ADVOCACY

The Advocates: Vote “Yes” For Housing

WRITTEN BY lclark 9 months ago

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On November 7, City of Charleston voters will decide on a $20 million bond to fund workforce affordable housing. The Chamber’s Board of Directors supports the referendum and encourages members who live in the City of Charleston to go to the polls on November 7 and vote yes for housing.

The big picture reasons for support are simple:

  1. Business runs on talent, and talent lives in homes. An employee with a quality home they can afford and a manageable commute time is much more likely to remain a productive employee.
  2. Drive until you qualify doesn’t cut it. Every person who can afford to live close to where they work means one fewer person driving a long way on our already crowded roads.
  3. Housing attainability impacts everyone. The people strained by housing costs are our colleagues, our neighbors and our families.

We need more homes in the market at price points attainable for residents at all income levels and this bond helps achieve that goal.

Now, the details on the bond referendum:

  • $20 million bond will create an estimated 800 housing units of all types equating to $25,000 per dwelling. This means bond funds will be highly leveraged with private investment and federal dollars.
  • Funds will allow acquisition of land, construction of new housing, renovation of existing structures and gap financing for affordable housing projects in partnership with developers.
  • All new housing created will either be workforce affordable in perpetuity or have a 30-year workforce affordable covenant.
  • Repayment on the 20-year bond will come from revenues generated from rental housing created by the bond.

Need more convincing about the scale of our housing challenge?

  • The median home sales price increased twice as fast as wages from 2010-15.
  • Average apartment rents are up nearly 50 percent region-wide since 2006.
  • Lower-income workers in Charleston spend an average of 71 percent of their income on housing and transportation.

Help spread the word in your office or neighborhood. Turnout for this off-cycle election is unlikely to be huge. City residents in odd-numbered council districts have nothing else on the ballot. A couple hundred votes can make all the difference.

Have a great weekend.

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