Local leaders meet to talk about Housing

Savannah housing

The state predicts Chatham County’s population will reach 375,339 by 2060, a 25% increase from 2022.

With an existing housing shortage of almost 10,000 units, local leaders gathered last week to discuss solutions.

The leaders proposed various ideas, but all centered around increasing the housing supply, particularly by diversifying the housing types and increasing density. Legislative solutions are being considered, focusing on reducing costs and time.

Savannah housing summit

The City of Savannah prioritized housing and included a measure to waive impact fees for workforce housing projects. Despite pushback from some neighbors, there is a sense of community unity to address the city’s housing needs. Savannah’s creation of an affordable housing fund was praised, and local engagement and interest in addressing the issue are being actively developed. Community support is crucial in making progress, both financially and through participation.

The summit featured a panel of local experts who discussed various aspects of the affordable housing crisis and potential solutions. The panel included:

  • Bert Brantley (Chamber CEO)
  • Michael Kaigler (Chatham Co. County Manager)
  • Jay Melder (City of Savannah City Manager)
  • Ken Clark (Deputy Director of Housing Authority of Savannah)
  • A representative from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA)

The panel discussion was part of a broader program that aimed to address the barriers to preserving and creating housing that is affordable for everyone in Chatham County. The summit also included a keynote address by Edward Erfurt from Strong Towns, a presentation by Whitney Shephard from the CCHC to illustrate the county’s challenges and opportunities, and collaborative working sessions where participants broke into small groups to address prioritized barriers

The panel discussions may have covered topics such as:

  • Strategies for overcoming regulatory and financial barriers to affordable housing development.
  • The role of public-private partnerships in expanding affordable housing.
  • Innovative approaches to funding and sustaining affordable housing projects.
  • The impact of zoning and land use policies on housing affordability.
  • The importance of community engagement and collaboration among stakeholders in addressing housing issues.

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