Greenville city leaders push for affordable housing

FILE -
FILE -

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – It’s no secret Greenville is becoming a place to be.

Development is booming, but for some low-income community members that means neighborhoods they’ve lived in for decades could become too expensive.

Now, the city is stepping up to make sure homeowners don’t get priced out.

Homes on streets like McAdoo and Monticello in Greenville are being flipped and upgraded.

“They’re buying up Nicholtown,” said resident, André Abercrombie.

And, it’s coming at a cost to him and many of his neighbors. Abercrombie is getting ready to move out of the home he’s been living in because his lease is up, and his landlord sold the home.

The city collected data that shows there are around 2500 more low-income renters than there are available units, and closing that gap would cost up to $160 million.

“Their landlords are seeing an uptick in property taxes, and they’re making up for that lost revenue by raising the rent of the tenants,” said Jalen Elrod, who sits on the city’s committee for Affordable Housing Recommendations. “These folks can’t afford to rent, so they’re moving out to other areas.”

The city has been working hard to come up with solutions that will work for Greenville and its landscape.

“We have looked at some other cities that do rental rehab for landlords,” Greenville Mayor Pro Tem, Jil Littlejohn said. “We currently do that for homeowners.”

She said they’ve also looked at land banking which would allow the city to own land and work with non-profits and other private developers.

Last month, the city posted a survey that closed last weekend. Its purpose was to get input from community members on how to tackle the issue.

They also spent time meeting with developers in the area.

Nathan Kaser, who owns Renaissance Custom Homes, agreed to scale back the number of homes he was buying in Nicholtown in order to help the community.

“One of the things you always consider is the bottom line, but when it comes to developing, I plan on being here for a very long time, so I want to make sure the neighborhood is happy,” Kaser said.

Neighbors say they want new development, but they just want to be around to see it.

“They can rebuild, just don’t put us out because we’ve been here all our life,” Abercrombie said.

The committee will be holding a meeting Wednesday to discuss the survey results.

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