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The Advocates: We Need More Tools in the Bucket!
On Tuesday, conversations filled our boardroom with leaders from our region and around the state discussing housing solutions. Experts, including Don Oglesby of Homes of Hope from Greenville and Allen Smith and Katherine O’Neill of OneSpartanburg, traveled to share their victories around attainable housing in the upstate. 

OneSpartanburg has found huge success in utilizing the Special Source Revenue Credit. I’ll explain how this works. Imagine you have a big box of colorful crayons. Now, let’s say you want to share your crayons with your friends, but you also want to keep some for yourself. The Special Source Revenue Credit in South Carolina is a bit like that. It’s a way for businesses and industries to receive special benefits when they share their money with the state. If businesses share some of their money with the state to create jobs or help the community (i.e., housing), they can receive a break on property tax. Is this a tool we could utilize in our metro region to get more units on the market at an attainable price? 

Our Equitable Housing for All panel shed light on the barriers that prevent homeownership for minorities and people of color. Tony Strain, a realtor at The AgentOwned Realty Company, works primarily in the Hispanic and Latino community. The biggest barrier for this community is often language. “Financial institutions must be more inclusive to ensure buyers understand what they are signing,” Tony stated. 

The Regional Housing Coalition has been working hard to bring awareness and knowledge to our region about the true realities that come with the lack of attainable housing. Our work will deepen as we aim to educate the region on the importance of attainable housing, advocate for missing middle housing and equitable transit-oriented development and activate local policies and tools to make housing affordable. 

“Since relocating to the Charleston region in 2015, I’ve seen numerous changes in the Lowcountry. As a single female, Big Sister and chair of the funding committee with the Regional Housing Coalition, the cost of housing and how to ‘make more housing’ are always at the front of my mind. Enter the Attainable Housing Summit. In one morning, the Chamber pulled together thought leaders and changemakers in housing from across the state. The common thread in every session was the need for connection in the city, county, private and public sectors. Change in our region is within our grasp if everyone is willing to do their part.” 
– Nikki Kuniej, Charleston Radio Group

I agree wholeheartedly with Nikki! The question is, are you willing to do your part? 

As you read this recap from your peers in the region, ask yourself, “Where can my industry help make funding for low-income homebuyers more available?”. “Where are language barriers preventing people from realizing their dreams of home ownership?”. “Can this piece of land be developed in a way to provide 40–50% of the units as attainable housing?”. “Where are my own biases preventing me from leaning in to help solve the problem?” 

If you haven’t yet considered joining the Regional Housing Coalition to lend your expertise to the work we are doing, I encourage you to reach out to learn how you can get involved.
Craig Logan, Housing Executive Fellow
Posted on
September 18th 2023
Written by
Justin Allen