City of Beaufort joining regionwide affordable housing trust

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 3:44 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) - Areas of Beaufort and Jasper county are coming together to combat the affordable housing crisis in the Lowcountry.

In the last week, the city of Beaufort agreed to join a region-wide affordable housing trust. The intergovernmental agreement will dedicate millions of dollars to solutions across the Lowcountry over the next decade.

“If workforce and affordable housing was a tropical storm before, it’s now a category four hurricane,” Mayor Stephen Murray said.

Mayor Stephen Murray knows solutions are needed now, and not just in his city. He says this intergovernmental agreement will bring cooperation across the area.

”Housing isn’t a problem only in the city of Beaufort, or a problem only in the town of Bluffton and so you’ll see probably monthly meetings of all the jurisdictions getting together to talk about the problem.”

He’s hoping those conversations will lead to action, and the city is putting their own money behind the effort.

”Each of the jurisdictions has committed 3% of our ARPA funds, so for that it’s just over $180,000 and then we’re committing about another $30,000 annually in ongoing contributions for up to 10 years.”

Here in Beaufort they’ve done a few projects of their own, like these quadplexes near downtown. The Mayor says even with this new deal, they’ll be looking for more solutions like that moving forward.

“As much as I think the housing trust is going to be greatly beneficial, I also think argue that it’s one tool in the toolbox.”

Joining Beaufort with that tool in their toolbox so far are Bluffton, Hardeeville and Yemassee while Hilton Head and Port Royal have said they’ll join the agreement in the next few weeks.