State representative looks to help Valdosta housing crisis through education
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - The housing prices in Georgia are at an all-time high due to supply and demand and in Valdosta, the housing market is in a crisis, according to state leaders.
Housing is an issue that many people in Lowndes County are currently experiencing; an issue that is on state representatives’ minds.
Affordable housing has been plaguing Lowndes County and Valdosta since inflation began in 2022. Dexter Sharper, the Georgia representative for District 177 which covers Valdosta, says there was a backlog with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that contributed to raised rent prices. Now, state leaders are looking for solutions in the state legislature.
“You have two and three people in one home that should be a single-family home, but it’s just the pricing is so outrageous and we’re trying to work in good energy with property owners and landlords to work with some of the people that need help. And the requirements are killing a lot people. They’re having to have three times the amount of rent and in this area that we live in, a lot of people are not making that on their own,” Rep. Sharper said.
But if you are looking for public housing or are in need, Thomas McIntyre, Valdosta city councilman for District 3, says it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“We no longer live in that home, it’s been sold off, but it’s been a stepping stone and you can see where I am now, so it means more than just moving into a home. It opens up doors to the future in a really big way,” Councilman McIntyre said.
And more people are seeking emergency housing options and as director of social services for Sister Nuala Mulleady of St. Johns Evangelist Catholic Church says her church is stepping up.
“We have so many requests for emergency shelters, so we decided in addition to helping people with emergency shelters, we wanted to do an outreach for long-term housing.”
Sharper says financial education will help the housing crisis in Valdosta as housing issues are a big priority right now in the state capital.
“So, there’s a lot of things that we’re really working on at the state capital for affordable housing and also home ownership, so it is a big priority you know at the state capital and we’re in session now, working on those things. Financial literacy, financial awareness, we need to get it back as young as middle school. We just passed a law that in 2023, in the state of Georgia, it’s mandatory for them to take personal finances in high school so that’s a big step,” Sharper said.
McIntyre stresses the importance of implementing financial classes in schools. He says growing up, financial literacy was taught years ago in public school. Now they’ve decided to bring it back.
“It’s very important because this is just the first step, if you don’t know how to manage your finances, then you run the risk of losing your home which will potentially put you back to where you started,” McIntyre said.
“I just hope that everybody would understand the importance of financial literacy in all of our communities,” Sharper said.
The financial literacy law calls for all students in either 11th or 12th grade to take a half-credit course in financial topics such as budgeting and credit management.
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