published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Management of Alton Park housing sites restricts payment types

Money orders no longer accepted

Residents of the Villages at Alton Park no longer can pay rent with money orders.
Residents of the Villages at Alton Park no longer can pay rent with money orders.
Photo by Tim Barber.
  • photo
    Villages at Alton Park

The management of Villages at Alton Park has said that residents who previously paid rent with money orders now must use moneygrams.

“It’s just a mess,” said Rosemary Porter, president of the Villages at Alton Park Neighborhood Watch.

The change means residents must pay higher fees to get a moneygram rather than a money order.

Instead of walking across 38th Street to purchase a money order at the local branch of Church Koinonia Federal Credit Union, as they did in the past, Alton Park residents now must travel four miles to the closest Walmart in Lookout Valley for the least expensive moneygram.

Residents can purchase a moneygram at CVS on Tennessee Avenue, only a mile away from the Villages, but the fee there is up to $5, which is $1.65 more than the $3.35 charged at Walmart.

Residents formerly could pay 75 cents for a money order at the Church Koinonia Credit Union, Porter said.

And because the Bethlehem Center was across the street from the Villages at Alton Park, residents didn’t have a problem with transportation, she said. Several residents at the Villages don’t have cars, she said.

But Pennrose property officials argue that paying with a moneygram is more convenient because, unlike a paper money order, a moneygram is an electronic payment and decreases paperwork for the property manager.

And because the payment is electronic, a resident may purchase and send a moneygram anytime that Walmart, CVS or other stores make them available, instead of being restricted to paying rent only during Pennrose Property management hours.

“Residents can pay at any time that, for example, Walmart is open,” said Rachel Summers, spokeswoman for Pennrose Properties.

To inform residents of the change, Pennrose sent the following notice in June:

“In our continuing efforts to provide the most convenient services for our residents, we are improving the way we collect your rent,” said the letter signed Pennrose Management Co. “As of July 1, 2011, we are no longer accepting money orders in your community office.”

“[The decision to pay by moneygram] is definitely not for the residents’ convenience,” Porter said. “It’s like paying someone to pay my rent.”

Porter also noted that Pennrose had no discussion with residents before changing the policy.

“Maybe they should have had a meeting with all of the residents first to let us know what was going to take place and try to prepare people for it,” said Porter.

The change was discussed with residents at June’s monthly resident meeting, Summers said

Residents also can pay online with a credit card, but not all residents have a computer, Porter said.

There also is a convenience fee for paying with a credit card online, according to Pennrose.

Contact Yolanda Putman at or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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fedup350 said...

We wouldnt want to inconvenience those subsidized housing residents would we? Why not sending them an extra check to cover the cost of getting those money grams? I thought you had to have a job to get into the Villages of Alton park. If so, how are they getting to work if they cant get to a store? Just saying.....

July 19, 2011 at 5:09 p.m.
01centare said...

fedup350 why are you so bitter against people living in subsidized housing? With the exception of retirees who live at Alton Park Village, the people do have jobs. They just may earn less than you or I likely earn. As for how they are able to get to work? Well, Alton Park is right on a busline. Maybe they use the bus to get back and forth to work, but it's not always convenient and can be expensive having to catch a bus just to buy a moneygram. Usually people like you who are so bitter against the poor and poor working class at one time received somed kind of government assistance yourselves. Then you gain a little footing and, as the old folks would say, start to smell yourself. Either you've received some kind of public assistance at some tim ein your life or you applied and was turned down for some reason. Now you're angry and hating. So sad.

July 19, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.
rolando said...

So why don't they stop on their way to or from work, 1Cent? Or wherever they cash their paycheck?

Being bitter toward the poor has nothing to do with it. "The poor we will always have with us."
The forced redistribution of wealth under threat of law is the issue.

July 19, 2011 at 9:38 p.m.
dasmarian said...

Blockquote The forced redistribution of wealth under threat of law is the issue.

Well said.

I believe a checking account is free at many banks with no balance requirement. Perhaps someone might educate the working poor that they could save both a trip on the bus and $3.00 by opening one at their convenience.

Moneygrams, rent-to-own, payday loans, pawn shops, lottery -- they all feed on the uneducated poor. It's very expensive to be ignorant.

July 19, 2011 at 10:09 p.m.
xyzyra said...

rolando, have you ever ridden a bus? Do you think a bus will stop long enough and wait for you while you go into a store to purchase a moneygram?

What redistribution of wealth? Those people hold down jobs too. Some are holding down more than one job. Some are likely low-waged jobs. Of course, you don't mind your taxes being spent to wage wars on countries that were never a threat to US? Or pay billions upon billions to countries that don't like US?

July 19, 2011 at 10:10 p.m.
fedup350 said...

01centare, it is not bitterness I feel. It is aggravation and digust that I feel. Most of the people living in subsidized housing have had thier hands out for "help" for years and thier children before them. Then they whine because they are inconvenienced.

As for your ignorant theory that I am bitter because I may have been turned down for assitance? Nothing could be further from the truth. I have NEVER asked for welfare, ebt cards, subsidized housing or any govt cheese. I have worked two and three jobs to pay my bills and feed my family. Just like the "working poor" should be doing. You say they are getting thier footing? Generations of them have lived in subsidized housing. As for you I think that you and your family are living off the taxpayers backs and that is why you are so sensitive about the subject. How about this..instead of making excuses for people how about holding them to a higher standerd so they can make something of themselves. You are the classic "perpetual victim". It is everyones fault but your own that you are not man evough to take care of your family. I would be ashamed to take anything that I didnt work for! You are the sad one.....

July 20, 2011 at 3:42 p.m.
hjussila27 said...

Don’t you hate it when the management only thinks about their own convenience and not the residents’? The time and money wasted due to this change is multiplied by the number of residents that have to do so. Shame on the management.

Harri -

February 23, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.
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