State lawmakers continue to tackle affordable housing crisis, tour new development

State lawmakers continue to tackle affordable housing crisis, tour new development

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Members of the House Legislative Oversight Committee continued their work on addressing the affordable housing crisis while they study the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority.

During an Economic Development, Transportation, and Natural Resources Subcommittee meeting Thursday, lawmakers heard from members of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority. They also spent time touring The Veranda, which is a new affordable housing development on North Main Street in Columbia. The Veranda is a community for residents 55 and up.

The complex was developed by Integral. The company has developments in a little more than a dozen states across the country. Senior Vice President Daryl Jones said there has been high demand for an affordable housing community for this age group.

“We were completely full in a very short amount of time,” he said. “We probably have an interest list of 350 people. So, the proof is in the pudding.”

Jones said they have noticed there is high demand for affordable housing in urban areas across the country but especially in South Carolina. This comes to no surprise to lawmakers on the subcommittee who are familiar with the issue. On Thursday, they reviewed a portion of the SC Housing Needs Assessment.

“The numbers are staggering because it tells you as a state we haven’t done much about it,” Representative Marvin Pendarvis (D-Charleston) said.

Rep. Pendarvis said one way to fix this problem is by incentivizing developers to build affordable housing developments in ways they haven’t been incentivized before.

“I think we have to empower our municipalities to give them the authority to act,” he said. “The only way we can do that is by passing legislation that gives them that authority.”

Earlier this year, a bill with bipartisan support was passed in the House that would create a state tax credit for qualified low-income housing projects. The “Workforce and Senior Affordable Housing Act” is in committee in the Senate. Senators are expected to begin their work on the bill in 2020.

During the subcommittee meeting, Rep. Bill Hixon (R-Aiken) let members of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority know about a letter the committee sent to the Office of Inspector General on Monday. He said while conducting their study on the agency they received an anonymous tip from a constituent about some concerns they had with the agency. You can read that letter below:

No word on if an investigation will be launched.

Those who would like to comment on studies being conducted by the House Legislative Oversight Committee, which includes the South Carolina Housing study, may do so at https://www.research.net/r/ProvideInputtotheSCHouseLegislaitveOversightCommittee.

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