Savannah City Council hosts mobile workshop highlighting local housing initiatives

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The City of Savannah hosted a mobile workshop Tuesday to highlight new, affordable housing options under the Affordable Housing Fund.

Mayor Van Johnson along with other city officials gathered to tour factory built homes currently being installed on Pennsylvania Avenue. The plan is to build more than 11 houses over the course of the year, that will serve as housing options under the Affordable Housing Fund.

“So many times people hear affordable housing and think oh gosh, this is the poorest of the people in our community or they have some picture of what affordable housing is and isn’t necessarily accurate,” said Martin Fretty, Director of the city of Savannah’s Housing and Neighborhood Services.

Installing factory built homes and having them transported allows the homes to stay in much better condition as opposed to building them from the ground.

“We know the largest cost out there for every Savannian is your housing cost, second is transportation and transit, so we want to get those costs down so we can attack this poverty problem that we have in the city. One piece at a time, one house at a time, we have to battle this,” said Nick Palumbo, District 4 Alderman.

The city is able to create these affordable housing options by utilizing over $70 Million in tax credit money.

“When they get awarded credits they sell it to businesses, the businesses pay for the credits, and that money goes into the construction of the houses that doesn’t need to be paid, so that’s how come there rent can be as low as two to three hundred dollars a month,” explained Fretty.

The Housing Savannah task force made up of 40 members, and has spent months researching for an updated plan. The task force has a list of its findings below:

  • Housing costs in Savannah have outpaced incomes by a rate of 2 to 1 over the past 30 years, and 21,400 or 40 percent of Savannah households cannot afford quality housing. 
  • This means multiple-earner households making less than $50,000 annually, or $24 an hour full-time, are going to have a difficult time affording quality housing.
  • Single-earner households making less than $35,000 annually, or $17 an hour full-time, are in the same boat.
  • A single-earner household making $7.25 an hour minimum wage would have to work two and a half full-time jobs to afford a quality two-bedroom apartment.

Those interested in learning more about the five strategies and 40 action items can take the survey.

To learn more about the Affordable Housing Fund and to see if you apply, you can click here.

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