SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The number of homeless persons is on the rise in Chatham County.
According to the Chatham Savannah Authority of the Homeless, there are currently 4,500 people without a home in the county, including the city of Savannah.
“The reason that the homeless numbers are growing,” CSAH Executive Director Cindy Murphy Kelley said, “is because we have an inadequate amount of affordable housing.”
Kelley said as the number of homeless continues to rise, especially among women and children, the problem of affordable housing, either through government assistance or through private acquiring will continue to grow more scarce.
Molly Philpot and her husband, Chris, have been living in a tent community on the outskirts of downtown Savannah for two years. While they continue to work and seek employment, they chose to save rather than pay rent or hotel bills.
“We don’t really want Uncle Sam to hold our hands. There’s a lot of pride involved too,” she said. She says she has a negative view of public housing due to long waiting lists and a shortage of homes
Kelley says the problem of increasing number of people falling into poverty and into the streets is an issue that cannot be ignored any longer.
“We are calling on our community to come together to create a master plan for the county with respect to affordable housing,” Kelley said.
She says she has no real issue with how the City of Savannah has been approaching and helping CSAH with improving housing but asks Chatham County to step up its involvement.
“We are the Chatham Authority for the Homeless and we do need them to take a leadership role,” Kelley said.
In the midst of planning, Philpot asks city leaders not to forget the humanity in the midst of statistics and budget planning.
“We’re not just a piece of paper that you write our names down on.We actually are human beings. We have families. We have ambitions and we’re trying to find work.”
WSAV reached out to Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott for his reaction and forward plan for addressing improving homelessness.He has yet to respond but WSAV will continue to work on this story and issue going forward. He has yet to respond but WSAV will continue to work on this story and issue going forward.
For more information on the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH), contact Cindy Murphy, Executive Director at (912) 644-7945.