Savannah City Council approves affordable housing projects

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:51 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thursday night, Savannah City Council members unanimously approved several initiatives to tackle homelessness and affordable housing.

The city is going to spend close to $6.5 million to build 38 cottages and 12 residential service buildings on vacant land at Dundee Cottages and the Cove at Dundee.

Some council members say they are concerned over the price tag.

“Chipping away at some of our goals it just alarms me of the cost per unit or the number of units we’re getting for the cost and I just wanna make sure we’re not being cost prohibitive. I would like to see us have more than 50 cottages,” said Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter

City manager Jay Melder says this is one of the main priorities council gave him when he was hired last year and that they got a step closer to achieving that goal tonight.

“It is very expensive and certainly we want to make sure we’re getting the most mileage out of our dollars here and permanent supportive housing and deeply subsidized housing is the most expensive to build into finance”

Another proposal would give $155,000 to the Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority to create a street outreach team.

They would use that money to provide services and transportation for those in need.

“Providing homes for the roofless is the most cost-effective and impactful way to make a difference in the homeless lives,” said Alderman Nick Palumbo.

Council members say they are addressing one of the city’s urgent needs.

“We have an alarming rate of homelessness and the only way that we do this is to commit to doing something...and yes, it might cost some money but we’re trying to save dignity too,” said Alderwoman Linda Wilder Bryan.

The approved units should be ready for move-in by next summer.

Council also approved a $226,000 contract with the Union Mission to start up a day center.