761 Wheaton Street
Savannah, GA 31412
(912) 790-3400

About Us

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).

News and Events

Individuals in our community who died while homeless:

1/10/17 - Joseph Billings, age 53

1/28/17 - Gregory Braswell, age 52

2/14/17 - Patricia Soles, age 76

CONTINUUM OF CARE - Non Profit Service Provider System Re-Design Meeting, Next Steps

DATE: Next meeting is being planned.  Consultant Charles McMillian is meeting with local service providers.

System Re-Design Priorites: 1) Housing Development, 2) Housing Management, 3) Basic Services and 4) Lead Agency.  This re-design work is based on assumptions that the current system does not have adequate performance, nonprofits need to be streamlined and strengthened, and advocacy is necessary to ensure government and the business community takes a proactive role in addressing this issue in partnership with agencies.  Funding for this process is provided by HUD.  If you have questions, please call Cindy at 912.644.7945.

CONTINUUM OF CARE - Non Profit Service Provider QESST Accreditation 2017

CoC agency members will participate in their site visits for QESST Accreditation in early August.  Homeless CoC agencies must participate in QESST accreditation or show evidence of accreditation from another body.  QESST accreditation is good for three years and ensures that nonprofit organizations serving the homeless population embrace and maintain a basic standard of care and service.  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)

December 20, 2016

Total Award to our CoC is $3,389,764 (down $223,044 over last year)

Project Applicants and Awards (contract year begins March 1, 2017):

HOUSING SUPPORT

City of Savannah - 54 Units - Shelter Plus Care - $670,087 (Renewal, same as prior year)

Eagles Landing of Union Mission - 176,395 (Renewal, same as prior year)

Greenbriar Children's Center Supportive Housing - $363,216 (Renewal, same as prior year)

Housing Authority of Savannah - Shelter Plus Care - $1,093,222 (Renewal, same as prior year)

EOA Tom D. Austin House - $224,700 (Renewal, same as prior year)

DCA/Union Mission - $346,325 (Renewal, same as prior year)

LEAD AGENCY

CSAH Unified Case Management - $410,592 (Renewal, same as prior year).  Includes six outplaced case managers at CoC nonprofits, Homeless Management Information Systems Lead (HMIS), submission and coordination of annual master HUD proposal, service provider professional development and oversight and CoC board work.

SYSTEMS CHANGE

CSAH CoC Planning - $105,227 (Increase 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. 

NOT FUNDED:

Union Mission Employment & Training Center  - $223,044 (No renewal)

Gateway BHS PHS Savannah - $105,227 (First time program applicant, not funded)

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JOB OPENINGS:

No openings

Photos provided by Richard Leo Johnson, Atlantic Archives Inc, Fine Architectual and Interior Photograph

TINY HOUSE PROJECT - Update June 2017: 

A special thank you to Service Brewing, Ships of the Sea Museum and Judge Realty for all their work and support in planning,organizing and holding our first major event on May 11 to support the Tiny House project (Tiny House, Big Heart).  We had a fabulous turnout and met our financial goal allowing us to make the second payment on land for the project.  Many, many other sponsors provided time and goods to make the event a HUGE success!  Thank you one and all for your efforts and in believing in our goal to house 72 homeless veterans.

Another 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.  This removal is the first step in clearing the land for the infrastructure installation.  We have received our first permit to install the main road on the property.  We are hopeful this will happen in July (contractors are very busy in our area this year). 

I want to note that a difficult part of this most recent step (infrastructure installation) is that it was necessary for 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. 

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.

At present, Thomas & Hutton is completing the final detail for the site plan infrastructure.  And, Gene Maria of Hansen Architects is completing the detailed drawings of the two housing units.  One is the standard 16x8 unit and the other is the American with Disabilities (ADA) compliant unit at 18x8.

OLDER NOTES:

The Tiny House Project, also known as the Cove at Dundee completed the approval process (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. 

Thank you to Wells Fargo for funding equipment needs for this project!

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 comprised 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 ckelley@homelessauthority.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 has been on the site for decades.  We anticipate being able to build up to 72 homes on the site over 5+ years.  Our Tiny Homes are 16x8 (128 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 first 12 home village for veterans.  The interior of the unit is tongue and grove pine on walls and ceiling (11 feet, 4 inch celing height), 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 $7,000.  The total project cost is $1.7 million (land, clubhouses, all units, site preparation).  This total cost, divided by 72 units reveals a total 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.  We are securing a partner to build the ADA compliant unit for the first village.  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 wilingness 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. 

Cindy 

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.  

Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020

2017 Meeting Dates:

The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) board meets the third Tuesday 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.

 

 

 

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