AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Augusta-Richmond County is receiving $3,483,201 from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan. “This funding is aimed at providing safe, affordable housing to Georgians who have struggled to keep a roof over their heads amid the economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.
Augusta Housing and Community Development tells NewsChannel 6 the funding is a “relief.”
“At first, we were wondering how we were going to reach the masses,” Shauntia Lewis, the Deputy Director for Augusta Housing and Community Development, says. “We were wondering how we could touch the other neighborhoods. Now, we’re able to take a moment to breathe and plan. We’ll be able to take a closer look at our housing market so we can increase affordable rentals and homeowners throughout Augusta.”
The funding will be used to “revitalize the city.” Augusta Housing and Development has invested millions in several neighborhoods, including Laney-Walker and Bethlehem. More than 20 homes are currently under construction and are selling quickly.
“It was a great investment,” Steve Lewis says. He bought his Bethlehem home three years ago and grew up just a few blocks away.
“It was kind of a bad area before. There were drugs and prostitution. It has changed a lot since they started building these homes.”
Mattie Mitchell agrees the neighborhood has changed. She has lived in Bethlehem for more than 50 years and is hopeful other neighborhoods can be revitalized as well.
“It lifts my spirit,” she says. “It’s important for people who are from this area to stay in this area so they don’t have to go somewhere else.”
Augusta Housing and Community Development will outline how it plans to use the $3.4 million in funding in the coming weeks.