Housing authority looking to sell affordable homes to pay off debt

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 12:51 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:27 PM EST
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is looking to sell 18 of its homes slated for affordable housing to pay off around $800,000 in debt.

CCHRA manages Joseph Floyd Manor, Brighton Place and about 135 other houses in the county. The organization is a separate entity from both the county and the City of Charleston.

“What will happen with the proceeds is that we will effectively put it into the housing stock we currently maintain,” said CCHRA CEO Franklin Scott. “What it will do is effectively extend the useful life of the properties that we continue to work with in support of affordable housing.”

The homes CCHRA is selling are currently uninhabited and have been for more than a year. Scott says they don’t have the cash to fix them up right now, thus opting to sell them to an organization that can.

“All of these 18 homes are homes with the housing authority that are offline,” said Sandino Moses, chairman of the CCHRA board. “When I say they are offline, I mean that over a period of some years, as far as hurricane damage over the years and not receiving funds from HUD, the houses were damaged. When the houses are damaged they can’t be occupied and every day we lose money.”

The plan is to sell the homes to the Charleston County Council for $2.47 million. The plan went before the Charleston County Finance Committee on Thursday night and was approved.

Chairman of the council, Teddy Pryor, says they plan to use American Rescue Plan funds to make the purchase, fix up the homes and then provide them again as affordable properties.

Moses, Pryor and Scott all see this arrangement as a win-win. The county is using essentially free money from the federal government to purchase housing they can make affordable for low-income families and CCHRA gets out of property that is weighing down its finances.

“We look forward to the opportunity because it opens up us to be able to have the flexibility to pursue private finance and to support our housing activities,” Scott said. “Because in the long run sustainability is the biggest challenge that we face.”

In previous meetings, the CCHRA board has wrestled with the idea of replacing or refurbishing the current, decades old Joseph Floyd Manor. Clearing the organization’s debt is the first big step in making that goal a reality.

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