The city of Savannah will sell off about 2,000 properties in what it calls the “last resort” to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The city council approved the plan Tuesday evening after a week of hearings on the issue.
It will be voted on by city council in June.
The move comes amid mounting pressure from neighbors, businesses and some of the city’s most prominent citizens to limit the spread and curtail the citywide popularity of the popular Airbnb properties.
The decision comes after an initial push by city officials to sell off properties and relocate people out of the immediate area where the virus has killed more than 7,000 people.
But the city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to keep the homes on the market, which will likely allow it to sell them to developers.
The homes will be owned by private individuals who will be paid the full market value of the homes, said Savannah Mayor Mike Riggs.
The city will also continue to pay rent on the homes.
The council voted to put the properties on a “non-priority” list and allow the city to sell the properties as needed.
Riggs said the city is also considering other ways to curb the spread.
He said he believes it would be too expensive for residents to leave and have a place to go if they could stay in Savannah.
The plan is in contrast to the city of Atlanta, which sold its 1,400 homes last week, saying it would have to relocate hundreds of thousands of people.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has argued that he was forced to sell to keep his city alive, saying the city has already spent millions to try to fight off the coronatavirus outbreak.