SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- Chatham County is set to receive millions in grant money from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Funds totaling about $3.2 million will be divided throughout the county to help support low-income families and the homeless.
“We are many, many years behind in adequate housing policy,” said Cindy Murphy-Kelley, Executive Director of Savannah’s Homeless Authority.
The county’s homeless population is growing and low-income families have few housing options they can afford.
“There are a number of best practices that other communities across the country are doing to make sure that every time housing is built affordable housing is built into that,” said Murphy-Kelley.
As the director of Savannah’s homeless authority, Murphy-Kelley faces the housing crisis every day and every year she applies for the HUD grant hoping to keep the issues at bay.
“The most important thing for people to know is that $3.2 million sounds like a really big amount of money every year,” said Murphy-Kelley. “Well, 84% is specific to housing subsidy.”
That means a majority of the federal funding will go to keeping formerly homeless people in their current housing.
This issue took the center stage back in June when an Atlanta based company bought Chatham apartments, one of Savannah’s largest housing properties for elderly and subsidized living tenants.
“It is a really significant issue that we lost those affordable housing units we need probably thousands of units in the $200 to $300 a month area,” said Murphy-Kelley. “We just don’t have it.”
Kelley said the loss will most likely impact homeless numbers over time. She’s hoping new council members like Alderman Nick Palumbo will prioritize the problem.
“We’ve got to find ways to build more and get a little more comfortable living closer together because we aren’t growing anymore land right now,” said Palumbo, District 4. “We’ve got to be comfortable where we are at as a city and a coastal city.”
That money will be split between eight organizations throughout the county, one of them being Union Mission that helps take care of the homeless and provide them with mental health resources.