The bulk of federal funds (CDBG and HOME) will be spent on housing programs, with primary emphasis on property rehabilitation and home ownership assistance for low income persons. This is followed by programs for public services and facilities (primarily recreation) and economic development.
The City's Housing and Community Development (HCD) Plan reflects the input
of several hundred citizens over the three-year period 1992-94. It culminates
the work on the City's Comprehensive Affordability Strategy (CHAS) and
Empowerment Zone Plan. All three were City-sanctioned, citizen-oriented efforts
including steering committees, public working meetings and public hearings. The
HCD Plan Advisory Committee will play a role in monitoring progress.
Savannah is growing again, after a 3% decline in population to 137,560 in 1990, while the metropolitan area grew 7%. Most of the City's population loss in the 1980's can be attributed to a 9% decline in the white population, to 69,634 in 1990 or 46% of the total. African Americans formed 51% of the population in 1990. Asians and Hispanics, while only 3%, were the fastest growing racial/ethnic groups. Savannah's households are declining in size, increasing in number and age. The nonhousehold population (institutions, dormitories) increased 78% to 5,314.
Median family income was below that for the metropolitan area, the state and
the nation. 33% of households were considered very low income and another 16%
were considered low income, almost half of whom were African-American. 35% of
African Americans had incomes below the poverty level, compared to 10% of
12% of Savannah's 58,768 year-round housing units were vacant in 1990. Neighborhoods with the highest percentage vacant (25+) also had the highest percentages of rentals, older, substandard units and low-income concentrations. Eighteen of these neighborhoods are in the Target Area for the HCD Action Plan. 30% of all units were substandard; 95% of these were suitable for rehabilitation.
Fair market rents (FMR) were significantly higher than the amount of rent a very-low income household can afford; for a three-bedroom unit, FMR was one-third higher.
Some 4,500 elderly residents required supportive housing or housing assistance, with only 2,400 beds available.
400 homeless and 280 non-homeless severely mentally ill do not receive housing and services they need. 159 developmentally disabled people are on the waiting list for supportive housing. For low income persons with physical disabilities, 5,368 need accessible housing (no supportive services), but there are fewer than 1,000 units available. As many as 305 may need supportive housing. There is also a shortage of housing (beds) for as many as 1,155 people released each year from various drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
1992 survey found 30% of all units to be substandard, but over 95% of these are suitable for renovation. Owner-occupied and vacant units are much less likely to be in substandard condition than renter-occupied units. 29% of substandard units are owner-occupied; 64% renter-occupied.
There is evidence that at least 45% of large (five or more persons) low-income households are overcrowded, and that there is an affordability problem for these households. And about a fifth of families with children are living in substandard housing.
In Savannah there are some 950 homeless people with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 350 non-homeless People Living With Aids in need of supportive housing, but only 28 beds are available for them within the city.
In December 1994 a total of 2189 households were on the waiting list. The Housing Authority of Savannah (HAS) owns and manages 2,611 units in fourteen complexes ranging from 76 to 335 units. All but two are low rise. The vacancy rate is 1% except for units undergoing modernization. HAS has been making up for the lack of recreational facilities and upgrading streets that were not originally designed to city standards.
A continuing high level of maintenance and modernization are required.
The Plan identifies twelve specific barriers and other contributing factors. Such barriers include:
Other barriers deal with board-up and other fees; loan processing, licensing and permits; zoning and land use requirements; historic preservation review; parking requirements and insurance rates.
Other contributing factors include demographic trends: declining household size and increasing numbers, which may create greater demand and higher prices; larger size and lower incomes for African-American households; financial status of renters; affordability of current housing market without repairs; higher cost of infill development; negative perceptions of neighborhood environment; and lack of realtor activity.
Very little data have been collected on Savannah's fair housing environment. A study of impediments to fair housing will be conducted in 1995-1996, including possible redlining of target neighborhoods. The goal is to resolve all fair housing complaints within one year of the complaint.
As estimated 33,000 housing units contained lead-based paint, of which 80% are occupied by low-income households. At least 2,000 children have been diagnosed with lead poisoning in the last 5 years, and cases are concentrated in 8 high-risk neighborhoods.
Community Development Needs are expressed in terms of increasing minority
and female owned businesses and labor force participation, lack of education and
transportation. Also, lack of recreation facilities, substandard and inadequate
streets, lighting, drainage, trees and other infrastructure.
Savannah's Strategic Plan seeks to provide affordable housing in standard condition for all residents regardless of age, race, income, or disability. The Plan sets out a continuum of care for those residents currently homeless, with the ultimate goal of providing these persons with permanent housing. The plan acknowledges that without sustainable employment opportunities available to all residents, goals for housing and homeless cannot be achieved. Thus, economic development is an integral component of the plan.
The goals for community development address achieving in the target areas:
The Plan's housing priorities are to:
The City's strategies to address these priorities include: providing low interest home repair loans to low-income persons; assisting homeowners with disabilities in making units accessible; holding a housing auction for first-time homebuyers; conducting an impediments to fair housing study; creating a low interest loan program for lead abatement for low/moderate income homeowners; redesigning public housing units to increase accessibility; construction of new public housing units; and establishing a resident management corporation in a public housing neighborhood; renovating an existing building to provide additional emergency shelter beds; coordinating the provision of transitional housing through the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless; and implementing the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDs program.
Improve small business, increasing the number by 240 through loans and loan guarantees, bid/bond substitution loans. Increase by 15 the number of new small businesses specifically targeting jobs to low and moderate income individuals, through loans and equity investments. Increase by 600 the number of entrepreneurs and small business owners receiving technical assistance and business development information; provide seminars dealing with how to start new businesses, etc; publish and distribute an annual Minority Business Directory and conduct an annual local economic development survey. Assist with development of bid proposals.
Identify inactive and underemployed youth in target neighborhoods.
Improve the quality of infrastructure: decrease unpaved streets by 7.5 linear miles, and decrease the number of defects per paved mile. Increase sidewalk repairs and compliance with street lighting standard. Reduce the number of flooding incidents. Increase the level of annual tree plantings. Increase the number of Showcase Neighborhoods. Improve water and sewer utilities.
Reduce rates of unemployment, inactivity, and underemployment for minorities, low income persons, and special needs populations. Strategies include:
A wide range of HUD programs are used. See below ("Sources of Funding").
Also, Federal Home Loan Bank subsidized interest rates, direct subsidies, and member bank support; Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. State programs include the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority Trust Fund and other financing mechanisms. Local programs include the Land Bank Authority to transfer tax delinquent properties to potential homeowners or landlords. Other private for profit and non-profit organizations match public funds, provide free home repair workshops, technical assistance and funding in neighborhoods
The HCD Plan Advisory Committee will monitor implementation of the HCD Plan
during 1995. Coordination for economic development will involve the Small
Business Assistance Corporation and the Private Industry Council. For public
facilities, the City will coordinate with the Metropolitan Planning Commission
and with outlying communities dependent on the city's fire, water and sewer
Low income, minority neighborhoods are considered the Target Area for the HCD Plan. The bulk of federal funds (CDBG, HOME) will be spent on housing programs, including homeownership opportunities for low income persons.
Key projects: housing rehabilitation, including rental rehabilitation and substantial rehabilitation for resale; public services and facilities; grants to homeless providers for homeless individuals and persons at risk of becoming homeless. In addition, lead based paint hazard control, public education and environmental testing; housing and support services for recovering substance abusers; adult day care and homemaker services; revitalization of Martin Luther King Boulevard and showcase infrastructure improvements .
Sources of funding include ($millions):
Other features of the 1995 program include:
See Maps below.
Lead agencies for housing include the City Housing Department, Housing Authority of Savannah, Land Bank Authority and other government agencies such as the Community Services Department.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).
Director of Neighborhood Planning and Community Development
City of Savannah
Phone: (912) 615-6520