A report presented to Charleston City Council Tuesday delved into a number of programs stemming from recommendations made by the city’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation earlier this year. The report was originally reviewed Oct. 28 during a meeting of the Community Development Committee.
Though the commission’s 120 recommendations were not all well-received by every member of council, and motions to accept the commission’s report as well as make the commission permanent stalled during meetings, efforts to make housing more fair and equitable have gained some traction in the community development committee.
Some concerns raised before council related to racial inequities in home ownership, including higher rates of dilapidation in homes owned by Black families. Others related to land-use policies that make it more difficult for low-income families to remain in lifelong homes on the peninsula.
Councilman Ross Appel reiterated that affordable housing units are the strongest way of addressing these inequities.
“If you’re an African-American family living in heirs property on the West side, and you have a Charleston single that’s fallen into disrepair over the generations, you are doomed,” he said. “These are the things that are preventing our housing market from functioning property: there’s only so much that can be done with programs and city grants and initiatives … We need to be bringing thousands of affordable units online every year.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and Councilmen Jason Sakran and William Dudley Gregorie, during the Oct. 28 community development meeting, expressed joy at the prospect of acting on some of the recommendations made by the special commission.
“I’ve seen that the recommendations from the Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation regarding housing and mobility are all accepted and being acted upon,” Tecklenburg cheered. “We are doing this, y’all! Man the torpedos and full speed ahead!”
Tuesday night’s council meeting was recorded and posted to the City of Charleston’s YouTube channel for public viewing.