SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - After looking at the numbers from their annual count of homeless people in Chatham County, the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless determined there are around 285 veterans included in that population.
"It's a painful realization that individuals who've served, and who have given time and effort and in some cases risked their lives on behalf of our freedoms and our country, to then be in the position of being homeless and without help," said Union Mission, Inc. Executive Director Steve Allison.
Recognizing a need for affordable and safe housing for those who have sacrificed for our freedoms, the authority began working on a plan two years ago to build a tiny house development. Two sites were previously selected for the new community, but ultimately shut down because of push-back from surrounding residents.
But recently, the Authority for the Homeless found and closed on property off Wheaton Street for a little over $200,000, that's actually at the site of an existing homeless camp.
"I do think that once we are successful moving this project forward, I am really hopeful that the community will open up and look at the issue of housing, The issue of size of housing, and how we can meet the need in a cost-effective way that is permanent housing," said Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless Executive Director Cindy Murphy Kelley. "One of the things that became crystal clear is that we have inadequate housing for our general population, and certainly for our homeless population. And we know that veterans have served our country, and they deserve housing."
A model home has already been built and Kelley says the goal will be to make the homes affordable for the tenant and low-cost to build.
"Many of our homeless residents can't sustain larger housing, or are simply not interested in living in larger housing," said Murphy Kelley.
The authority is working with the city on the design of the homes and has a meeting with the Metropolitan Planning Commission next month.