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Charleston leaders consider housing support, changes to 10-year plan

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 7:54 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council will discuss how to use nearly a half-million dollars in COVID-19 relief funding for housing for those who may be struggling in our community.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provided the City of Charleston $488,000 of funding that they hope will be in the hands of the people in just a few weeks.

That total will include $133,000 which will first go to preserve housing in order to prevent homelessness and to assist with rent and mortgage. The money is coming from the federal CARES Act. Those funds will be distributed to entities like Humanities Foundation and Palmetto CAP who will run the application process. They also are expected to notify many of their clients when the money is available.

The money will be distributed based on need on a case-by-case basis to people who are considered low-income or “house burdened.”

Typically a low-income person is considered to be someone who makes $16,000 a year or less and someone considered “house burdened” spends 30% or more of their monthly income on housing.

The other $300,000 will go those who are homeless right now, helping them find homes and get back on their feet again. This will also be handled through separate entities like Trident United Way.

Also up for discussion will be changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, a 10-year guiding document for all decisions the city makes. It determines where the city will grow with the future of the city in mind.

But like many things, some deadlines on the plan are being pushed back. All public engagement surrounding the plan was supposed to kick off at the beginning of May, but now they will be moving it back a few months to make sure people can gather safely. City officials say the overall plan is still set to be completed by February.

The plan is set to have a strong focus primarily on climate change and the rising sea levels, making it vastly different than any others. City officials say these rising sea levels are the main threat the city is facing. They will be scientists’ and experts’ opinions on how the city can best adapt.

Affordable housing is another big issue up for discussion within the comprehensive plan. And city officials say although the plan is broad, they hope it can make a difference for those looking for affordable housing in the future.

The plan will guide every single land-use decision that goes before planning commission and city council on a weekly basis for the next decade.

The meeting will be at 5 p.m.

You can submit comments by phone at 843-579-6313 or by leaving a comment by filling out the form at http://innovate.charleston-sc.gov/comments/.

All requests to speak at the meeting and all comments need to be in by noon Tuesday.

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