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Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless builds tiny homes for the homeless

By: A'riel Johnson

SAVANNAH, GA-The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) are using Tiny Homes as a way to shelter many homeless citizens of Savannah.


This will be an ongoing process to ensure that there is more shelter being provided for the homeless.


“This all came out of a non-profit strategic planning process, and one of the things that became very clear is that we had a critical shortage of housing for low income folks and no plan for building houses for homeless people,” Cindy Kelley, Executive Director, said.  


There is a plan to build six villages with twelve actual housing units. The first village that is being built will only house single adult veterans. The second village will have a slight change in the interior to allow for homeless couples.


Fort Stewart soldiers are currently in the process of building these tiny homes. The first village will be built on the base. The homes will then be transferred by Fort Stewart to Savannah, Georgia. Villages two through six will be built in Savannah.


All homeless veterans will not be able to get housing. Out of 285 veterans, only 72 units will be built. There will be a simple application process followed by a lottery to choose who gets housing. There are no priorities on the list, but there will be two exclusions.


Because the tiny homes property will be next to family housing, sex offenders as well as homeless people who have a history of violent felonies, will not be able to apply.

“We know there will be mistakes, but we are flexible in helping the homeless get back on track,” Kelley said.  


Besides housing, the CSAH is also assisting homeless people with preparing for interview skills and other resources so they will be able to afford rent.


Even though some homeless people do receive funds, it’s still not enough for rent.  According to Kelley, rent will be set at $210 a month. This includes $10 a month for association dues as well as all utilities.


The cost of building a tiny home and an average small house is dramatically different. To build a tiny home, it costs $7,000 vs an average house costing $40,000.


The property on Aberdeen Street has already been purchased but site development is still underway.

Until actual construction takes place, there are still homeless camps on the property.


Elizabeth Ore, 41, has been living in the homeless camp with her boyfriend Richard, since the end of November. After the death of her mom, Elizabeth found herself with Richard at the homeless camp. Elizabeth says that CSAH has bought the land and moved some people out, eventually causing them to evacuate.


“It’s hard once you’re down this far to get back up, but you can.” Ore said.

These houses are being built to uplift the homeless people to want to do better and be better individuals.


Kelley hopes the first village will be done in January 2017 assuming the site development will be completed by September.

This is a model tiny home built by the Fort Stewart soldiers. Photo Credit: Cindy Kelley

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