Columbia City Council pushing incentives to bring in mixed-income housing developers

Columbia City Council pushing incentives to bring in mixed-income housing developers

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The next time you see public housing, Columbia City Council wants you to think…quality.

“We think we need to do something to find affordable housing for people that are school teachers, that are firefighters,” city councilman Howard Duvall said. “Workers in our community that are paying more than they should for rent in our area.”

Tuesday night, City Council passed the first policy in a lengthy process to bring more affordable housing to Columbia residents.

They say that at one-point last year, the city received more than 23,000 applicants for Section-8 housing in just 27 hours.

Duvall tells us that mixed income neighborhoods like the one near Pickens and Rosewood are what they’re trying to recreate for families.

“We have over 11,000 families in Columbia that are paying more than 30 percent of their income towards rent,” he said.

The plan would offer developers a tax break of 40 percent if they agree to build an $8 million development with at least one fourth of the homes being affordable income housing.

Duvall says if you’re a developer who’s going to be on board, they want this to truly be mixed income, with no differences between the affordable housing and market rate homes.

“The units that would be used for low and moderate income, workforce housing, would have to have the same building criteria as every other unit in the structure,” he said.

They’ll have to take this to county council for approval before they can move forward with the plan.

If all goes well, they’re looking to build at least 1000 affordable housing units in the next five years.

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