The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing is a three-year program that is jointly administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the University of Georgia. The program aims to help communities around the state meet their housing and neighborhood revitalization needs. Local governments are chosen through a competitive application process, with five new communities being welcomed into the program each year.
Each participating community forms a “Housing Team” that consists of individuals from various segments of the community. Active members of the Harlem Housing team include a realtor, a church elder/business owner, a retired citizen, a county commissioner, and, of course, city officials. Members of the Housing Team attend two facilitated retreats per year where they are educated on a variety of housing issues and they are given an opportunity to hear about – and most importantly learn from – the good work that is going on in other communities. They also develop a work plan that is actively pursued during the following 6 months.
The goals of the Harlem GICH Housing Team are as follows:
- Controlling Our Own Destiny
- Ensure that future development enhances our identity and builds upon our existing sense of community
- Leverage Public Housing
- Explore various options to address aging public housing currently in Harlem
- Keep schools in City and ensure that existing school sites are redeveloped in a manner consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods
- Maximize our relationship with Fort Gordon
- Provide housing options for active and retired military personnel and families so that Harlem can serve as Fort Gordon’s “Hometown”
The Mission of the Harlem GICH Team is to plan and shape our community’s future, and we pledge to do that by:
- Preserving and enhancing our City’s intrinsic charm and character
- Creating opportunities for a wide range of quality housing by leveraging our unique assets
- Managing our community’s growth and development so that Harlem continues to prosper
Preserve – Create – Prosper
The Harlem Housing Team has accomplished a number of substantial goals including the completion of a city-wide housing inventory, advocating for implementation of a vacant property registry, applying for a CHIP grant, and advocating for an Urban Redevelopment Plan. The GICH program has given the City a vehicle to plan for future growth, and the Housing Team’s work is particularly timely due to the growth that is anticipated at Fort Gordon.
For more information about the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing, including annual reports, please click here. For more information about the City’s Housing Team and its efforts, please contact the City Manager at (706) 556-3448.