Mt. Pleasant leaders talk about moving forward with affordable housing

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - On Monday, leaders in Mount Pleasant talked about moving forward with plans for more affordable housing in the area.

Right now, 70 percent of the people who work in the town, don't live there – and that's what the Housing Task force is trying to change as the cost of living continues to rise.

"For the people who live here and own homes, it's great. Except they can't easily move to the next home. So they're getting pinched as well. For the ones who work here but don't live here it's a really bad thing," says Rich Estes, the founder and CEO or HomeTrackr.

Members of the Housing Task Force say there are few examples of workforce and affordable housing in the area—which, in Mount Pleasant, they consider to be about $270,000 or less for purchase and $1,588 or less per month for rent.

"Market economy is a great thing builders developers there's more cash into the system right now and that's a great thing! We don't want to stop that. But there are ways to drive affordable housing moving forward," Estes says.

Those with the task force spoke to 800 residents over the last year about their thoughts on affordable housing.

Estes says one of the big things they pulled from data is that a lot of people felt negatively about it because they think they're "very siloed places in the community that are filled with crime. Places that you don't want to live near, that you don't want your kids to play with." Estes says that's very far from what affordable and workforce housing is in today's world.

They're trying to attract firemen, policemen, school teachers – people who work in Mount Pleasant every day who may not make that much money.

"We've really got to step back and not just do what's maybe popular, but do what's right for the community to afford," Estes says.

Their goal moving forward -- creating a 501(c)(3) housing trust and a permanent position in the planning office.

They're hoping to have that permanent position in the planning office within the next few months.

That gets it kick started and then officials hope it will turn into something permanent – where they can continue adding affordable housing.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.