Written by CYP Steering Committee Member, Nikki Kuniej
If you were to ask the average young professional in Charleston, “what scares you most?”, a common answer would be heard: HOUSING. *insert the cinematic music score from the movie Psycho here…*
On Monday night, Executive Housing Fellow for the Chamber, Craig Logan gathered together a panel of housing experts to help make the market a little more understandable. The Attainable Housing panel pulled together Addy Berry from Prosperity Builders, Lynn Bowley from Charleston Habitat for Humanity, and Jaymes McCloud from J.H.W Enterprises.
Here are a few key points the panel made:
- Distinguishing between “affordable”, “attainable”, and “workforce” housing: Affordable housing is for residents who make 60% of the AMI (AMI= area median income). Attainable housing is housing for people who make 80-120% of the AMI. And workforce housing is designed for the backbone of our community…
- What does that last one mean? Think about your friends (or you) who are nurses, firefighters, or paramedics who might work in Mount Pleasant but can only afford housing in Summerville. Workforce housing is designed to provide housing options for people to live closer to where they work.
- Density isn’t scary! Lynn with Habitat for Humanity spoke to the cost of building new properties. Did you know the cost to build a duplex is 1 ½ times the cost of a single family home.
- What does that mean for the region? Building a duplex in place of a single family makes that house more affordable for the purchasers! More units means a decrease in cost.
- Repair programs are available to help keep homeowners in their properties. Did you know both the City of Charleston and Charleston Habitat for Humanity can help homeowners cover the cost of some structural and electrical repairs on their properties.
- What does this mean for the region? When we keep long term residents in their properties, it helps to keep housing cost across the region affordable for everyone, regardless of income bracket.
Yes there are a lot of changing factors in our region that contribute to the housing crisis we’re experiencing. But as our community comes together to hear viewpoints different from their own, that is how sizeable change can happen.
Ready to get involved in changing housing the Lowcountry? Your next step is connecting with Craig Logan and joining the Regional Housing Coalition. In the words of Logan, “The Regional Housing Coalition brings together business and community leaders to unify the region’s efforts to provide attainable housing to all people regardless of neighborhood or individual characteristics.”
As a CYPer, it is encouraging to know leaders in our community are pooling resources to make systemic change in housing for everyone.