Published on: May. 9, 2022
Business Community Works to Combat Homelessness in Chatham County

For the last two years, leaders in the business community and our non-profit partners have worked together to restructure ways for Chatham County to improve the quality of life for our homeless population. The Savannah Chatham County Continuum of Care (CoC) is the county-wide approach used to address homelessness. The approach represents key stakeholder organizations and individuals who have collaborated to create and implement an effective and sustainable system to help combat this issue.

The CoC will serve as the umbrella organization that HUD requires to work with applicants and service providers to ensure that funds are granted and then distributed into our community. The CoC will be responsible for picking the local agency that will coordinate all the service providers’ applications for federal, state, and local funds. In our case, the collaborative applicant is the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH).

Thank you to our members who joined the CoC and helped push our community back into compliance with federal guidelines to increase funding.

Last year, when Jay Melder took over as Savannah’s City Manager, the CoC board began frequent conversations with the City Manager on strategies to better outcomes for those homeless in Savannah. All agree that homelessness should be infrequent, brief, and nonrecurring.

On Thursday, May 5, the CoC unanimously voted to expand the CoC, add government partners and other strategic stakeholders, and change its name to the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The City of Savannah will professionally staff the new Interagency Council on Homelessness.

In addition to full-time professional staff, the City Manager has also reaffirmed his dedication to this issue to ensure that systems are in place, and those responsible for those systems, are accountable for their success. Mayor Johnson also joined this meeting to reiterate the City’s commitment to solving the problems of homelessness.

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