Charleston weighs in on affordable housing

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A new person moves to the Charleston area every 40 minutes, according to recent statistics.

It is those sort of figures that speak to the city’s desirability, but as demand rises so do home prices and some’s concerns with livability.

Monday night, the Historic Charleston Foundation held a forum on Charleston’s affordable housing. Called Neighborhood Character in Crisis, a panel of local leaders and housing experts discussed affordable housing with the public. “It’s becoming more an more of a quality of life issue,” said Historic Charleston Foundation Director Winslow Hastie, “it’s really affecting everybody in the whole range.”

“All of these cultures together is what make Charleston the dynamic place it is and we’re losing that,” said Meta Waldon, a current Charleston resident. Waldon says families who have lived on the peninsula for generations are not able to afford life on it and are forced to move. “It’s a sad day when we have a world class city that’s not very world class because of our housing issues,” said Waldon.

Harold Vogel moved from Charleston to Sullivan’s Island and says the city has to be careful when balancing the people’s demands. “The demand is people want to live here for the lifestyle,” said Vogel, “but they can’t ruin the lifestyle or people are going to go elsewhere.”

Mayor John Tecklenburg is fully aware that Charleston’s charm comes with a potential cost of burning out if too many homes become to too pricey. “You want to have a community that is sustainable,” said Tecklenburg, “we wont be able to do that long term unless we can increase the supply of affordable housing in our community.”

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