Chamber Vice President Jennifer Davenport along with community stakeholders met this past week to discuss the establishment of a Community Court to help address the needs of area homeless populations.
Hosted by Sheriff John Wilcher at the Chatham County Detention Center, the discussion centered around the development of a Community Court. A Community Court is an alternative problem-solving court that is held in a shelter or other accessible community center outside of a traditional court room. It differs from a traditional court in that it seeks to identify and address the underlying challenges that perpetuate chronic homelessness
Superior Court Judge Lisa Colbert spearheaded the meeting bringing in experts from the American Bar Association and a similar court in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to Judge Colbert, Mayor Van Johnson, Chairman Chester Ellis, Judge Tammy Stokes and Clerk of Superior Court Tammie Mosley were among the elected officials who participated in the discussion.
Jennifer DeLong, Executive Director of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, Mike Traynor, CEO of Union Mission, and other members of the business community joined the well-attended discussion.
The next steps include the formation of a steering committee to work with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty to outline the details of establishing a Community Court in Chatham County. The Chamber will continue to participate in strategy sessions and assist in the development of the court. For more information on the Savannah Area Chamber’s commitment to addressing homelessness in our community, please contact Jennifer Davenport at JDavenport@SavannahChamber.com