Leaders from around the region packed out our boardroom last Tuesday at the inaugural Attainable Housing Summit, ready to pioneer change in our present housing crisis. This is a crisis that, as learned throughout the summit, is not confined in its impact. The effects of this crisis touch all parts of our economy and community, and will continue to do so if no action is taken. Ready with solutions, presenters at the summit mapped out pathways of effective action that we can use moving forward.
Kicking off the summit, our presenting sponsor Truist discussed the road to homeownership. During this session, Kerry Davis and Julie Gomez shared steps that young professionals should consider when approaching homeownership and how events like vehicle purchases and opening credit accounts can impact a home buyer leading up to closing.
As they provided the Low Country Rapid Transit (LCRT) Update, Kathyrn Basha and Andrew Glazener drew attention to the importance of transit-oriented development, which is delivered by the LCRT systems currently being engineered. They emphasized that to increase effectiveness, affordable housing must line the corridor of these future transit systems. Methods to reach this goal include protecting and increasing Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) and calibrating mixed use workforce housing.
Katesha Breland, President of the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®, shared how their organization has taken steps to approach the attainable housing crisis while highlighting the importance of local elections and their impact on housing. Katesha encouraged attendees to do their research before going to the polls and gain an understanding of how candidates plan to take on attainable housing if elected.
During the Equitable Housing for All panel, Kravonda Forrest Simmons, Stephen Kohn and Tony Strain provided valuable insight on the barriers to equitable housing and the steps that must be taken towards reaching equity. They pointed out challenges of signing housing documents when you face a language barrier, trying to build credit in credit deserts and making housing decisions without education on homeownership. Panelists emphasized the importance of advocating for communities lacking equity, delivering more housing and financial literacy education, increasing representation in the real estate realm and supporting legislation that makes it easier for people of color to qualify for loans.
Touching on the way geography impacts the state of housing in our region, Chris Mothorpe of College of Charleston illustrated the impacts of flooding. He emphasized how public and private flood mitigation efforts are necessary to affordable housing endeavors.
To paint a picture of successfully developed affordable housing, Don Oglesby of Homes of Home, Inc. in Greenville and Allen Smith and Katherine O’Neill of OneSpartanburg, Inc. shared the innovative affordable housing solutions they have been implementing in their cities. Homes of Hope breaks the stigma of affordable housing through tactics such as supporting mixed income housing development and creating market quality affordable housing. Among other solutions, OneSpartanburg is working to create successful affordable housing in the heart of Spartanburg through mixed-use development.
As emphasized at every session in this summit, attainable housing is a challenge that has solutions within reach. We just need to ask ourselves: How can I play a part?
If you want to join the Regional Housing Coalition, reach out to Craig Logan at email@example.com. To further educate yourself on the housing crisis, check out our Housing Attainability page.