BEAUFORT & HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (WTOC) - Affordable housing is an issue throughout the Lowcountry.
When you drive through Beaufort you see complexes established by the Beaufort Housing Authority. But the Lowcountry is running into a problem. The demand for affordable housing is far higher than the supply.
Many don’t think Beaufort County has enough housing for its workforce.
“I don’t think so,” said resident William Hayward.
William Hayward has lived in this Beaufort Housing Authority complex for three years.
“I don’t have no problem with Beaufort housing. Residential area. But it’s a nice location for me,” he said.
He says many low income workers can't afford to live in Beaufort without affordable housing
“If their rate goes up and they’re working you know a low income motel, they can’t afford it,“ he said.
Mayor Billy Keyserling says the Beaufort Housing Authority has tried to expand their inventory, but they have limits.
“They require federal housing and urban development funds which are limited,“ said Keyserling.
The City of Beaufort likely won’t expand affordable housing anytime soon
“I don’t imagine the city will ever, a city this small, will ever be in the housing business. Of building houses. What we will try to do is try to remove barriers for others,” said Keyserling.
Across the Lowcountry, though, those in the workforce are unable to find housing in the areas they work. Mayor Keyserling believes affordable housing would benefit every town and city.
“You know, if there were more affordable housing on Hilton head you might not need to be spending as exponentially more on a new bridge,“ said Keyserling.
In Hardeeville, Mayor Harry Williams says they are just now researching the need for affordable housing. They plan to be proactive in supplying housing, taking a different approach from Beaufort.
“The city is not building. We don’t think that’s our job, we don’t have the resources,” said Keyserling.
No matter what, all the cities say they want to find a way to keep their workforce close to town.
All of the mayors acknowledge the problem with the lack of affordable housing in the Lowcountry. And they say in the next few years they hope to find a solution that can keep the workforce in the area.