Group calls for affordable housing, job training along Charleston's Eastside
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Into the afternoon Tuesday, more than 150 people signed an online petition seeking affordable housing and minority business opportunities along Charleston's Eastside.
Former city council member, Kwadjo Campbell started the petition on change.org, and is now working with members of the East Central neighborhood association to bring their concerns before city council.
"Zoning policies, land use policies, they've been silent," Campbell said of council.
The Eastside community, nestled between East Bay and Meeting Streets downtown, is also ridden with homes in desperate need of repair.
Hannah Yelman moved into the community nine months ago and is eager to see improvements closer to home.
"These homes are condemned, and still standing, not sure how," Yelman said.
"It is a beautiful area. It just needs a little more upkeep."
Upon construction of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, the city of Charleston and the South Carolina Department of transportation came to a mitigation agreement valued at $3 million.
The money was intended to assist communities adversely impacted by the new bridge.
So far, funds have been set aside to make street level repairs along Huger Street, which include new lighting, curbs, and pedestrian paths.
In addition to affordable housing, Campbell proposed minority business opportunities which includes job training and the use of minority contractors for future city development
"After the Emanuel nine , there was just a spirit in Charleston to come together to fight for the right thing," he said.
"We believe saving the Eastside, saving diversity in downtown Charleston is the right thing."
Development plans for the Eastside community were not among agenda items during Tuesday's city council meeting, but councilman Robert Mitchell, who represents the district said he is working with the housing authority to provide a mixture of new housing for the area.
Mitchell is also a HUD-approved housing counselor for United Way.
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