Georgia – On Monday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp revealed the initial winners of the Rural Workforce Housing Initiative, a program he first mentioned in his State of the State address earlier this year. The initiative, part of the OneGeorgia Authority, aims to provide flexible funds for building homes and related infrastructure in rural areas of the state.
The chosen recipients in this first batch have shown significant progress in improving housing for the workforce, meeting the criteria set by the OneGeorgia Authority. These grants, amounting to $8.37 million, are set to support the construction of over 500 housing units, including both single-family and multi-family homes. Additionally, these awardees have successfully worked alongside property developers, showcasing effective teamwork.
“On the back of three straight record-breaking years for economic development, we are taking action to ensure hardworking Georgians are able to live in the same communities where they work,” said Governor Brian Kemp.
“These grants are the first step in meeting the needs of communities experiencing incredible growth as we continue to see new opportunities come to all corners of the state. I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who supported this initiative so that we can continue that upward trajectory.”
Georgia’s Rural Workforce Housing Initiative explained
The Rural Workforce Housing Initiative is set to boost the creation of much-needed housing in various communities throughout the state. In March 2023, the Georgia General Assembly allocated $35.7 million to kickstart this initiative, as part of the amended budget for Fiscal Year 2023 that was signed into law.
“In an effort to ensure Georgia’s growing workforce have quality and affordable housing options, the OneGeorgia Authority is pleased to support these local communities in attaining their housing goals,” said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Christopher Nunn. “We look forward to continuing to help communities that are pursuing deliberate workforce housing strategies.”
Applicants for the funds not only met the requirements of the OneGeorgia Authority but also brought in additional funding to show their local commitment to making housing more affordable for workers. The use of these funds follows all relevant state laws and regulations, as well as the guidelines of both the OneGeorgia Authority and the Department of Community Affairs. The funds from OneGeorgia must be used within the time frame set in the grant or loan agreement, which is usually two years from when the award is given.
Who is getting the money
City of Albany
The City of Albany is one of the recipients of this funding. They will get $923,513 for infrastructure improvements like water, sewer, drainage, and roads. This grant will help build the Gillionville Woods Subdivision, which includes 29 single-family homes on six acres within the city. The City of Albany is covering ten percent of the total project costs, while the developer, Coleson LLC, is paying fifteen percent of the infrastructure costs.
City of Colquitt
The City of Colquitt is set to receive a $2.4 million grant for water and sewer infrastructure on a 23-acre site in the Legacy of Colquitt Subdivision. This project will lead to the construction of 49 single-family homes. Additionally, the improved infrastructure will support a 44-unit multi-family housing development nearby. The enhanced water and sewer capacity will also facilitate further development in the area, benefiting the local hospital. The City of Colquitt is contributing $100,000 towards these costs, with Vorsight Development as their partner.
Columbus Consolidated Government
Columbus Consolidated Government will get a $2.3 million grant for enhancements in water, sewer, drainage, and streets. This funding will enable the completion of the second phase and future stages of the Elliott’s Walk development, adding 24 single-family homes to the 18 already built in the first phase. Columbus had previously invested $1.6 million in infrastructure, which this new investment will build upon. NeighborWorks Columbus, a local financial institution focused on community development, is the partner for this project.
Douglas Coffee County Industrial Authority
The Douglas Coffee County Industrial Authority is also a recipient, awarded a $2.3 million grant for similar infrastructure improvements. This grant will support the building of 65 homes in a new subdivision near major employers. The City of Douglas and the Douglas Coffee County Industrial Authority are contributing $698,558 and $56,470 respectively, with Harper & Company Builders as the development partner.
Stephens County Development Authority
Lastly, the Stephens County Development Authority will receive a $478,400 grant to construct a sanitary sewer lift station. This infrastructure is key for the development of 318 housing units near a regional industrial park poised for expansion. The City of Toccoa and Stephens County are each chipping in $125,000 for this project, in collaboration with a local company, Shah Developers.