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Vidalia Receives $2.5M Workforce Housing Grant

The City of Vidalia has received a $2,500,000 grant for workforce housing from the state, as announced by the Governor’s Office on Monday, January 8.

This grant, which came from the OneGeorgia Authority as a part of Governor Brian Kemp’s Rural Workforce Initiative, will help to fund the water, sewer, street, and drainage improvements for the Triple Oaks Subdivision, which is currently being built along Loop Road. The subdivision will feature 70 homes constructed by Stanley Farms in its first phase, and an additional 150 homes will be later added in phases 2 and 3 of the project.

'We were extremely excited to receive word from the OneGeorgia Authority and Department of Commu­continued from page

nity Affairs that we received the grant from the Rural Workforce Housing Initiative,” Vidalia Mayor Doug Roper reacted. “We are grateful for Governor Kemp's focus on addressing the housing issue facing so many communities and believe this will help us significantly provide more housing for those that either call Vidalia home or desire to relocate here. This project has several phases and could provide up to 210 homes, which is huge for us. Our area stands to see substantial growth in the coming years and this grant provides us with the means to have immediate impact around the issue of housing.'

This grant also comes after a recent study on housing within Toombs County, according to Toombs County Development Authority Executive Director Michele Johnson, who said the new housing will address a deficiency within the area.

“Workforce housing is a critical need for our community’s economic stability and growth,” Johnson commented. “Availability is vital for successful business and industry retention and recruitment efforts needed to grow economic opportunities. A need for local workforce housing was recently highlighted in the “Housing Study for Toombs County, Lyons, and Vidalia” performed by the Georgia Conservancy and MicroLife Institute as jointly initiated by the Board of Commissioners of Toombs County, City of Lyons, City of Vidalia, Georgia Power, Greater Vidalia Chamber, and Toombs County Development Authority. Local employment opportunities have outgrown our housing market, so attracting talent to meet the needs of current/ prospective business and industry has become increasingly challenging. The Authority fully supports the City of Vidalia’s project as a step in the right direction to address this issue.”

State Senator Blake Tillery serves on the One-Georgia Authority Overview Committee and also commented on this grant award, stating, “I want to thank Gov. Kemp and the OneGeorgia Authority for their support of the City of Vidalia. The grants will significantly impact our community, the infrastructure, and allow its residents to build and enjoy modern, cost-efficient housing. In order to grow the workforce of Vidalia, we have to have places for young families to live.”

Both the City of Vidalia and Stanley Farms are contributing to the total project costs of $2,985,891. The exact date of completion has not been yet been disclosed.

The grant comes as a second round of giving to communities. Totaling more than $9 million in infrastructure development, this new round of grants will ultimately support more than 400 units of housing across Vidalia and three other communities. In addition to meeting the grant and OneGeorgia Authority requirements, award recipients demonstrated strong collaboration between the affected communities and real estate developers.

'Last year, I made a commitment to promoting the growth of workforce housing in areas across our state experiencing record-breaking economic development,' said Governor Brian Kemp. 'This latest round of grants will help four more communities provide the needed infrastructure to meet demand as even more opportunity comes to rural parts of our state. Georgians deserve to be able to live in the same communities where they work, and this program is helping to make sure they can.'

Announced in the governor’s 2023 State of the State Address, the Rural Workforce Housing Initiative is helping to spur the development of critically needed workforce housing in communities across the state. The Georgia General Assembly approved $35.7 million to start the initiative in the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 budget signed into law in March 2023. This second round of successful grantees demonstrates meaningful change in workforce housing for these four communities and the benefits of the overall program. 'The OneGeorgia Authority is pleased to support these local communities in attaining their housing goals,' said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Christopher Nunn. 'At the department, we strive to build strong, vibrant communities in Georgia. This Initiative allows us to help communities that are pursuing deliberate workforce housing strategies.'

In addition to meeting OneGeorgia Authority requirements, applicants leveraged other funding sources to demonstrate community commitment to increasing access to affordable housing for workers. Use of funds is subject to all applicable state laws and regulations, as well as to the policies and requirements of the OneGeorgia Authority and the Department of Community Affairs. OneGeorgia funds must be expended within the timeframe specified in the grant or loan award documentation, which is generally two years from the date of the award.

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