Housing is too expensive for the average person in Mt. Pleasant, according to Mayor Linda Page. During her State of the Town address this year, she announced the plan to establish an attainable housing task force to help bring those price points down. That task force met for the first time on Monday.
The median price for a home in Mt. Pleasant is more than $370,000, and it’s less than half that in Summerville. The Affordable Housing Task Force says it’s a serious problem when the town staff can’t even afford to live there.
Chair of the task force, Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, says, “It’s gotten to the point where it’s extremely difficult for a number of people: town employees, hospital employees, restaurant employees, school teachers, firemen, police officers, to be able to live in the town where they work.”
Daniel Brock is one of the lucky ones who was able to cash in on a program which made living in Mt. Pleasant attainable.
Brock says, “My wife and I found this cute little neighborhood in north Mt. Pleasant, and we went in, and checked it out, and it turned out there was workforce housing program associated with it, and if you met an income threshold you were able to quality for a lower down payment, a lower price, and it just really ended up working out well for us.”
But that program was limited and doesn’t exist in Mt. Pleasant anymore, so the Affordable Housing Task Force has nine months to come up with a recommendation to improve housing options in the town.
Stokes-Marshall says, “It’s a big challenge. I can’t deny that, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. And if you do not make a decision to put forth a consorted effort to make this a reality, it will not happen and the situation will only become worse.”
The task force is made up of a dozen people with a spectrum of expertise, from establishing successful affordable housing programs elsewhere, to leaders in senior care, to real estate finance. Stokes-Marshall says affordable housing doesn’t mean creating an eye-sore in town.
She says, “Many of them perceive when you say ‘affordable housing’, HUD housing, drug infested, crime ridden communities. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about decent affordable housing for hard working people.”
The task force says creating affordable housing will also help with traffic because more people will be able to get to and from work everyday without crossing the bridge. The task force will begin meeting every third Monday of the month at noon, and encourages members of the community to attend and contribute ideas.