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City looking to ease affordable housing crunch

The City of Hinesville may be taking another look at alleviating the problem of affordable housing.

City Manager Kenneth Howard told council members he has met with city staff and housing authority representatives, exploring several programs.

“We’re looking at an opportunity that will allow the city to partner to build affordable housing for the citizens of Hinesville,” he said. “I think it could be a great opportunity for us to adequately impact that. It is going to take some heavy lifting on both parts. But we are going to work toward that end.”

As part of the city’s Azalea Street redevelopment, there are seven homes to be built for its next phase. Those homes initially were going to be offered at market rates, but Howard said they are looking at converting those to help low- to moderate-income families.

Next, Howard said, the city may look at building affordable housing for renters and some for single- family housing.

More than 55% of the homes in the city are rentals, according to U.S. Census figures.

The median rent in Hinesville, according to, is $1,650 per month. It was about $1,400 a month in January 2022 and has eclipsed $1,800 a month. According to, the fair market rental price for a three-bedroom unit in Georgia is $1,097 a month.

The median annual household income is $49,383, based on U.S. Census data, which is $17,000 under the state average. The city’s poverty rate is 19%, 5% greater than the state’s poverty rate.

“We have some land we’re looking at,” Howard said, “and we have some property the city has as well and we can come back with recommendations that could greatly impact affordable housing in the city of Hinesville.”

What stirred the discussion over affordable housing was Council member Diana Reid’s plea for the city to help renters facing eviction for what she described as retaliation.

“You got people in this community who are hurting and they need help,” Reid said.

Reid urged council members to look into the city’s landlord ordinance and what recourses the city has under it.

“We have a committee for everything. We’ve got committees for signs,” she said. “I would like to have some serious thought with this.”

New legislation protecting tenants is making its way through the General Assembly. The state House has passed HB 404. If the Senate passes it, and it is then signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp, HB 404 would require rental properties to be “fit for human habitation” upon signing a lease. It also would mandate landlords maintain their properties throughout the lease.

The bill, sponsored chiefly by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among its provisions are prohibiting landlords from turning off a rental unit’s air conditioning in an attempt to force tenants to leave. It also would limit a tenant from paying a security deposit that is more than two months’ rent on the unit. It also would provide tenants with a written notification at least three days prior an eviction proceeding is filed if the tenant fails to pay rent or charges owed to the landlord.

Howard cautioned that the instances to which Reid referred may be civil matters. The city will look at how its ordinance is written and determine what recourse, if any, it has and what enforcement measures might be applied.

“If we have some legal recourse here from the city, we need to come up with some recommendation,” he said.

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