Lack of affordable housing costs South Carolina $8 billion


COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Many areas in South Carolina have seen population growth and an increase of jobs, but many communities are also having trouble providing housing that workers in those areas can afford.

The South Carolina State Housing has been looking at the very issue and has compiled a detailed study on the housing situation in South Carolina, specifically affordable housing.

“There’s a multi billion dollar tourism industry. We have more than 50 people moving to the lowcountry a day as a result we have to build homes and housing for those people,” explained Representative Marvin Pendarvis.

The Charleston lawmaker says he’s seen the shortage of housing in his own district. Pendarvis and several others filed bills in the 2019 session to increase tax incentives for affordable housing developments.

Rep. Pendarvis went into detail about the inclusionary zoning bill he filed. “It requires developers if they’re going to build housing to set aside a certain percentage to be used towards affordable housing.”

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, South Carolina is short more than 80,000 affordable housing units.

Alisa Mosley, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Coalition of SC, outlined some of the reasons affordable housing is needed in the state.

“The annual housing income needed to afford a 2-bedroom home at fair market value is $34,000 and if you’re working in a warehouse or certified medical assistant you may not be making $34,000 a year.”

The shortage is created by different obstacles, including approval of construction.

“Not in my backyard is very prevalent in a lot of communities because residents already there do not see the value of affordable housing,” added Mosley.

The comprehensive South Carolina Housing Study is scheduled for release on August 26, 2019.

The bills filed by lawmakers will be picked up when session resumes in January.

The NLIHC also reports that 27% of renters in the state are extremely low income. Of those 45% are employed and 21% are disabled.

Key takeaways from the SC housing study:
~In 41 of the 46 state’s counties the average SC renter cannot afford rent for a basic two-bedroom apartment
~ There are about 72,000 affordable housing units in the state; serve 1 out of 5 low-income renters
~ Not having enough affordable housing costs the state $8 billion a year in public assistance and charity

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