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Fight for funding for Savannah's homeless continues

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) - Community leaders are holding a forum Wednesday to address issues surrounding Savannah’s homeless population.

This meeting comes on the heels of a tense budget hearing between Chatham County Commissioners and the Director of the Chatham Savannah Homeless Authority.

“Last year, I invited all of you to call me to consider visiting the homeless camps so that you had the opportunity to see how people live,” said Cindy Murphy Kelley, Director of the Chatham Savannah Homeless Authority. “No one took me up on that. So I thought I might consider why you didn't do that and maybe, possibly, you didn't know what to wear when you visited.

Kelley pulled out a pair of boots and placed them on a piece of paper on top of the podium.

"The reason I put them on paper is because they're covered with feces and urine from people living in camps that don't have a place to go to the bathroom," she said.

"I may not have taken you up on your offer because I'm very well aware of what it is and what it looks like, I've visited them many times," said James Holmes, Chatham County Commissioner.

It was a bold and stern stance before Chatham County leaders.

Kelley says for the past four years she's pleaded with the city and county for funding to help with the rising homeless problem in Savannah.

"I was pretty frustrated last week,” she told News 3. "We have major issues with the growth of homelessness and we need to do something and once again nothing is done.”

The authority received $190,000 from the city. Kelley requested $200,000 from the county.

That request was rejected.

"So even the lack of a courtesy call to talk about what they might be doing in the future, it's disheartening," said Kelley.

The homeless authority is funded by HUD, they also receive some state funding.

News 3 will continue to bring you updates on Wednesday’s forum. Tune in at 10/11 for the latest.

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