The Story of Sams: How a Concern for Children Led to a Track Record in Housing
Sams Memorial Community Economic Development, Inc (Sams) is a nonprofit in rural, costal Georgia. Sams developed out of a church sponsored after-school program for children and did not consider getting involved in affordable housing development until its youth program staff analyzed the issues affecting the youth program participants.
The importance of safe, affordable housing was immediately apparent and the organization began to investigate how it could help. There were no organizations producing affordable housing in the community and few other resources. As a result, Sams cautiously moved into the affordable housing arena.
HAC's Southeast Regional Office worked closely with Sams Memorial Community Economic Development to help the organization obtain funds and learn the housing development process. As a result, this nonprofit minority community-based
organization was able to use Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a complex financing source, for its first housing development. The project, Live Oak Apartments in Ludowici, Ga., provides 40 apartments for low- and very low-income households, including six one-bedroom units reserved for elderly tenants. Affordable rental units are badly needed in this part of Georgia, so after completing Live Oak Sams began renovating another 40-unit complex.
Some of HAC's aid to Sams is possible because Georgia is one of 16 states in which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has contracted with HAC to provide technical assistance to Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Sams’s selection as a CHDO makes the group eligible both to receive this help from HAC and also to compete for CHDO set-aside funds from HUD’s HOME program.