Long before the COVID-19 pandemic came to South Carolina, our state has been in the grips of an eviction crisis. According to data from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, landlords were evicting tenants in South Carolina 73% more often in 2016 than in any other state. North Charleston had the highest eviction rate of any large city in the country that year, St. Andrews topped the list of mid-sized places, and 29 of the 50 small towns with the highest rates were in South Carolina. Last year’s Housing Needs Assessment highlighted these dire figures.
Once the scale of the public health crisis became apparent, South Carolina’s economy suffered greatly, with the state unemployment rate topping 12 percent for the first time on record in April, per the Department of Employment and Workforce. As many of these jobs have since returned, there has been a sharp split: a research team found that, while employment rates have rebounded for high-wage and middle-wage workers, job loss continues for low-wage workers earning less than $27,000 per year. This is because businesses most likely to be affected by state-mandated closures and/or reduced demand—such as hotels, restaurants, and salons—are most likely to employ low-wage labor. Those who lost such jobs are far more likely to rent than own, meaning that the existing eviction crisis has become an emergency in 2020.
“Without new funds for rental assistance, the CDC moratorium only kicks the can down the road, with jobless tenants accruing back rent and property owners losing out on income,” according to Dr. Bryan Grady, Chief Research Officer at SC Housing. Once the moratorium expires in January, Grady warns, “South Carolina is looking at nothing short of a tsunami of eviction filings.”
SC Housing’s County First Initiative is sweetening the pot for homebuyers living in 20 rural counties throughout the state. September’s launch of the initiative draws first-time and move-up borrowers with down payment assistance and a special fixed rate for financing.
Claude Spurlock, Business Development Manager at SC Housing, said the agency identified counties where we had marginal activity/investment in certain targeted areas, and it stepped up the incentives to offer more help.
The County First Initiative includes up to $8,000 in forgivable down payment assistance and a low fixed interest rate. Consult a participating lender or SC Housing for current rates. Properties that can be financed include single-family residences, condominiums, townhomes, and modular homes. Borrowers can choose FHA, Conventional, USDA, or VA financing.
County First funding is available to homebuyers in the following counties: Abbeville, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Edgefield, Fairfield, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, or Williamsburg counties.
SC Housing offers similar incentives through its SC Homebuyer Program in the Palmetto State with down payment assistance up to $7,000. For more information visit SCHousing.com or send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SC Housing hosted a virtual roundtable on Wednesday, September 30th to engage and solicit feedback from developers on agency process, the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), and other policies.
The Roundtable included discussions of: implementation of the state tax credit; parameters for allowing average income; design criteria; application submission requirements and timing; and development cost limits and underwriting.
Additional comments for consideration can be submitted to TaxCreditQuestions@schousing.com.
On September 19, SC Housing’s executive director, Bonita Shropshire, and staff took part in the first leg of S.C. Representative Marvin Pendarvis’ “Dream to Reality Tour,” where housing leaders were challenged to uncover the root of South Carolina’s eviction crisis in Richland, Chester, and Fairfield counties.
Representative Pendarvis’ 2020 legislative agenda focuses on helping impoverished communities, providing affordable housing, helping teachers, and making sure that citizens in District 113 (Charleston and Dorchester counties) have access to economic opportunity and success.
As part of its mission to create quality affordable housing opportunities for the citizens of the state, SC Housing seeks to ensure policies are evidence-based to best serve the people and provide data and insights to inform policies regarding housing issues in South Carolina. SC Housing’s Chief Research Officer, Dr. Bryan Grady, will continue on the tour across counties to discuss the findings and implications outlined in the agency’s statewide Housing Needs Assessment.
Learn more about South Carolina’s housing needs by county HERE.
SC Housing welcomes three new members to its SC Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee.
Ruth Johnson has lived and served in Columbia’s East Bluff community for more than 40 years. As a community advocate, ‘Ms. Ruth’ is best known for upholding the standards for property maintenance and training nonprofits and Homeowners Associations on how to best meet the needs of underserved and vulnerable communities. Continuing her work as a community leader, Ms. Johnson will serve the advisory committee as a representative of the low-income community.
Maryam Shareef knows firsthand the benefits of the Housing Trust Fund program, having worked for a non-profit that was a recipient of the grant to rehabilitate homes in the Ridgewood community. After retirement, Ms. Shareef volunteered for the Ridgewood Community Neighborhood Association and Richland County Election Commission. She will continue to devote her time as a representative of the very low-income community on the SC Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee.
Finally, Ivory Matthews joins the committee as representative of a non-profit organization which pursues housing programs. Recently named the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbia Housing Authority, Ms. Matthews brings more than 20 years of affordable housing experience. Her wealth of knowledge in housing authority leadership roles spans from several cities in South Carolina (Aiken, Columbia, and Greenville) to Toledo, Ohio.
The depth and expertise of each of our Advisory Committee members brings value to the Housing Trust Fund program, and SC Housing believes the contributions of these members will be significant as we strive to create safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities for all citizens of South Carolina.
Interested in learning about community development from leaders in South Carolina and around the country? Register today for SCACED’s annual conference, Opportunity SC: 2020, part of the national forum Strengthening Resilient Communities. Tune in to the virtual forum to hear from top national speakers and attend robust breakout sessions on topics such as:
SCACED members can register for SC sessions on October 19 & 20 for $50, and non-members for $100. To attend the full national forum from October 13 to 23, registrants can purchase the All-Access Pass for an additional $75. Learn more & register here: https://www.opportunitysc.org.
The National Development Council’s four-course, highly acclaimed Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP) Certification Program is coming to South Carolina, thanks to Truist bank. The certification is a rigorous and comprehensive training program that explores the development process, financial analysis techniques, and structuring and negotiating skills needed to successfully develop and finance affordable home ownership and rental housing development.
HD420-Rental Housing Development Finance
• Online from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM October 26-30; November 2, 4, & 5
HD423-Computer Spread Sheet Analysis for Housing
• January 2021
HD410-Home Ownership Finance
• TBD 2021
HD430-Housing Development Finance: Problem Solving and Deal Structuring
• TBD 2021
SCACED members can register for $150 per class and non-members for $300 per class. Learn more & register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/truist-housing-accelerator-initiative-tickets-119253132329
Many people are unaware that unemployment payments are taxable.
Here are some things to remember:
Election Day November 3, 2020.
Visit https://scvotes.gov/ for more information.
It’s just stuff until you don’t have it. Experience the everyday challenges of families confronting poverty. Can you make the tough decisions and sacrifices to survive the next 30 days? Try your luck HERE.
Spent is an online tool for learning about surviving poverty and homelessness. The interactive game walks you through the tough choices that many low-wealth families have to make each month to get through.
Are you interested in updates on our programs? Would you like to receive information on the latest breaking housing news and trends? Click the icons below to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and be sure to like our page!
Our Mission is to create quality affordable housing opportunities for the citizens of South Carolina.