CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Homeowners are taking matters into their own hands, pitching in to help create more attainable housing in Charleston.
We previously told you about a grassroots organization called CoLife, which pairs people who own homes with those who need one.
Data from 2020, compiled by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, shows more than 4,000 people are facing homelessness in South Carolina.
“There is a critical need for affordable housing in our community,” said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. And a growing problem is that young professionals are facing housing insecurity as well.
Now, homeowners are trying to fight the problem one bed at a time.
“They are largely doing it, in part for other reasons that are more intangible and kind of magical, so, they care about people. And that person, is really a hero,” said Derek Snook, founder of CoLife.
Pringle Franklin learned about CoLife after reading about Derek and the organization in the paper.
Founded back in 2019, CoLife is looking to solve the need for attainable housing for young professionals and students by connecting them with homeowners.
“You are using a resource that already exists- you are not having to tear down a bunch of trees, you know, you aren’t having to create a bunch of urban sprawl, and it’s bringing people together,” Franklin said.
Franklin realized it was an easy way to help. Homeowners charge guests a very reasonable rent fee, and that is when she got involved, “I thought that is Holy, okay, Holy as in God like Holy. That is a beautiful idea for connecting people together.”
Franklin says she has done more than a good deed, she has made her family a little bit bigger.
“In return, what we get from him is his friendship, and also he does a lot of things to help out, so he is our part of our household, he is part of our community. So, for instance, if we go out of town, he takes care of our cat, our cat loves him so much.”
For those who are concerned about opening their homes, Franklin said you should trust the process.
“For others that might be worried about it … they do background checks, they do credit checks, you are matched by a person, you are not matched by a machine. And once you meet your prospective tenant, I mean you have a choice, so we had a lot of people that wanted this particular location, I had my choice of tenants.”
For now, Franklin says she is giving more than a home, she is giving hope to people who need it most.
“You just want to share the moments of your life with someone, so for people out there that are living alone, take a chance! You won’t regret it. It’s a wonderful way to have companionship, have a little of extra income.”
If you would like to apply to be a guest or if you are a homeowner, check out the process on the CoLife website.