Savannah Affordable Housing Fund
For many years, housing advocates recognized the need to establish a local housing fund that would provide Savannah with flexibility and new resources to help address its housing challenges and opportunities. While federal CDBG and HOME funds received annually by the City are critical and much appreciated, they simply are not enough. As a result, the Savannah Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) was established by resolution of the Mayor and Alderman of the City of Savannah on November 11, 2011. The SAHF has no federal funds. The Fund was established at the request of StepUp Savannah and with the support of community and business leaders—including leaders from the Chamber of Commerce and the Savannah Economic Development Authority.
Initially funded by the City of Savannah at a rate of $150,000 per year beginning in 2012, this amount increased to $500,000 in 2021. Also in 2021, private donors invested a record $222,600 in the SAHF. Dating back to 2014, private investments in the Fund have come from two hospitals and several, banks, businesses, foundations, non-profits, and individuals.
At the recommendation of the Housing Savannah Task Force and the City Manager, the City Council included a record $7M its FY2022 budget for the SAHF. This equaled the amount of investment the Housing Savannah Action Plan called for, from the City, during the first four years of the 10 year Action Plan.
The Plan calls to increase SAHF funding to $12.5M annually by 2032--and sustain this level of investment thereafter. The Plan calls upon the City and County governments, and upon the business and philanthropic communities to increase their investments in the SAHF. Based upon historical data, it is expected that every $1 invested in the SAHF will leverage $7 of additional housing investments.
Between 2012 and the end of 2020, SAHF investments had the following results.
- $ 2.2M SAHF Deposits
- $33.7M Leveraged
- 229 houses repaired
- 47 houses constructed
- 92 houses purchased
- 85 LIHTC apartments constructed
SAHF are used for a variety of housing initiatives. Those contributing to the fund sometimes specify how their investments are to be used. This includes the two hospitals who have developed down payment and closing cost assistance programs to help their modest wage employees purchase their first homes. Others have specified that their investments be used to assist elderly homeowners with repairs to their homes, while others have expressed an interest in helping fund better housing for renters and persons experiencing homelessness. Plan administrators are very creative and can help potential contributors develop programs that help their employees or other persons or groups for whom they have a special interest in helping.
None of the funds contributed to the SAHF are used to pay administrative costs. These costs are covered by the City and Community Housing Services Agency, Inc. (CHSA). CHSA, established by City, business, and community leaders in 1989, is a local non-profit housing organization that, among other activities, administers the SAHF for the City and private donors. A SAHF Advisory Committee provides support to CHSA and the City’s Housing & Neighborhood Services Department.
Any person or party interested in learning more about the SAHF, including how to contribute to the Fund, may contact:
Anita Smith-Dixon, Executive Director, CHSA, Inc.
(912) 651-2169 email@example.com