Summit addresses affordable housing crisis in the Lowcountry

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Leaders say the Charleston area is in dire need of affordable housing. The problem led to a housing summit which was held Tuesday morning in North Charleston.

The need is something officials say they’re working to address immediately.

“It’s past urgent if you want to know the truth,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. “Housing cost is really becoming a limiting factor for our economic future of the Lowcountry.”

The Charleston Metro Chamber hosted the summit, bringing in speakers from different organizations for a conversation about practical ways to create and preserve affordable housing.

“We understand that housing is the foundation of economic development so when you think about transportation, when you think about healthcare. When you think about education, housing is the foundation of that,” said Housing Executive for Charleston Metro Chamber, Craig Logan.

One possible solution: tax incentives for developers.

The summit also called attention to different challenges minority groups face when buying a home. “There’s a huge gap between housing attainability for people of color,” Logan said.

Panelists pointed out obstacles like the language barrier for the Hispanic community and said education is a barrier in the African American community.

“A lot of it is access to financial institutions and access to loans,” Logan said.

Organizers hope to come away from the summit, turning conversations into action.

“Just thinking about what partnerships, what barriers are in place and from a professional’s perspective, how do we work to then create partnerships that either don’t exist, that may need to be put in place,” Logan said.

Leaders say this is an ever-evolving challenge, and they will continue to work together to find solutions.

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Author: Sophia Radebaugh