Click to Home

Go To Search

What is the City doing about the increasing number of homeless camps?

In Savannah, the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless works with local governments and non-profits to address the issue of homelessness. In 2015, the City contributed $190,000 to support the efforts of the Homeless Authority.

Savannah has about 20 homeless camps, containing an estimated 955 people, mostly located beneath and around highway overpasses on the east and west sides of downtown. The larger homeless population, which includes people who are in and out of homelessness and people who are temporarily without a home, is estimated to be about 4,000. The Homeless Authority also estimates that in Savannah, we are short about 8,000 units of affordable housing for the general population.

The Housing Authority does have a strategic plan to address homelessness in Savannah (read the plan here). The plan acknowledges that the conventional approach to homelessness, which is to provide services first, has not resulted in an adequate reduction of the homeless population. The approach recommended by the Homeless Authority is to take the Housing First approach. 

Permanent housing ensures individuals feel safe, are out of the elements, and can get adequate rest. At that point, people are more capable of taking advantage of additional support services, such as mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment.

As part of the Housing First approach, the Homeless Authority is working on a pilot program to provide micro-housing (learn more about the small house movement) to homeless veterans. At this time, a model micro-home is being constructed by volunteers at Fort Stewart. The model home will be used to educate community leaders and the public about alternative, low-cost housing options that can combat chronic homelessness. CSAH hopes to break ground on a 12-unit development of micro-homes next fall.

What is the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless?

It was formed in 1989 by the Georgia Legislature. The governing board is structured with 21 members, including four Chatham County appointees, four City of Savannah appointees, one appointee from the Savannah Chatham County Public School System, one appointee from the Housing Authority of Savannah, three state government appointees, and eight elected members at-large. At-large members are selected via majority vote of the body, represent the community and include a homeless or formerly homeless person.