City of Charleston's $20 million affordable housing bond referendum up for vote on Tuesday

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston residents will be able to vote on a $20 million bond referendum for affordable housing.

If passed, the city can create more housing options for people with low and middle income levels.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and a community organization called Charlestonian's for Better Housing are asking for your vote in favor of the bond.

The cost of living is going up and city officials say the number of affordable housing units needs to climb too.

"Affordability for housing in Charleston is a serious issue," Tecklenburg said.

It's an issue Charleston resident William Johnson knows all about.

"The conflict down there where you're always trying to get in the housing or low affordable housing you could really afford, everybody keeps turning you down,"William said.

For years he said he stayed in a home in North Charleston not suitable for living well. It was also damaged by the 1,000-year flood, Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma.

"There was mold, mildew, parasites, worms coming in off the wall," Johnson said. "I couldn't handle no more of it. I was under stress."

He's in favor of the bond referendum that would create affordable housing options in the City of Charleston, his new home.

As of a month ago Johnson now lives in one of the new low-income housing developments for seniors on Laurens Street in downtown Charleston. It's called Williams Terrance.

"This has been the best move that we ever made in our lifetime to get down this way," Johnson said.

He says he loves the waterfront view.

If the bond referendum is passed, the city will partner more with other developers and organizations like the Charleston Housing Authority to restore housing and create affordable places for not only low-income but middle income levels. 

"That includes people like teachers, police officers, and fireman and nurses, folks that are in a working middle income level who now are forced to go way outside the city to find a place affordable to live and that compounds our traffic congestion," Tecklenburg said.

The bond will not raise taxes. Rent revenue of housing projects will be used to pay it back.

"God Blessed me to get here," Johnson said.

If you live in the City of Charleston you can vote on the affordable housing referendum at your precinct even if you don't have any other elections on your ballot.

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