Jesup Housing Authority hoping to receive funding for affordable workforce housing

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 4:12 PM EST
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JESUP, Ga. (WTOC) - In this year’s current budget, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has set aside $35.7 million to create a Rural Workforce Housing Fund.

Wayne County is ready to jump on that opportunity.

According to the Jesup Housing Authority, they already have land set aside so when they receive their share of the funds, they’re going to be ready to build affordable workplace housing.

Mark Watson, the Executive Director of the Jesup Housing Authority, says they’ve acquired those properties through their non-profit, Wayne Housing Partners.

Right now, they have enough property to build eight to 10, three bedroom, two bathroom homes.

Those properties would be rented out to local workers. The need for this, Watson says, is growing in Wayne County.

He says that homeowners have been taking advantage of the housing market by selling off their rental properties- severely decreasing the number of homes available to rent.

That could in turn, be a barrier for people trying to move their families or their businesses to the area.

“You’ve got folks that are just getting out of college that are coming back to the area and looking for a place to live. The average home market price in 2022 for a house here Jesup/Wayne County was a little over $330,000, so obviously they can’t afford to come back and make a purchase of a home like that, so they need a place to stay to build some equity and build some savings and be able to do that,” said Watson.

Watson says he’s meeting with state officials on Wednesday to see what portion of that money the Jesup and Wayne County area might be able to get.

According to the housing authority, the federal government considers housing unaffordable if it costs more than 30% of a household’s income.

Right now, more than 749,000 people in 340,000 low-income Georgia households pay more than half their income for rent.