Welcome to The Chatham County Housing Coalition 

The Chatham County Housing Coalition (CCHC), a group of concerned citizens and community leaders that have identified a need for advocating for housing, funding and policy change in the Savannah, GA area.

About the CCHC

The CCHC is an advocate for housing, funding and policy change. Private, non-profit and public partners and partnerships are the housing delivery vehicles. Left untended, the housing challenges will continue to negatively impact the community as a whole.

 

The CCHC has prepared a “Strategy Summary” and “fact sheet” to help describe why it arrived at its three umbrella strategies, and that include some specific, achievable, action items within each strategy.

 

The CCHC began meeting in November 2018 and has benefitted from the participation and interest of persons from a growing number of organizations including (alphabetically): City of Savannah; Chatham County; Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH); Chatham/Savannah Land Bank Authority; Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity; Colliers International Commercial Real Estate; Community Housing Services Agency; Housing Authority of Savannah; Kole Management; Mercy Housing Southeast; Park Place Outreach; Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce; Thomas & Hutton Engineers; Tourism Leadership Council; United Way; and Vanguard Developers.

Summary of Challenges

While Chatham County’s economy is robust and Savannah’s poverty rate dropped in 2018, incomes of many citizens have not kept pace with housing costs. Many people pay more than 30% of their income for housing and are cost burdened (not able to afford housing) including: 


39,908 (35%) of County residents. 
23,533 (44%) of Savannah residents.


This includes persons and household earning: 
 

Persons less than $35,000/Yr or $17/Hr. 

Households less than $54,000/Yr or $26/Hr.

 

Persons earning $7.25/Hr minimum wage, full time, can only afford about $400 monthly for housing. Minimum wage households would have to work more than two full time jobs to afford modest quality housing including: 

 

92 Hr/Wk to afford a 1-bedroom dwelling. 

106 Hr/Wk to afford a 2-bedroom dwelling. 

143 Hr/Wk to afford a 3-bedroom dwelling.

 

Annual incomes required to rent modest quality housing for average area rents include: 

 

$34,800 to afford a 1-bedroom dwelling. 

$39,840 to afford a 2-bedroom dwelling. 

$54,560 to afford a 3-bedroom dwelling.

 

These difficulties impact a wide range of community residents including the homeless. In 2018 there were:  638 chronically homeless persons—many of whom are veterans.  4,198 persons who were homeless for at least one day.  1,046 homeless SCPSS school children.

Why is this Important

Poor quality and unaffordable housing negatively impacts the community as a whole including: 

 

Businesses seeking to expand or move to the area are concerned when worker housing is in poor condition, unaffordable and far from work. 

 

Less productive workforce and students due to stress, housing and neighborhood conditions. 

 

Blighted properties lead to devaluation and disinvestment that reduces the supply of housing and increases costs to tax payers. 

 

Un-housed persons and abandoned properties result in police, fire, medical, code and other interventions that increase costs to tax payers

 

Households paying for high housing costs become unable to pay for other necessities like food, education, transportation, and health care.

Households paying for high housing costs become unable to pay for other necessities like food, education, transportation, and health care.

Important members of the workforce, such as teachers and fire fighters, may not be able to afford housing nearby certain school districts or fire departments, due to high housing costs.

Three Broad Strategies

The Chatham County Housing Coalition (CCHC), a group of concerned citizens and community leaders, has identified an

 

Urgent Need For 

 

  • More quality housing affordable for those in need, including modest wage workers, fixed income seniors and the homeless. 

  • Community collaboration to identify and implement strategies to solve the community’s housing challenges.

 

What is Affordable Housing?

Housing, in good condition, costing no more than 30% of gross household income to rent or purchase.

 

What is Workforce Housing?

“Affordable Housing” that is occupied by persons/households earning between 60 and 120% of the area’s median income.

 

Three Broad Strategies

Housing costs are outpacing incomes for many Chatham County residents. The Coalition encourages Chatham County area governments, businesses, civic leaders and residents to work together and support three broad strategies.

1. Retain, Improve & Develop Housing

2. Increase Local Housing Investments

3. Adopt Housing Supportive Policies

Strategy 1 Retain, Improve & Develop Housing

 

The CCHC has identified several strategies that can help retain and improve existing housing and develop new housing affordable to those in need. This includes basic shelter, apartments and houses that serve the homeless, renters and homeowners. The CCHC recommends: 

 

Code Enforcement: Enforce housing and property maintenance codes to ensure safe and better quality housing and investment. 

 

Property Acquisition: Identify significant funding to acquire property, including blighted and abandoned property, that can be made available for the renovation and/or development of housing. 

 

Housing Improvement: Support the repair and improvement of existing housing for the homeless, renters, homeowners and buyers. 

 

Housing Development: Support the construction of new housing on small lots and on larger parcels for the homeless, renters and home buyers.

Strategy 2 Increase Local Housing Investment

 

While traditional federal and state government housing funds have declined since 2000, local housing organizations have been able to effectively use remaining funds to leverage private investment and partnerships. However, there simply is not enough federal and state funding to address local housing challenges. Recognizing this and with broad support, in 2012 the City of Savannah established the Savannah Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF)—a local housing fund that leverages about $9 for every $1 invested in the SAHF by the City, banks, employers, non-profits and individual donors. The CCHC recommends: 

 

Local Housing Fund: Increase local government investments in the SAHF and/or similar funds to at least $1 million annually to help leverage at least $9 million annually in additional funding for housing.

New Tiny Homes for homeless veterans

Volunteer repairs home of elderly homeowner

Strategy 3

Adopt Housing Supportive Policies

 

In addition to investing local financial resources to leverage private resources for needed housing, Chatham County area governments can also adopt policies that support housing retention, improvement and development. The CCHC recommends: 

 

Multi Jurisdiction Participation: The need for substantially more quality affordable housing should be a countywide goal that can benefit from the collective participation of all Chatham County area governments and associated organizations. 

 

Legislative Action: Investigate and adopt legislation and polices that generate new incentives and revenue to retain, improve and develop housing affordable to those in need. 

 

Zoning & Development: Support zoning and development requirements that help encourage the retention, improvement and development of housing by, in part, lowering associated costs.

Purchase opportunities for modest wage workers

CCHC Logo.jpg

Contact Information:

Email: Kylie Carrico, Administrator of CCHC at kylie@parkplaceyes.org 

Call: (270) 804-6767

Savannah, Georgia

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