Charleston making progress in affordable housing goal with 6 new homes
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Working to provide more affordable housing options in the Lowcountry, the city of Charleston unveiled six new homes Thursday to help families afford rent in the downtown area.
Located on America Street and Father Grants Court, the buildings will be home to six families in August or September after construction, which began last year, is complete.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and Councilman Robert Mitchell celebrated the homes’ construction Thursday morning.
“In the city of Charleston, we strive to do affordable housing, rental and homeownership, and doing that can probably take away some of the blighted areas that we have in this community,” Mitchell said. “People are looking for that, and people very much need of housing in this community.”
The families were granted the homes through the City of Charleston’s homeownership initiative program that is designed to ensure that residents from diverse economic backgrounds share in the American dream of homeownership, according to the city’s website.
Charleston currently has 1,092 proposed affordable housing projects that are being permitted and likely to be completed in the next two to three years.
“It’s really difficult to pull all the pieces together to make this an affordable product, given the cost of real estate today and the cost of construction,” Tecklenburg said. “But we’ve put together through our housing department, great effort, teams of people and financing just to make this possible in our city because it is so needed.”
The push for affordable housing in Charleston continues after a city plan found the area needs an additional 16,000 units to eliminate affordability gaps by 2030.
“There’s a big change between what was then and what is now so far has been to get to affordability. The dirt is so expensive now and the property is going to be so expensive,” Mitchell said. “The city tried to put as much subsidy as we can to try to bring it down, so some people can be able to afford it.”
An interactive website shows where proposed, existing and committed units are located throughout Charleston and how many units each project includes.
Focusing on Thursday’s event, Tecklenburg added that the Father Grants Court homes are a gentrification buster.
“With rising housing costs and property values, particularly people who had been renting, have families that had been renting for decades, they’ve had to relocate when their properties turned over and taxes went up. To provide these kinds of homes, where we have covenants that maintain affordability for them, for homeowners, for a century to come,” he says. “This provides that stability for working families to be able to live in our city and that’s just vital to the long-term health of our city.”
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