Residents had relocation concerns over Yamacraw Village demolition proposal

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Residents who live in Yamacraw Village first learned about a plan to demolish their home in October of last year.

The overriding concern they had then: where will they live?

The question remains unanswered today, as the Savannah Housing Authority is in the early stages of the process to request permission for demolition.

But many the answers given to residents more than six months ago are more detailed than what’s been shared with the general public.

WTOC Investigates obtained a copy of the questions and answers from those series of meetings through a public information request to the Housing Authority of Savannah.

The first time residents found out about plans to demolish Yamacraw Village was when they received an invitation from the housing authority in late September of 2020. It was personalized to each of the 276 residents and asked each one to attend a meeting on a specific date and time to learn about “first step in the long process of redeveloping the historic Yamacraw Village” and its preparation of “a demolition application” to HUD slated for early 2021.

The housing authority had the first meeting on Oct. 5, with the last on Nov. 5.

The overwhelming concern from residents was how much notice they would receive to move out and where they would go. The answer given was 90 days before relocation begins, and relocation assistance would be “dependent upon you keeping your lease in good standing.”

Residents also asked about the future of the land – to which the housing authority explained it would ask “HUD to keep control of the property” and that “demolition likely to begin in 2022.”

The housing authority also explained, “...our desire is to build a new mixed-finance community on the same parcel of land.”

Ninety-seven residents attended the meetings held in October and November. What’s not known at this time is where the residents will be relocated. The housing authority has said some residents at Yamacraw could receive a Section 8 voucher.

As WTOC Investigates has reported, there is an affordable housing shortage in Savannah and an enormous wait list for the Section 8 voucher program. At last check, there were 8,700 families on the waitlist in Savannah.

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