Interview with Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless in Savannah, GA
South Shore Roofing, a local roofing company from Savannah, Georgia, recently began a local campaign in collaboration with local non-profit and non-governmental organizations. In this interview, we would like to present one of them, The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, whose goal is to reduce the number of homeless individuals and families in the County.
Every human deserves to have a warm home. Therefore, we appreciate organization’s mission and work and would like more people could help them. Read more about their work, motivations, goals, toughest moments and find out why they love their work in the following interview.
Introduction: To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization.
The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) provides overall leadership and ensures implementation of the Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC). Our mission is ‘To lead the effort to build and sustain community practices to eliminate homelessness. CSAH writes and secures annual HUD funding to support community work for homeless individuals and families. CSAH provides street outreach (homeless camps), case management and housing supports. At present, CSAH is in the development phase of the Tiny House Project. This project will serve 72 homeless veterans.
- What do you do exactly?
And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?
CSAH was founded by the Georgia Legislature in 1989 to ensure coordination of homeless services in Chatham County. CSAH is a 501C3 nonprofit. CSAH works with other service providers, provides street outreach, case management and is building Tiny Homes for homeless veterans. CSAH works closely with community stakeholders to find strategic approaches to reduce the number of homeless individuals and families in the County.
- What motivates you?
Describe your mission passion
CSAH staff are passionate about serving and ensuring an increase in quality of life for the 4,513 homeless persons served in 2016. CSAH staff believe that homelessness can be solved by providing affordable housing to those who need it. We are motivated by the many options available to move our community toward an equitable approach to ensuring everyone has a place to live.
- Tell us about your goals
1) Over five years, house 72 homeless veterans currently living in shelter or homeless camps.
2) Secure commitment from City and County leaders to work together to create a master plan for the development of affordable housing in Chatham County.
3) Strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit homeless service provider sector to allow for strong outcomes and reduced numbers of homeless persons.
- What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?
Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.
I would question the need for the development of more nonprofit organizations. Rather, I would encourage current nonprofits to embrace deep collaboration and share resources to strengthen their combined ability to positively impact those they serve.
The development of the Tiny House project has been a long 3 year journey. As this approach is new to our area, we had many firsts and plenty of frustration. Relationship building and listening to the concerns of others is the best way to move forward and address barriers. A ‘no’ sometimes can lead to a better ‘yes’ down the road.
- What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
I have been doing this work since 1987 (nonprofit) and have had many, many fulfilling moments. Inevitably, the most fulfilling moments revolve around a ‘win’ that supports an individual or a family in need. A recent win was the approval by City Council for the Tiny House Project to move forward. This means that soon, 72 persons will be living in their own homes.
- What separates you from the rest? Why you?
Hmmm… I am not a fan of questions like these as I think my work success is only possible due to the efforts of all the staff on our team. I would add that having reached by 50’s I have learned patience and have gained some wisdom. Wisdom to draw on is important when taking on new things especially things that others might not support.
- Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?
Not scheduled as yet. We had a major event in May.
- What is it that you love most about what you do?
Doing meaningful work! It is very important to me that when I come home tired that I feel I am doing something worthwhile that benefits others.
- What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?
Raising the funds needed to move the Tiny House Project beyond Phase I.
Contact: How can people reach out to you?
Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media:
Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH)
PO Box 8936
Savannah, GA 31412