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 communities’ economic viability by developing strategic housing-related solutions. The two Walker County communities join a 2020 cohort of four other localities in Georgia: Adel, Statesboro, Hartwell and Ocilla.

This program 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 GICH.

This is a highly competitive program and only five communities are selected annually from across the state, with the LaFayette/Rossville selection being one of the first joint applications among peer-to-peer cities.

GICH will guide a housing committee team of over two-dozen individuals, engaged within each of the two cities, through a 3-year program of collaboration and technical assistance related to housing and community development. The objective of the Initiative is to help communities create and launch a locally based plan to revitalize and stabilize their housing market.

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.

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