Despite being so visible, homelessness remains one of the most overlooked problems in Savannah — and across the country.
The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless is doing its part to combat the crisis in the Hostess City, and one of its biggest and boldest projects to date has begun to come to fruition.
On July 1, the CSAH will open the first phase of its community of tiny homes that eventually will provide 71 homeless veterans with a place to live. The first 23 of these 128-square-foot residences will be occupied on July 1 with five more villages and two clubhouses coming in the second and third phases of the project — pending funding.
Each tiny house will feature a kitchenette, sofa bed, shelving and a full bathroom, and residents will have access to a medical clinic, chapel and clubhouses with washers and dryers, all on one property. The homes will rent for just $240 per month. One of the CSAH’s top fundraising priorities at the moment is to cover the considerable infrastructure costs involved with the project.
The tiny house project is the most visible example of the CSAH’s recent work, but its efforts to build and sustain community practices that will eliminate homelessness in Chatham County go well beyond. The Authority’s staff of 18 assists more than 4,000 individuals in the county every year. The CSAH’s primary focus is to ensure that people can access housing as quickly as possible, without any barriers. CSAH works with communities to educate the public about why homelessness occurs, advocates for needed change and collaborates with all homeless support groups in the region to increase the capacity for support.
The 2017 point-in-time count identified more than 1,600 homeless individuals in Chatham County — the second-most in any county in Georgia — and that count doesn’t include an estimated 1,000 students enrolled in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System who are homeless. About 1 out of every 18 homeless individuals in Chatham County in 2017 were veterans — men and women who have served their country but do not have the resources to live in their own community. CSAH is committed to supporting a group of people who have spent years serving their nation, providing them with safe and permanent housing — but your help is needed.