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Vote 'yes' for affordability



Charleston faces a housing affordability crisis, particularly on the peninsula, where thousands of low and even middle income workers are too often priced out of living close to where they work.

But everyone who lives and works anywhere in Charleston should care about housing affordability, because it affects and compounds myriad other issues from traffic to parking to urban sprawl and broader quality of life.

On Tuesday, a ballot referendum will ask city of Charleston residents whether or not they support $20 million in bonds to “assist with the acquisition, construction and equipping of safe and affordable housing for persons and families of low to moderate income.”

Charleston residents should vote “yes.”

The city Department of Housing and Community Development estimates that more than 800 new affordable units could be added with the bond money.

The general obligation bonds would be backed by the city’s taxing authority, but city officials have said that taxes won’t be raised. Rent revenue from new and rehabilitated properties would cover the cost.

To build new units, the city hopes to work with private for-profit and non-profit collaborators, allowing the bond money to stretch farther and create more affordable properties.

Individuals and families who make between 30 and 120 percent of the area median income would be the target market. In other words, the housing would be designed for hospitality and restaurant employees, teachers, policemen, firemen and other workers.

City Council would have final say over which projects eventually receive bond funds, meaning that the public will have a chance to weigh in on each use of public money. But again, no new taxes will be involved.

For about half of the city’s residents, the affordable housing referendum will be the only item on their ballots this Tuesday. It’s an incredibly important question, however, and well worth the effort to get out and vote.

Vote “yes” for a more affordable Charleston, and the transportation and quality of life benefits that will extend far beyond the future residents of 800 new and rehabilitated apartments and houses.




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A message from our President/Chief Executive Officer:

The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston was born of action on December 18, 1934 by a vote of the Charleston City Council. However, the actual permission for such a "creation" came via statute in the South Carolina General Assembly in March of 1934.

We have come a long way in our society, our City and our personal relationships. Nevertheless, the need for Public housing still exists today. We have so much more to do before we can truly say, the job is done.

Donald J. Cameron
President/Chief Executive Officer
Housing Authority of the City of Charleston