Group pushing to make affordable housing better in Charleston County

Group pushing to make affordable housing better in Charleston County

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Area Justice Ministry introduced a new proposal to bring all Charleston municipalities together for one reason – the issue of creating affordable housing.

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry's (CAJM) Housing Action Plan said it would come up with a proposal that would create more opportunities for affordable housing within the community.

Hundreds of people attended Monday night's Nehemiah Action Assembly where the group introduced its action plan.

Council members from North Charleston, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Charleston County all said yes to supporting the plan.

"We have no middle class. It's a real disservice to the entire area that we have priced ourselves out of the market for middle income people, forget low income people there's nowhere for them other than Goose Creek, Summerville, and the outlying areas," said Sharon Hox from Mt. Pleasant.

Many municipalities in Charleston have their affordable housing plans already in place, but CAJM wants them together as a region.

"I think they certainly should be willing to try and work together," said CAJM Executive Board member LuAnn Rosenzweig. "That's what we're asking for tonight is for them all to form a housing coalition and work together to develop a proposal for an affordable housing trust fund and the regional level that works for all municipalities."

Rosenzweig said a regional affordable housing plan is important because the people living in the area can't afford the high prices.

"This is not the poorest of the poor we're talking about. But it is our average citizen. Almost 50 percent of the population in Charleston pays more than 30 percent of their income for either rent or mortgage," said Rosenzweig.

The Regional Housing Trust Fund's proposal said the goal is "to establish a dedicated local funding source for the creation, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing for those in our community earning 50% of less of the area media income."

The first step in CAJM's action plan is to create a regional housing coalition to implement a housing action plan.

The goal would then be for that coalition to meet in the next few months and come up with a proposal to put on the Charleston municipality's council agenda by October 2018.

Charleston County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said yes to supporting the action plan, but said it won't be easy.

"I quite frankly know they're going to be a lot of bumps in this road," said Rawl. "It's going to require an awful lot of consistency over a long period of time. But I'll help."

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.