Habitat for Humanity: Affordable housing harder to build East of the Cooper
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) -
Land to build affordable homes for families has been hard to find in Mount Pleasant. It’s a constant problem facing the Habitat for Humanity East of the Cooper.
Allison Herrin has been living in her home for 5 years now. It was provided to her by Habitat for Humanity.
Herrin said, “I was a middle class stay at home mom for years and literally got thrust into poverty over night after my divorce. Since I had stayed at home, unfortunately employers don’t consider that job experience.”
Herrin struggled to raise 3 boys while living in Mount Pleasant. She liked the schools for her kids and wanted to be close to work and family. Since Herrin had a family connection to the East Cooper area, she qualified to get a home built by habitat for humanity.
"Even moms who live in poverty have the same dreams for their children that any moms has, whether she's middle class, poverty or wealthy. It's really been helpful for us with this habitat home to live in Mount Pleasant,” said Herrin.
It costs more to build affordable housing in Mount Pleasant.
Robert Hervey, Executive Director of the East Cooper Habitat for Humanity said, "The single biggest roadblock is the cost of land for us. Mount Pleasant is a very expensive place to live."
Habitat for Humanity pays about $40,000 to buy land there, that's nearly double the amount of other areas in the Lowcountry. Hervey says more affordable housing is needed East of the Cooper, for those who are in lower income brackets.
"We feel we are helping the community in providing a place for those folks who can't afford a fully priced house in Mount Pleasant. We are allowing them to live close to work,” said Hervey.
Habitat for Humanity currently builds 3 homes a year East of the Cooper. Homeowners must be involved from the beginning to end.
Herrin said, “A lot of people think that it's a free home, but it's not. Not only did we put in the 300 plus hours as our down payment, we do pay a mortgage of almost $400 a month, but that was certainly a lot different than $1,200 a month. That's where the stability comes in for us."
Herrin has started a non-profit group called Maia Moms helping single moms get more education. She says she couldn’t have done it without Habitat for Humanity.
The town of Mount Pleasant has worked with Habitat for Humanity by providing grants helping with the cost of building.