[image-1]Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg showed his support for the upcoming affordable housing bond referendum and highlighted the groups that will be benefit from it at a press conference Thursday morning.
Organized by Charlestonians for Better Housing, the event was held at the grounds of a senior citizen development on 22 Laurens St. that is owned an operated by the Charleston Housing Authority with land provided by the city.
The Nov. 7 referendum will ask voters for approval of a $20 million increase in the city’s affordable housing fund. The question was approved for the ballot by City Council in April.
CBH representative Gerald Kaynard thanked the mayor for being a “leading advocate” for the issue and emphasized that one’s councilmember does not have to be up for re-election in order to vote on the question of affordable housing.
“This will not be a tax burden to our citizens because the income from the future housing will in fact pay the bond back,” Tecklenburg said. “We will be able to buy and develop product like you see here today.”
The mayor shouted out professionals such as teachers and first responders as those who would benefit from this possible boost the most. The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard found that 23 percent of Charleston-area renters, or 28,000 households, spend at least half their income on housing.
“Folks that are in a working, middle-income level who now are forced to go way outside the city to find a place affordable to live,” Mayor Tecklenburg clarified, “and that compounds on traffic congestion and degrades our quality of life.”
He also clarified that most of these funds will go to new projects, setting it apart from other funds aimed at first-time buyers.
“I just think awareness,” Tecklenburg told the City Paper when asked what might prevent voters from voting for this referendum. “I gotta believe that if you dig down deep enough into the issue, it affects our ability as a region to compete.”
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