Marietta in Cobb County are half black and you'll find some nice apartments there, and they are near Cumberland. In my neighborhood, which are all high-income families, there are about equal numbers of white, black, and asians. Two homes on my cul-de-sac are owned by black people. The schools in Cobb County are amongst the best in the metro, but Smyrna is only slightly above average. Marietta has some that are better.
I don't think black professionals are any more supportive of each other than whites except in the entertainment industry and government.
I don't know about section 8 vouchers. My only recommendation is don't choose an area that you'll be putting your kids at a disadvantage.
Job-wise, I'd do a job search before you move here. You want to live within 10-15 miles where you work. So if you have an area in mind, you want to make sure you can find jobs on the same side of the metro. The major areas for employment are downtown, midtown, the airport, Buckhead, Dunwoody/Sandy Springs all in Fulton County, and Cumberland in Cobb County. Some smaller employment areas for professionals are Decatur, Norcross, Marietta, Roswell/Alpharetta, Canton and Kenessaw.
With the costs of homes currently taking a break from increasing due to the national market, I'd take advantage of it and aim to buy a place within some months of when you arrive. In metro Atlanta, you won't find as good schools, on average, as you do in Boston.
Last edited by netdragon; 07-04-2008 at 07:20 AM..
I hate to sound stereotypical, but this post is a duplicate of probably 20 others here in the past few months. It seems that every black single mom in the country is reading the same article about Atlanta being the mecca for blacks, and they all want to know how far their section 8 voucher will get them here.
I'm sure you'll catch hell for that comment Bob, but you are entirely correct.
I started reading the orginal post and thought, "Oh, ok, a single black woman with several kids, on Section 8, who's from Bermuda/Haiti/Jamaica (pick one) with no college degree and a "background", who is moving to Atlanta"... well, DUH - we've just described 10,000 other posters in the last two years.
always.alyssa, I'm going to be completely and totally brutally honest with you... Are you homeless where you are now? While your kids are a minority in their schools, are their schools BAD? Are your kids learning in these schools?
I understand what it is to be a minority... I moved to Atlanta in 1984 and am a white male who moved from a predominately white area, who lived in a predominately black area once here, and even had a job where I sat on a floor with 120 other workers, and I was the ONLY white person. Not having a car at the time, most of my entertainment was where MARTA rail (subway) would take me, which was the city center which was (and in some area still is) predominately black. Still, that alone did not make me want to leave the city although yes, it certainly was uncomfortable. I had the option of any number of suburbs to move to here to find my nitch. You're saying that where you are in Mass, there are NO other black people, and that you require being in a predominately black area to feel comfortable? You did move from an Island Nation which after all is nearly all black - there are FEW places in the U.S. that are going to match that.
In terms of finances - Atlanta is deemed as a very large, very professional, very white collar city. Now, there are certainly a lot of folks who can open their own shops here, but I'm going to tell you, someone with no college degree or experience, who is on public assistance, with a record, and who is a single parent with multiple kids is NOT exactly on the fast track in this city for "making it". Atlanta isn't New York, but it's most definately a "Now! Now! Now!" type of city, where they even check your credit report just to get a job. There are already a very large number of people here who are in your exact same life position right now, so you will be competing with those who want the same goals, for any opportunity that comes along.
If you had family here to help you the story would be different, but being alone and winging it with all you mention - It's my opinion that Atlanta would be a disappointment and burn you out. I can assure you that the large successful wealthy black population here (mostly hidden in suburban pockets) would no more welcome someone in your position moving in than if you went to one of the wealthy white suburbs, and those same groups will not be in line to hold out helping hands.
I'm not trying to make Atlanta sound like the valley of the damned or anything, or that everyone here is an ass when it comes to those who are below the poverty line. I'm just saying that it's a HIGHLY overrated city when it comes to the impression that many in your position get who feel that moving here will help solve their problems. They may even get worse. You're just text on a screen to us and we don't know you, but there may be other more suited options for you if you really feel you must leave where you are now. Maybe there is a free relocation service in your area, or public service agency where you can discuss this with someone face-to-face to see what's out there. Raleigh MIGHT be it too, or Birmingham, or even Savannah. This isn't a pair of shoes you can take back if you get one that fits weird - make sure you think it out and don't move somewhere simply based on TV hype or rumors you read on the web.
Where in MA are you from? City or smaller area?
I know nothing about the Section 8 voucher but Atlanta isn't as cheap as people think it is. This can be an expensive city, especially with gas prices climbing and a lack of public transport. I've lived in Chicago and NYC, yes they are more expensive cities but Atlanta isn't so far behind them. It sounds like you'll need a place that doesn't cost much money, not sure if this is it. Schools can be bad here (sorry but it's true) and from what I've seen there are not many 'good' schools in areas where there are apartments. As far as violence, etc. it is a city so there is crime in areas. I haven't expereienced any personally. People are friendly here, and most everyone is from someplace else.
I hate to say this, but unless there's more info we're not aware of such as that you have $150k savings, I'd agree you're probably better off where you are if you're only complaint about where you are is that you're a minority. What's most important is your children and they will have more opportunity with the kind of education people can get around Boston. Most of the people who have white collar jobs in Atlanta are college educated and it's going to be tough to get by here unless you've saved up a lot of money and can put a significant down payment on a smaller home in an area with good schools.
The dichotomy is that the kind of areas you'd probably be best off in metro Atlanta are primarily white and on the very edge of the metro, such as Powder Springs, Kenessaw and Cummings, where you can live affordably and also get a good education for your children. In the inner metro, you're probably not going to be in a very good situation.
There's definitely other areas in the country that have more affordable housing and are on the up-and-up such as Jacksonville and Dallas. Atlanta is very expensive for areas around a lot of jobs.
If you didn't have kids, I'd say something different, but with kids you'd be taking a big risk.
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