GREENVILLE, SC – Greenville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to create a housing trust fund.
The fund would help lower income families find and keep affordable housing within the city limits.
“We wanted to take our time and make sure we were doing the right thing, but I definitely think we’re moving in the right direction,” said city councilor Jil Littlejohn after the meeting adjourned.
The city has stated it will put 1.5% of its revenue towards the fund, which will be matched by non-city sources like non-profits and private donors.
The goal is to invest in development and buy property for affordable housing.
Many people who spoke at the meeting were highly supportive of the fund creation.
“The creation of the housing trust fund is a game changer for the community,” one representative from Habitat For Humanity said.
Several activists said they’ve seen gentrification of Greenville’s downtown push lower income families away, making it harder for people who need jobs to get them.
“If they live closer they can walk, they can bike, they can scooter right to their workplace,” said Father Patrick Tuttle, Pastor of St. Anthony’s Church and school.
One concern that came up was about how the city is going to continue paying for the fund.
“I do also think that it’s an incomplete answer, and I think we should be challenged with that reality,” one man said during public comment.
With the approval, the next step is for the council to form a board and select its members.
“It’s not like they’ll have to come back and ask council can we spend money, can we do this, is this okay?’” said Councilwoman Littlejohn. “They’ll have full authority to make decision and to move forward.”
The council said they’ll sit down with Community Works, which will hold the trust fund, and figure out guidelines for how the fund will operate.
“These are the people in our neighborhood,” said Father Tuttle. “And we just have to speak for them, because right now, they’re not at this meeting… They’re working.”