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. At the recommendation of the Housing Savannah Task Force and the City Manager, the City Council included a record $7M in its FY2022 budget for the SAHF. This equaled the amount of the first four years of City investment called for by the Task Force in the 10-year Housing Savannah Action Plan. Then, in FY2023, the City invested another $2M in the Fund.
The call to action outlined by the Task Force in the Action Plan coupled with increased City investment has paved the way for private donations to increase. In 2022 private donations reached a record $652,021 and then during the first nine months of 2023, the SAHF received commitments for $7M from two major private commitments--$6M over eight years from the Georgia Ports Authority and $1M from the Galvan Foundation. Dating back to 2014, private investments in the Fund have come from two hospitals and several, banks, businesses, foundations, non-profits, and individuals.
The Action Plan calls to increase SAHF funding to $12.5M+ annually by 2032--and sustain this level of investment thereafter. It is expected that this SAHF investment will leverage another $87.5M+ annually in traditional private-sector housing investments. Based upon historical data, it is expected that every $1 invested in the SAHF will leverage $7 of additional housing investments.
The Action Plan calls upon the City and County governments, and upon the business and philanthropic communities to increase their investments in the SAHF.
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 that 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.
View the SAHF Flow Chart for an overview of entities involved and types of projects typically funded by the SAHF. View the SAHF Project Dashboard report for an overview of 2013-2022 SAHF results. View the SAHF Fundraising Dashboard for an overview of 2022 and 2023 fundraising results.
The SAHF is managed by the Community Housing Services Agency, Inc. (CHSA). CHSA, established by city, business, and community leaders in 1989, is a local non-profit housing organization that has managed the SAHF since 2014.
Housing Savannah, Inc. was established in 2022 to raise funds for the SAHF as called for in the Housing Savannah Action Plan.
Any person or party interested in learning more about the SAHF may contact:
Anita Smith-Dixon, Executive Director, CHSA, Inc.
(912) 651-2169 firstname.lastname@example.org
Any person or party interested in contributing to the SAHF may contact:
Laura Lane McKinnon, Executive Director, Housing Savannah, Inc.
(912) 651-6766 email@example.com