Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH)

What is GICH?

GICH stands for Georgia Initiative for Community Housing. GICH is based at the University of Georgia in Athens and helps Georgia communities improve their quality of life and economic vitality through the development of locally-driven housing and revitalization strategies through a three-year training and assistance program.

The City of Cochran became a GICH community in 2017. Since then, Cochran has developed a Joint Comprehensive Plan along with Bleckley County, built and repaired local housing, has held local Clean-Up Days and Scrap Tire Amnesties and, and accomplished many more goals to improve Cochran’s community.

Activities & Accomplishments

The Cochran GICH community helped to bring more affordable housing into town through the Havenwood Gardens project with the assistance of Lowcountry Housing Communities, LLC. and Fairway Management, Inc. Havenwood I, which was recently completed and boasts 50 units for low-income families, is just the beginning of this project. Havenwood Daisy Senior, Havenwood II, and Havenwood III will be developed next.

Cochran has also gone forward with its Demolition Assistance Program, which helps low-income household property owners with demolishing dilapidated structures on their properties. If an owner qualifies being part of a low-income household, the City will pay for testing, demolition, and disposal of the dilapidated property. Owners must pay $250 to the City for the demolition. Please see the link “Demolition Assistance Program” at the bottom of the page for instructions on how to apply. Applications are accepted, evaluated, and funded on a first in/first out basis but are welcomed at any time.

Clean-Up Day, which began in 2015, is held every year near Earth Day. On this day, citizens of Cochran come together to clean up litter and trash along roadsides. Cochran also hosts a Scrap Tire Amnesty during the week leading up to Clean-Up Day, as well as on the day itself. Cochran citizens can dispose of rimless tires through the City for no charge during this time.

Cochran’s GICH community has also been awarded the Community HOME Investment Program (CHIP) grant to fund the rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes and to fund the building and renovation of affordable single-family homes for sale. This year’s homes have already been determined. Please contact City Hall (478-934-6346) for more information.

GICH established the Yard of the Month (YOTM) contest in summer of 2019. Since then, a beautiful yard from the Cochran community has been chosen every month as a winner. Winning yards can be seen in the Times New Journal as well as on the Cochran GICH Facebook page. Owners of the winning yards also receive a sign to display in their yard for the next month.

Our Projects

GICH Spring 2019 Report
GICH Spring 2020 Report
Bleckley County and City of Cochran Joint Comprehensive Plan
Clean-Up Day 2022 Flyer
Havenwood Gardens
Demolition Assistance Program

Yard of the Month
CHIP Housing Grant

Other Resources

Cochran GICH Community Facebook Page
GICH Main Website
Downtown Development Authority
Cochran-Bleckley Chamber of Commerce
Industrial Development Authority

Utility Assistance Programs