New affordable living apartments bringing some relief during housing crisis

New affordable living apartments bringing some relief during housing crisis

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A follow up to the elderly and disabled residents of the Chatham Apartments being forced to find another place to live.

Our investigates team uncovered earlier this year that the sale of the high-rise Section 8 apartment building further compounded a housing crunch. It has to do with the need for safe and affordable housing.

Last week we reported there are 54 residents still living at the Chatham Apartments, well past their moving deadline of September 30.

Right now, options for them are limited. But there is one place many elderly residents say they are counting on.

We talked with the developer of the Live Oak Landing apartments, which is set to open later this year. He showed us why there is pent up demand for affordable housing.

About a mile east of the aging Chatham Apartments in Historic Savannah is a brand new affordable housing complex.

We’re told it’s where many of the elderly who are still living in the high-rise are expected to move soon.

“We have seventy units coming online the first week of December.”

It will mark the completion of the first phase of the Live Oak Landing apartments off Wheaton Street. It’s geared toward those who are 62 and older.

Something Developer Bill Gross says helps meet a tremendous need in Savannah.

“We have a waiting list of about 200 plus folks that are seeking affordable housing. And affordable housing in Savannah is a precious commodity because housing costs are so expensive," said Gross.

To give you an idea of how expensive:

According to the Chatham County Housing Coalition Fact Sheet, the average fair market rent for a one bedroom apartment is about $870 a month. A one bedroom apartment at Live Oak Landing starts around $500 per month.

That’s what’s considered affordable for someone who earns the wage of a service industry worker at $10 to $12 dollars an hour.

Last year there were more than 8,700 families on a waiting list for affordable housing through the Housing Authority of Savannah.

So how is Savannah meeting that demand? They will soon start construction on three new housing complexes.

Together they will add 339 affordable apartments. Fifty-four of them will be geared toward families in phase II of the Live Oak Landing project.

“It’s just challenging to be able to build units without the tax credit effort advantage that we have. That’s how these affordable housing projects are funded. The state has done a phenomenal job of allocating and helping cities like Savannah bring affordable housing,” said Gross.

Something that makes this project different, developer Bill Gross says he’s partnered with Healthy Savannah.

What that means is, for those who live there, they’ll have an educational resource on site for how to get healthy. That will include activities, healthy cooking and how to shop healthy on a budget that they can afford.

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