SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — In the Savannah area rents stand at about $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment and nearly $1,400 for a two-bedroom. That has prompted many people to seek a path to homeownership.
People are crying out about the amount of rent and the need to own their homes.
Rep. Carl Gilliard is teaming up with the City of Savannah and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to offer a path to homeownership. On Thursday, nearly 100 people showed up to an event to learn more.
“It’s better to own, this is a great opportunity to be here today to try to get that done,” Anita Kelly said.
It’s all part of the “Come Get Your Keys” housing fair. Gilliard said the need for housing assistance has never been this great.
“I’ve never seen a turnout like this,” Gilliard said. “When we did the Georgia Dream program we had to do so many sessions, but never where you have people wrapped around the building.”
Attendees were given the opportunity to apply for state and local homeownership programs, namely through the Georgia Dream program and the City of Savannah Dreammaker Home Purchase Assistance program.
“With the price of housing right now and people’s income, we provide the gap financing that they need, so it can be used for gap financing, for closing costs and down payment,” said Iris Bryant, Lending Coordinator with the City of Savannah.
People were able to qualify for assistance in minutes at the event. Over the years, 244 people have become homeowners through this initiative but now Gilliard said it’s time to put legislation in place to protect renters and create more affordable options.
“What’s happening in Savannah now, people are just being, 30 days, you gotta get out of dodge. That’s not right,” Gilliard said.
As rent in Savannah goes up families are being pushed out of their homes.
“The current law was illustrated in 1863. It has not been updated since 1962. It gives the realtor at least a 30-day minimum kind of like a gentleman’s agreement with nothing permanent,” Gillard said.
Gilliard wants that to change.
“If you have to have someone leave because you’re going to raise the rent, there has to be a protocol.”
Gilliard said on Thursday morning they received 65 more applications ahead of the event.
In response to demand, there will be two more sessions offered on Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Empowerment Center in Garden City.