Voters to see housing issues on 2023 ballot in Thomasville

Candidates of District 1 are bringing housing to the front of their campaign.
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 8:20 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - When you think of Thomasville, the charm of the downtown area likely comes to mind, but that’s not what’s on some voter’s minds as election day draws near.

“So I’m not saying that some of things are not being done, it’s just not enough. Why? Because we’ve always been last in prioritizing everything for our city. The Southside and the West side have been last,” District One Candidate Lucinda Brown said.

Dilapidated homes and housing continue to be an issue here in District 1 Thomasville, but it’s something that candidates say they are addressing and finding solutions towards improving the infrastructure of these dilapidated homes and also revitalizing the community.

“The houses are in bad condition with no insulation, no central air heating, some people still running fireplaces on this side of town,” Thomasville Resident Antwan Smith said.

Candidates of District 1 are bringing housing to the front of their campaign. Councilwoman Wanda Warren currently holds the seat and says the city has implemented and executed plans to revitalize areas in the community that have housing needs.

“The goal at the end of the day is to make sure that we are setting all our homeowners up for success and we are doing everything we can in working with community partners within the community. We are helping a lot of homeowners renovate their property and get them in a more viable condition,” Councilwoman Wanda Warren said.

Now this is just one of the lots here on the West Side where Councilwoman Warren says the city’s new ordinance helps private owners tear down those dilapidated buildings in hopes of revitalizing the community.

“There were two dilapidated homes and one owner decided they wanted to tear down their property and the other owner decided she wanted to renovate her property so we are working with that homeowner so that she can renovate her property,” Warren said.

Some residents tell WALB that they want to see the buildings being used to help provide homes for those less fortunate.

“I think it’s not a bad idea to invest in some of these houses. It would decrease the rent and it would give people some options - a place to move, a place to stay,” resident Sammy Fountain said.

Residents on the South and West Side of Thomasville are voicing their concerns about Housing as election day is around the corner.

“I think fixing them up, I think tearing them down, doing away with them is a waste of money, waste of time when people could use them compared to being on the street or being homeless,” Fountain said.

Dilapidated homes on the west and southside of Thomasville are something that residents and candidates both agree are a problem.

“A lot of the conditions of the houses are pretty bad. This is an old neighborhood, no one’s never really invested any money or time into developing anything,” Smith said.

Candidate for District 1 Lucinda Brown says she believes the housing crisis starts with mental rehabilitation. She says when people are in an environment where they live better, they tend to do better in society.

“Our young people do not have anywhere to go, nowhere to move, and then they’re paying astronomical amounts trying to pay for rent,” Brown said.

This street has three dilapidated homes that sit next to each other in this neighborhood, an issue that Brown says she has a plan to correct.

“I have been on, on our GICC (Georgia Initiative for Community Housing Board) since 2017,2018 and we have been looking at all kinds of ways to develop more housing in Thomasville that’s affordable. Some people say affordable, but I say Income Driven, because Affordable to you, may not be affordable to me,” Brown said.

Residents say they do notice that there is a difference between the two districts, and they feel that their side of town is neglected.

“You go into the other neighborhoods, it’s better but it’s not that great here,” Smith said.

“As far as the way the houses look here, it seems like there is no concern,” Fountain said.

“Voters need to remember the condition of our community as far as dilapidated homes, there has been a lot of homeowners rennovate their properties and get them in a viable condition,” Warren said.

Election day is Nov. 7, and both candidates are encouraging District 1 residents to go out and cast your vote, as your vote matters.

Residents say that some homes on the southside and westside need renovations.