“Power is the ability to achieve a purpose. Whether or not it is good or bad...
Majority of Charleston Homeowners Spend More Than 30% of Household Income on Housing Expenses
As wages and salaries remain fairly flat and housing prices in our region increase, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individuals and families to find affordable places to live and achieve home ownership.
WCIV | ABC News 4 recently reported that Lowcountry housing prices are rising twice as fast as Lowcountry wages. CCF discussed housing costs with community members, and the data revealed that between 2012-2016, the majority of the households in our service area spent more than 30% of their household income on housing expenses. Many renters are dealing with low median incomes and rising rent prices, and those who do own homes are facing increasing household costs which makes it harder for them to hold onto their homes.
These figures prove the demand for affordable and attainable houses is growing exponentially. Numerous community stakeholders recently attended Bringing Workforce and Affordable Housing to the South Carolina Lowcountry, convened by Jan Malinowski, President of Palmetto State Bank, and Art Fleming, Social Venture Partner/ Director of Community Investment Services of FHL Bank Atlanta.
The group sought to have a real conversation about challenges facing the Lowcountry, and wanted to leave the meeting with actionable tasks and a strong follow up plan. As cities, municipalities, counties, and corporations attempt to address the demands this issue puts on all aspects of our community, it supports the notion that affordable housing should be viewed as an infrastructure issue, much like roads, energy, and transit.
Developers shared a detailed account of launching affordable housing projects, including challenges with community buy-in and the time required to achieve approval during the development process. They proposed that streamlining all involved entities would help mitigate time spent and costs. The group emphasized how nonprofits and foundations should be brought into affordable housing conversations at the beginning. Foundations have an exceptional ability to convene stakeholders, and also can help to build coalitions and partnerships, both public and private.
An essential piece of moving the needle on this issue requires foundations to be among the leaders on this topic by leveraging social, moral, intellectual, reputational, and financial capital. Conversations like Bringing Workforce and Affordable Housing to the South Carolina Lowcountry and CCF’s community conversations are evidence of the importance of Foundation involvement in community matters.
As CCF begins to formulate its work around affordable housing as a theme of our Civic Engagement Agenda, our being in conversation with creative, committed community leaders such as those at this event will only inform and improve the impact of our work.