SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), there is a shortage of affordable housing available to low-income households in Georgia.
Many of these households’ incomes are below the poverty line, or 30 percent of their area median income, and are spending more than half of their income on housing.
The coalition reports cost-burdened households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like food and insurance to pay rent.
“If I wake up in the morning and I’m not in a secure situation as far as housing is concerned, the least that’s on my mind for that day is ‘do I need to go to the doctor for a visit?’ Or something of that nature. So our philosophy is to remove the barriers that these individuals have to deal with on a daily basis,” CareSource Georgia President Bobby Jones said.
NLIHC found the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of families who are housing insecure. A recent study shows many families are now facing evictions, delayed rent payments and unexpected utility payments and home repairs.
CareSource, a nonprofit healthcare company, announced it is committing $3.5 million in investments to affordable housing projects in Atlanta and Savannah.
“CareSource understands the impact that safe and affordable housing has on the health of our members,” Jones said.
“Our direct investment in affordable housing will provide financial resources to developers who are working to create housing options for low-income individuals. Our goal with this investment is to assist in producing additional opportunities for our members and fellow Georgians for affordable housing,” he added.
The donation is part of the $50 million investment CareSource is making to housing projects across the U.S., focusing on underserved communities with high rates of poverty.
“I grew up with the concept that your salary should be sufficient to cover your housing,” Jones said. “That no longer exists if you think in terms of the cost of living in secure, safe housing at this point.”
Jones says his goal is to create housing that is more lasting than what already exists in the the area.
“We have to do better as a country,” Jones said. “Looking at programs such as this will improve the situation of all citizens of the country. As opposed to looking at this population of people who have these challenges and ignoring them.”