‘How is it going to function?’: Savannah residents want more information about proposed affordable housing on MLK Boulevard

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 5:36 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A day center with 16 apartments and wrap around support services could be coming to the lot on 916 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, according to a proposal by GM Shay Architects submitted to the Metropolitan Planning Committee.

As of now, there isn’t an organization listed to run the shelter once it’s up and running.

The proposal says the shelter is meant to be transitional housing for single parent families to help get out of homelessness.

“Why not make it a place for them so they can have a roof over their head?”

“We just need more information because we have none.”

Harold Byrd living nearby says it’s a good idea because he’s seen an increase of homelessness over here in past few years.

“It’s a very positive idea,” Byrd said. “A lot of people need it. A lot of people out here are homeless and don’t have anywhere to go. They need it in this neighborhood,” Harold Byrd said.

On the other hand, Nancy Maia with the Victorian Neighborhood Association says people living close to the proposal have concerns.

“They’re worried about crime, they’re worried about loitering, they’re worried about trash.” Maia said.

Maia says they aren’t for or against this shelter, they just need more information about what’s to come.

She said they first learned about the proposal after seeing WTOC’s story about the day center on Friday and that no one involved with project has reached out to them to offer details.

“Is it a day facility? Is it transitional housing? Exactly what is it going to look like and how is it going to function and then how will it be managed?” Maia said.

While we aren’t sure what non profit organization will be heading this project, the Savannah Chatham Authority for the Homeless is making recommendations on how they think this day shelter should be set up.

“We’re all about bringing dignity back to individuals who are struggling with homelessness and having private shower stalls instead of open shower situations for males and females, totally separated, key code access for security access, having a laundry facility,” Savannah Chatham Authority for the Homeless Director Jennifer Darsey said.

The City of Savannah is investing $3.5 million into the project. The city already owns the lot it’s proposed to be built. The Housing and Neighborhood Services Director said they’ll need to bring the project to the Savannah City Council next year to approve a transfer-of-land and funding from the Affordable Housing Fund.

If that happens, construction could begin next year.

In the meantime, the Historic Preservation Committee will vote on the proposal on Nov. 21.

To view the full proposal, click here.