Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) Mission: To lead the effort to build and sustain community practices to eliminate homelessness.
CSAH was founded in 1989 by the Georgia Legislature to act as a coordinating and leadership body for homeless services in Chatham County. CSAH works in partnership with nonprofit service providers, government officials, the faith community and the business community to reduce and eliminate homelessness. CSAH is a 501 C3 nonprofit organization committed to strategic approaches to addressing the challenges of homelessness.
CSAH leads the Continuum of Care for Chatham County and provides street outreach and case management services for individuals and families. Walk-in hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00.
CSAH is located at 761 Wheaton Street in Savannah on the third floor (DFCS building).
Individuals in our community who died while homeless this year:
1/6/18 - Valerie Gleason, age 50
1/15/18 - Elizabeth Ann Schwanebeck, age 62
2/10/18 - Ernest Jordan, age 61
3/23/18 - Raymond Pullen, age 59
Individuals in our community who died while homeless in 2017:
1/10/17 - Joseph Billings, age 53
1/28/17 - Gregory Braswell, age 52
2/14/17 - Patricia Soles, age 76
10/13/17 - Bobby Joe Medlin, age 41
11/21/17 - Jerry Hoover, age 39
CONTINUUM OF CARE - Nonprofit Service Provider QESST Accreditation Achievement (2018-2020):
Homeless CoC agencies must participate in QESST accreditation or show evidence of accreditation from another body to be in good standing as a provider. QESST accreditation is good for three years and ensures that nonprofit organizations serving the homeless population embrace and maintain a basic standard of service and care. It also ensures that basic best practice in nonprofit operations is maintained in areas of budget/finance, board governance, conflict of interest and ethics.
HUD Awards Announced for Chatham County Continuum of Care (CoC)
January 19, 2018
Total Chatham County CoC Award is $3,251,372 for the period beginning March 1, 2018
**Reduced by $138,392 this year and reduced by $361,436 over past two years. Total permanent loss of HUD funding for our community over the past three years is $499,828.
Project Applicants and Awards:
City of Savannah - 54 Units - Shelter Plus Care - $693,715 (Renewal, slight increase)
Eagles Landing of Union Mission – 177,302 (Renewal, very slight increase)
Greenbriar Children's Center Supportive Housing - $56,144 (Renewal, significant decrease)
Housing Authority of Savannah - Shelter Plus Care - $1,123,474 (Renewal, slight increase)
EOA Tom D. Austin House - $224,700 (Renewal, same as prior year)
DCA/Union Mission - $356,909 (Renewal, slight increase)
CSAH Unified Case Management - $410,592 (Renewal, same as prior year). Includes six out placed case managers at CoC nonprofits, Homeless Management Information Systems Lead (HMIS), writing and coordination of annual master HUD proposal, service provider professional development and oversight and CoC board work.
COORDINATED ENTRY PROGRAM (CE)
CSAH - $72,140 (New). Includes a program director and coordinator to implement HUD’s mandate to prioritize those most difficult to serve for permanent supportive housing (PSH) and permanent housing. Requires CoC agencies to allow control of referrals for housing as determined by need and not allow decisions at individual agencies.
CSAH CoC Planning - $98,536 (Slight decrease over last year/periodically available funds for time limited projects). Funds slated for engagement of City and County elected officials, their staff and other community stakeholders. Planning Fund also supports Nonprofit CoC System Re-Design work to increase agency efficiency, work toward better program outcomes and increase the financial health of agencies. Can be used for deep collaboration and merger among nonprofit agencies.
CSAH - $37,860 (New). Funds used to customize CoC agency systems, provide TA/coaching (staff) for agencies.
Gateway BHS PHS Savannah - $170,966
** WHY IS OUR CoC LOSING FUNDS YEAR AFTER YEAR?
The simple answer is that our total community CoC score is low as compared to other communities competing for funds. Receipt of community-wide HUD funding is based on an overall CoC score (all of Chatham County) and scores for individual projects. The underlying theme of a strong score is reducing homelessness. Frankly, we are not successful as a community in this area. See the five project headings above for a list of community funded projects.
For many years, we built a system of 'serving' the homeless with limited success. Via success in other communities, we have learned that we need to build a system of 'solving' homelessness. Serving often makes individuals feel good (serving a meal, donating clothes, a night in emergency shelter). However, only access to housing solves homelessness. And once housed, data reveals that persons are more successful in addressing the myriad of issues contributing to their homeless status (those issues personal to the individual). As a community, we have responsibility to address those issues that are about policy and decision making.....such as short and long-term planning that ensures there is enough housing for everyone who needs it. Our community faces critical shortages of very affordable and affordable housing as well as high rents and other problematic barriers like a high eviction rate and the recent law suit challenging 'crime free housing' in Garden City. From HUD's perspective, all these elements contribute to problematic system performance.
HUD has provided CoC Planning dollars for the past two years and for the coming year. CSAH has utilzed the funds for a variety of efforts to build community engagement. We are confident overall awareness of the sitution is better among local goverment leaders, business leaders, nonprofits and the community at large. It has become clear that policy work is essential to make headway to reduce our annual homeless count.
Annual homeless count results; 2014 - 3997 persons, 2015 - 4,224 persons, 2016 - 4,513 persons.
None at present
Tiny House Big Heart Event – See folks having a good time!
Photos provided by Richard Leo Johnson, Atlantic Archives Inc, Fine Architectual and Interior Photograph
The Cove at Dundee (Tiny House Project for Homeless Veterans) - Update May 31, 2018:
The project broke ground last week and Contractor Dustcom Limited is very busy clearing the site for water, sewer and electrical installation. Three groups of trees will be saved on the site but it will be necessary to plant new ones. Most of the trees being removed during this phase are unhealthy and in the way of the placement of the six villages (12 homes per village). Folks who are interested can drive by and see the clearing progress from the street (75 Dundee, just off Wheaton and behind the pocket park). Bob Park of HBI is leading the building of the first twelve homes at Fort Stewart. This work began two weeks ago. Joe Marchese of Marchese Construction has been selected as our General Contractor and will oversee the building of the rest of the homes on the site.
Finally......last Thursday evening a CSAH board committee selected the contractor for the substantial infrastructure work at 75 Dundee (The Tiny House for Homeless Veterans Project). Three contractors bid on the job. The work includes tree removal, installation of the main road, connection to the sewer and addition of water lines. An unexpected cost driver is the cost of fill (basically...dirt). This element of the work has increased the infrastructure budget. To adjust, we are implementing a three phase approach. This means Phase I includes the critical infrastructure, one Clubhouse and completion of villages one and two (24 units). Phase II includes two additional villages and the second Clubhouse. Phase III is the same as Phase II with the possible additional of fencing on the property.
As many of you know the pace of the project has been slow as most of the pre-development work was provided in-kind by local businesses. We are so grateful for their significant contribution to the project. A big project disappointment in 2017 was the denial of funding requests from Chatham County and the City of Savannah for a small portion of the project (11% each). We hope that in 2018 as the first two villages are completed that we may see a change in local government's priority in the area of very affordable housing. Some of you may remember that in our most recent annual homeless count of 4,513 persons that 286 are homeless veterans. ck
Tiny House Project - Older Progress Notes
Thank you to the City of Savannah for their support in pulling down an old brick building on the property that was in danger of collapsing. The building removal was the first step in clearing the land for the infrastructure installation. We also has a basic road cut through the front of the property and removed some fallen trees from our neighbor's property.
I want to note that a difficult part of project progress required us to move about 50 homeless individuals from the Tiny House property. Despite recommendations we have provided to local goverment leadership, we do not have a plan for the many individuals who live outside. Rather, these individuals (many who are chronic homeless persons), move from place to place-to-place as new development and roads displace them. This situation has caused some of our homeless residents to move three or more times over the past 15 months. We can report more tension among the many individuals forced to live outside due to lack of housing options for them. It has become a frustrating experience for our homeless residents and our staff who are caught between local government entities unwilling to find a solution to this problem. I should note that CSAH has recommended a solution but no action has been taken on it.
As an interim solution, we recommend the development of a basic campground with toilets and running water to ensure acceptable sanitation is maintained, make it easier for police/social service oversight and to reduce the growing tension among camp residents about the ongoing shuffle. We believe this change would be the first step in re-thinking affordable housing options for homeless residents.
Tiny House Project Description
The Tiny House Project, also known as the Cove at Dundee completed the approval process in September 2016. At present, CSAH staff are working to raise the $1.7 million needed to fund the project. The project was approved for up to 80 units although we anticipate that given site conditions that we will house 72 veterans. Additionally, three Clubhouses shared by the members will be located on the site.
What will the Cove at Dundee be like? Ideas about how to work effectively with homeless persons have changed in recent years. It can take time for homeless service providers to embrace new ideas and adjust programs to meet research based best practices. Most Chatham area programs in existence today began with the program model of providing services and ensuring that individuals comply with certain requirements (including our agency) before housing was an option. At times these requirements could be quite harsh given what is known about hierarchy of needs in humans (basic needs must be met in order for humans to move up the ladder to self-actualization). Best practice today indicates that a service approach is problematic. A better approach is to provide persons with Housing First and then offer services/support when there is readiness to receive them.
Living without housing is traumatic. An individual's ability to be focused, productive and successful is compromised severely when housing is not present. Most of us simply take for granted the refuge our homes are to us. This refuge provides the foundation for our lives and our ability to meet our needs. These ideas are present in our program approach to serving homeless veterans in the Tiny House project.
Each village of twelve persons will be a self-managed entity with a selected resident manager (initially appointed but eventually elected by residents). Residents will meet regularly to make decisions about how to live in community, determine basic rules of behavior and allow for individual needs and creativity. Residents will not be required to see a case manager or attend AA meetings or attend other services. However, such services will be available for the time a resident is interested in such support. Villages will need to work together to coordinate efforts for activities such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, maintaining the interior and exterior of their homes and maintenance of the common areas. Village residents will also elect a representative to sit on a Council of Villages (6 anticipated villages of 12 persons) to plan for larger activities and problem solve for community wide efforts or concerns.
We anticipate that it will take some time for the smooth operation of each village. CSAH will provide staff leadership to support village efforts to determine what works best for them. We expect mistakes but also expect villages (and individuals) will improve with time.
As residents heal they will have opportunities to work, volunteer and give back to the community at large.
Tour the Tiny House model:
The Tiny House model parked at 704 Wheaton Street in the parking lot of the Savannah Baptist Center. The Tiny House is available for tours by calling or emailing the CSAH Executive Director, Cindy Kelley at 912.644.7945 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Groups and individuals are welcome to tour the model.
General information about the Tiny House project:
The location at 75 Dundee is on the site of a former Cotton Mill. A homeless camp had been on the site for decades. We anticipate building 72 homes on the site over 5 years. Our Tiny Homes are 16x8 (128 square feet). The four Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliant units are 18x8 (144 square feet). They are well built homes with exterior cladding in cement board and a metal roof. If you drive by to see the model you will notice we have selected white and red exterior paint for the model. The interior of the unit is tongue and grove pine on walls and ceiling (11 feet, 4 inch celing height), it has two windows, an entrance door with six light panels, a small kitchen with microwave, refrigerator and hotplate, a bathroom with shower and a single bed that works as a sofa during the day. The floors are ceramic tile and there is plenty of storage under the bed. Broader community enhancements will include outdoor tables, grills and gardens. Plans are also in place for a small chapel on the site.
The materials cost for each Tiny House is $10,000. The total project cost is $1.7 million (land, 3 clubhouses, 72 homes, site preparation). This total cost, divided by 72 units reveals a cost per housing unit at $23,611. This is incredibly affordable housing and we are proud to show what can be done with creative, alternative approaches to housing development.
We hope that individuals and groups will want to raise funds to support the building of one or more units. The nonprofit HBI is coordinating the build of the first village of twelve units thereby keeping our costs low. They also built the model with materials cost contributed by an anonymous donor. Architect and Artist Bede VanDyke has put in many hours in the design of the Tiny House and most recently in the development of the site plan. Housing Developer Gary Wiggin has provided project leadership and supported our efforts to build housing development competence and expertise. This project is only possible due to the willingness of many to give of their time, expertise and financial gifts.
Housing is a basic need most of us take for granted. Without housing, a person's ability to build a sustainable existence is severly compromised. We are proud to embrace Housing First and provide very low cost very affordable permanent housing for those most in need.
Watch here for more updates about this exciting project.
CSAH Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020: We are pleased to present our current strategic plan. Our plan is a departure from past plans. This departure is a result of embracing research about effective approaches to reducing homelessness around the country. We are confident that Savannah/Chatham area leaders and decision makers will understand the need to shift our thinking and ways of serving the homeless to reduce overall costs and reduce our number of homeless persons.
2018 Meeting Dates:
The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) board meets the third Tuesday of every other month from 3:00 to 5:00. Meetings are generally held at the DFCS building at 761 Wheaton Street, 3rd floor. At times however, we do meet at other nonprofit homeless service providers offices. Please check our calendar for location and other meetings that may be of interest to you.
Individuals from the public can sit and listen but may not participate in board meeting process. Individuals who wish to have time on either agenda board should make arrangements with the CSAH Executive Director, Cindy Kelley by calling 912.644.7945.