Greenville community leaders pitch ideas for old Scott Towers site

Scott Towers, the final night


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – City leaders are continuing the conversation on combating the housing crisis in Greenville. But this time, they’re focusing on a population that’s been largely overlooked in the affordable housing discussion.

The Greenville Housing Authority hosted its first “Workforce Housing Community Meeting” Wednesday afternoon largely to discuss plans for the site where the old Scott Towers used to stand.

“We want to be very transparent in our work,” Ivory Mathews, the Executive Director for the Greenville Housing Authority said.

Phase one of the project will be affordable, subsidized housing solely for seniors and veterans. However, phase two of the project will focus on workforce housing.

“We feel like the gap that exists out there for the workforce unit is shrinking every day,” Mathews said.

Community partners identified “essential workers” as police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, administrative assistants, and public works technicians. Those people typically make between $32,000 and $55,000 a year.

On the high end of eligible affordable housing income, a three-person household may make around $33,500. To be able to afford a market rate apartment in downtown Greenville which cost around $1675 for a two bedroom, people would need to make $60,000 a year. However, the people who are deemed workforce fall in the gap between those numbers.

People in attendance tossed around ideas that would make this project work best.

“The type of amenities that workforce housing units should have to the structure of the rents…Public transportation to making sure that we can connect to employers who are looking for places for their employees to live,” Mathews said.

It will also ease the shortage of nearly 2500 affordable units in Greenville for families making $20,000 or less.

“It will free up some of the affordable units and get some of those 9000 families off our waiting list and open up more opportunities,” Mathews said.

In order to finance the project, they’re looking at options such as real estate tax exemption, Inclusionary Zoning with funding requirements, land contribution, fee waivers, private sector collaborations, or even using some of the $2 million the city put in to a Housing Trust Fund.

The housing authority says they do not have a date for the next meeting; however, they would like to host them bi-monthly.