Roswell gets housing help

Changing demographics lead to shift

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ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell has been chosen to participate in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH), a three-year program that assists cities in addressing their housing needs. Through GICH, Roswell will evaluate demographic changes in the community and the impact those changes will have on housing.

“Like a lot of communities, we have had demographic shifts that came out during the last census,” said Roswell Redevelopment Manager Stefanie Dye. “We have an aging population and changing demographics. There is considered to be a lack of housing diversity in Roswell. This program will help us see what kind of solutions there are and what’s acceptable to our community.”

GICH will assist the city in developing a housing strategy that will be presented to the mayor and Roswell City Council for consideration at the end of the program period.

During the three-year program, Roswell’s designated Community Housing Team will receive facilitation, instruction and technical assistance as it designs and implements its strategy. The 15-person team includes representatives from local government, businesses (banks, real estate, builders/developers), nonprofits, faith-based organizations and the public housing authority.

The centerpiece of the initiative is a series of retreats where the team will work directly with a facilitator/housing professional and engage in cross-community sharing and collaboration. The first retreat will take place in February 2013.

Roswell is the first city in the metro Atlanta area to be selected for the program. Dye said most communities taking part are rural ones.

“[The GICH] sees that we can be an example for other communities like us,” Dye said.

Each year, at least five communities are identified to participate in GICH. In addition to Roswell, this year’s selected communities include the cities of Dalton, Greensboro, Lithonia and Pembroke.

GICH is a collaboration of the Housing and Demographics Research Center, the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Municipal Association. It is also partially funded by the Georgia Power Company.