For Immediate Release
Date: August 18, 2016
At today’s City Council meeting, Jenny Gentry, Market President of Wells Fargo Bank, presented a $4,000 check to the Mayor and Aldermen and Community Housing Services Agency, Inc. (CHSA) for deposit into the Savannah Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF). Wells Fargo previously contributed $10,000 to the SAHF. During the past four years Wells Fargo has also contributed $95,000 to CHSA Development to help fund the construction of new houses sold to first time home buyers and its employees have volunteered to help build eight houses.
Wells Fargo’s investment in the SAHF this year will be used to help offset down payments and closing costs incurred by modest income home buyers purchasing their first home in Savannah. CHSA, a non-profit housing organization established in 1989 by the City, together with the City’s Housing Department provide SAHF administrative oversight.
The SAHF was authorized by the City of Savannah in December 2011 at the urging of StepUp Savannah with enthusiastic support from the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, and other business and community leaders. Its purpose was to establish a local fund into which local government and others can invest to help address local housing needs and opportunities, and to help leverage additional private investment for affordable and workforce housing. Since becoming operational in December 2013, $924,900 has been deposited into the SAHF resulting in $1.68 million SAHF loans. Additionally, this investment has helped leveraged $4.67 million in private financing. Through May 31 of this year, the SAHF helped finance the repair, construction and/or sale of 130 dwellings across all six Savannah political districts. Minority contracting firms have served as developers or general contractors on 102 (84%) of 122 construction contracts. SAHF down payment and closing cost assistance was provided to eight first time home buyers.
SAHF supporters encourage more banks to make annual investments in the SAHF. To date Ameris Bank, BB&T, South State Bank, United Community Bank, and Wells Fargo have invested in the SAHF. Additionally, St. Joseph/Chandler Health Systems has invested in the SAHF to help create a down payment home purchase assistance program for its modest income employees—something that other interested employers may want to consider as part of their employee benefit package. Entities interested in learning more about the SAHF may contact Anita Smith Dixon at 912-651-6926.