Nearly 4,000 people in Chatham county are homeless.
That number has stayed consistent for the past decade, now the Chatham Savannah Homeless Authority has a new plan to fight it. One major new approach to combating homelessness in the is using a housing first policy.
Basically providing shelter first then focusing on services.
This differs from the current policy. It’s also how the authority plans to provide this housing that sets this plan apart from anything done before it.
“We are going to step out and build small houses for our chronic homeless persons starting with our veterans,” says authority Executive Director Cindy Kelly.
It’s the tiny house project. A part of a housing first approach to preventing homelessness, something that’s a new concept to many groups in town.
“We have not tried that here in Savannah, until we see or see what the original plans are than that lends itself we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” says Linda James at the Savannah Salvation Army.
Adopting a housing first policy is the opposite of what the homeless authority uses now, a service or needs first policy.
The plan also addresses reducing evictions.
“We have situations where a mom and three children will be evicted for two hundred and fifty dollars in back rent and spend months in the shelter system,” says Kelly.
The local Salvation Army provide funding to keep utilities running for tenants facing possible evictions. Nonetheless, sometimes getting that funding takes time some tenants don’t have.
“People lose income, lose jobs, who are on low income and sometimes can’t make ends meet,” says James.
Kelly says right now is really the funding phase. She adds that the authority is looking to have a model tiny house on display within a month, but the first project won’t break ground until next spring.
You may have issues trying to access the plan on the CSHA webpage, you can access the raw PDF of the plan by following this link here.