MACON, Ga. — Historic downtown Macon is changing again as it prepares to start construction on affordable housing units for the first time in decades.
“We're only as good as how we take care of those that can least afford to live in our communities," Mayor Lester Miller said to the crowd at Thursday’s groundbreaking.
The Macon Housing Authority along with DePaul USA, the parent company of homeless center Daybreak, are all-in on making housing in downtown Macon inclusive for all.
"It will allow 82 people initially to live here and to live close to their work here in downtown Macon so its workforce housing and we're very excited about it," Mike Austin, CEO of Macon Housing Authority, said.
The $18 million investment will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Austin says it will also see a return through continued growth to the area.
"Anytime you have good investment in a downtown, people tend to follow, so I think you'll see a lot more investment as this comes out of the ground," Austin said.
The site's seen its share of changes, once holding a gas plant.
For Sister Theresa Sullivan with Daybreak, the best change is helping get people off the streets.
"We will be able to help prevent homelessness, help people to just have a safe place to be," she said.
Sullivan says Daybreak saw 1,300 people in its medical clinic last year.
In an effort to tackle those challenges, there are 11 beds for a respite area of the health care clinic to help people who need a place to stay during a long recovery.
"By having a medical respite, it'll have case management that can work with people to make sure they follow up on their medications, to follow up with their specialists," Sullivan.
More than $2 million was raised by DePaul’s local campaign.
Construction is set to begin immediately and finish in 2023.