Housing Savannah Task Force: Overview
A 40-citizen member Housing Savannah Task Force was appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen in 2020 to assess the city’s housing needs and develop recommendations for increasing the availability and affordability of quality housing for all households regardless of income.
In June 2021 the Task Force completed a yearlong study of Savannah's housing needs that culminated in the release of the Housing Savannah Action Plan (Plan). The Plan includes five strategies and 43 possible action items to address housing conditions in Savannah. Successful implementation will take a community-wide effort, including investments by local governments, businesses, philanthropies, and citizens.
In summary, the Task Force has determined that Savannah does not have enough quality housing available at affordable prices for a significant percentage of residents. Housing is considered most affordable when rent or mortgage payments don’t exceed 30 percent of gross household income.
The Task Force found that housing expenses had outpaced incomes at a rate of at least 2:1 over the past 30 years. This has contributed to about 21,000 (40%) Savannah households with incomes less than $50,000 annually not being able to afford quality housing. Those impacted include, but are not limited to, 1) older homeowners in need of housing repairs, 2) persons and families seeking to purchase their first home, 3) persons and families seeking quality rental housing, and 4) persons and families who are experiencing homelessness. Many of these persons are modest-wage front-line workers while others are disabled or retired and living on small Social Security or SSI incomes.
To help address these challenges, the Plan recommends significantly increasing local investments in housing from the City and County governments, from the business and philanthropic communities, and from other sources including volunteers. It recommends increasing and sustaining annual local investments for housing to $12.5M over a 10-year period between 2022 and 2032. This includes increasing investment in the Savannah Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) which is used to help leverage other housing investments. History reveals that $1 of local investment leverages an average of $7 additional dollars for housing. A $12.5M annual investment is, therefore, expected to leverage at least another $87.5M annually for housing. The Plan’s goal is to bring the total sustained annual housing investment up to $100M+ over the next 10 years and to continue at this level each year thereafter. By year 10, this investment is expected to help at least 1,500 Savannah households annually to secure housing that is available, accessible, and affordable.
Learn more about the proposed Task Force recommendations by clicking the links in the side menu (bottom on mobile).