Charleston awards $20 million bond to 8 affordable housing developments

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston has decided how it will allocate a $20 million dollar bond for affordable housing projects in the city.

Voters approved this bond referendum in 2017. The city will assist in funding eight projects across the Charleston area that’s expected to create 630 affordable rental units.

Two of the projects are city projects located on the peninsula.

Some of the other projects will be on Johns Island and in West Ashley.

The homeless shelter in downtown Charleston, One80 Place, will also receive a portion of that funding to build up to 86 rental units on the mix-use property they own next to the shelter. It’s the site of their former homeless shelter.

“Part of the challenge we face is where we’re located we know that affordable housing is very necessary and a critical need on the peninsula,” said Stacey Denaux, CEO at One80 Place. “It’s also one of the most expensive places in our community to build.”

The project is expected to break ground in the Fall of 2019, completed by the end of 2020 and then occupied by 2021.

“Putting housing on the peninsula close to jobs for people moving out of homelessness who are making the hotel and restaurant industry thrive in this community is a key priority for us,” Denaux said.

She says about 30 percent of the people who stay at the shelter have jobs. Some people who work in downtown Charleston can't afford to live there.

The units are designated for people who have been impacted by homelessness or people making less than about $31,000 a year.

“Housing is very critical to how we live. Without it, it definitely creates a deficiency in our community not only from the standpoint of the lack of housing but the lack of livability. It impacts transportation and people’s ability to move back and fourth,” said Geona Shaw-Johnson, the Housing and Community Development director for the City of Charleston.

The eight projects are expected to be complete over the the next two years.

"The funding that the city awards through the bond dollars is only one set of funding that makes these deals a reality," Shaw-Johnson said.

Developers are applying for grants, federal funds and reaching out to donors to help fund these projects.

One80 place has a capital fundraising campaign for its project which is expected to cost about $25 million.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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