SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Salvation Army wants to build transitional housing for the homeless in one local neighborhood, but one Savannah alderwoman is pushing back.
“Why would you take one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Savannah, and plop the homeless shelter right down in the middle of it?” Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier asked in a December Savannah City Council meeting.
At the time, the council postponed a vote on zoning at 2305 Augusta Road for the Center of Hope. It’s a transitional housing project of 56 apartments for families that could accommodate an additional 48 women and 56 men.
“We have some individuals who maybe don’t understand the historic cultural integrity of our community, saying it’s nothing over there, let’s put this shelter on top of these poor people,” Lanier told News 3.
The Salvation Army worked for several years with the Housing Authority of Savannah to settle on the Augusta Road property.
Lanier says the city has also come up with a list of potential alternative sites, including property on the former fairgrounds.
“We want to speak with the stakeholders with the Salvation Army and have a discussion about how we can negotiate a win-win situation to keep this vulnerable, low wealth, marginalized community intact,” the alderwoman said, “moving toward building ourselves up and at the same time servicing the homeless population.”
The discussion is scheduled to continue during the council’s Jan. 28 meeting.
According to the Salvation Army, any new property agreement must be approved at the organization’s state level.