LaFayette / Rossville, GA – The cities of LaFayette and Rossville have been selected to participate in the next cohort of the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH). The public-private program assists the economic viability of a community by developing strategic housing-related solutions.
GICH will guide a housing committee team of over two-dozen individuals, engaged within each of the two cities, through a three-year program of collaboration and technical assistance related to housing and community development. The end result will be to create and launch a locally based plan to revitalize and stabilize the housing market in each city.
Rossville plans to focus on home ownership, stricter regulations to hold slumlord and blighted property owners accountable, and downtown residential development, among other areas. A partnership with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute earlier this year yielded data that showed a significant discrepancy between owner-occupied and rental property in Rossville, with nearly 46% of all housing units listed as rentals, with some indications that it could be higher.
“Ultimately, we hope this initiative will result in a stabilization of our transient housing rate and increase the owner-occupied home ownership ratio in Rossville,” said Elizabeth Wells, Rossville’s Economic & Community Development Consultant. “We need to focus on enhancing and strengthening the tax base with true mixed income neighborhoods, while continuing to meet the need of affordable housing.”
The GICH program will expand the opportunity to apply for tax credit programs for housing developers, encourage first time home ownership through education initiatives and loan products, and increase the competitiveness of applications for Community Development Block Grants to rehabilitate housing.
Rossville and LaFayette both plan to explore adding more diversification of housing mix, as 63% of Rossville’s housing stock was built over 50 years ago, while nearly 48% of LaFayette’s housing stock is more than half a century old.
LaFayette’s GICH team leader, Councilman Chris Davis, said “We are excited about the impact that the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing will have in both communities, along with how this work will positively impact the housing market, not only in our respective communities, but the county as a whole. We look forward to the collaboration between the North and the South ends of Walker County in LaFayette and Rossville.”
Only five communities are selected for GICH each year, with the LaFayette/Rossville selection being one of the first joint applications among peer to peer cities. The other four localities selected for the cohort include Adel, Statesboro, Hartwell and Ocilla.
GICH allows communities to collaborate on strategy and best practices to revitalize and strengthen their housing markets. Since its inception in 2005, 70 Georgia communities have benefited from this program.