In Chatham County, 14.4% of residents live below the poverty line. And as Chatham County grows in the coming years, the amount of affordable housing available for low-income families will dwindle under the pressures of supply and demand.

On Monday, June 17, Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, the City of Port Wentworth, and Chatham County, took a step toward providing attainable housing for residents of Port Wentworth.

“I’m so elated that after a year and a half, it’s finally beginning. Thank you to Chatham County and the City of Port Wentworth for partnering with us, Habitat for Humanity, on this journey,” Zerik Samples, the CEO of Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity, said.

The project will bring over 80 single-family detached homes and quadplexes to Cantyre Street in Downtown Port Wentworth.

"This mission captures the essence of what we strive for here in the City of Port Wentworth," said Port Wentworth Mayor Pro Tem Gabrielle Nelson. "A collective effort to uplift our neighbors and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. Change often brings concerns, but we are confident that this new development will yield positive and lasting impacts that our community deserves.”

This project closely aligns with Chatham County Commission's priority of investing in affordable housing, housing capacity, and making the dream of homeownership accessible to Chatham County residents. Chatham County's partnership in this project includes a commitment of $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Recovery Fund funds to provide soil testing, land acquisition, and site planning.

This project Chatham County is proud to partner with Coastal Habitat for Humanity and Port Wentworth for this worthy and future-facing development.

"This is the first in a series of partnerships that the county will enter into in developing attainable housing," Chatham County Chairman Chester Ellis said. "Statistics tell us that in the next three to five years, we're going to have to come up with more than 12,000 homes for people to live in, so we can take care of the homeless as well as those who are in low-to-moderate incomes. I look forward to more groundbreakings and doing what we need to do to meet the needs in Chatham County."