By Martine Wolfe-Miller, PIO MOUNT PLEASANT, SC  (February 23, 2010) –

From left to right: SC Community Loan Fund Executive Director Tammie Hoy, Mount Pleasant Planning Department Senior Planner Kelly Cousino, Planning Department Director Christiane Farrell, and SC Community Loan Fund Program Director Michelle Mapp.

The Town of Mount Pleasant was awarded today the South Carolina Housing Achievement Award from the South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority for its efforts in workforce housing.

“This is the second time in less than a year that the Town of Mount Pleasant has been recognized for its work on workforce housing,” said Mayor Billy Swails. “In August 2009, we were recognized by the Municipal Association of South Carolina with a Municipal Achievement Award for our innovative programs related to workforce housing. We are honored by this latest award and continue to pledge our support to workforce housing programs in our Town and our ongoing partnership with the SC Community Loan Fund. I would like to thank our Planning Department and senior planner Kelly Cousino for submitting the winning application.”

“Mount Pleasant is well deserving of the Palmetto Housing Achievement Award for their work to implement creative strategic planning tools to ensure diverse housing options for its citizens,” said SC Community Loan Fund Executive Director Tammie Hoy. “In a time where affordably priced housing is needed now more than ever, Mount Pleasant staff and its leadership continue to be proactive in planning for its future by promoting mixed income mix use development opportunities that will provide housing options for individuals and families of all incomes. The Town’s Workforce Housing Advisory Committee had no easy task in identifying ways to promote such housing. But through the passage of the Workforce Housing PD and the ADU Ordinance, they have laid the groundwork to enable new housing options for young professionals, working families and senior citizens. As a regional advocate for affordable housing, we applaud them for their commitment to affordable housing and their innovation in planning and hope other local governments will follow their lead.”

The South Carolina Housing Achievement Awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions in the state’s affordable housing arena. The Town of Mount Pleasant was recognized in the Organization Sector category.

Mount Pleasant and Workforce Housing
Workforce housing is a relatively new term embraced nationally by planners, government administrators, housing activists and some developers. It refers to homes providing affordable housing opportunities for gainfully employed essential workers such as police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses, office workers and medical technicians.

In order to qualify for a workforce housing unit in a neighborhood developed under the Town’s Planned Development /Workforce Housing zoning district, a family of four must not make more than $72,350 (or 120 percent of the median family income). Their monthly mortgage payments cannot exceed 35% of their gross monthly income. Two developers are set to move forward with ten workforce housing units near Whitehall Terrace and 15 workforce housing units near Chadbury Village on Six Mile Road.

The Town received $241,420 to acquire and redevelop two properties as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The Town donated the properties to East Cooper Habitat for Humanity in order for two new workforce housing units to be constructed. This will provide an affordable housing opportunity for two families and will help improve the appearance of the neighborhood, and help increase property values in the area.

Providing housing opportunities for all segments of the Town’s population is critical in creating an economically and socially sustainable community. The provision of workforce housing is important to economic development as the availability of affordable housing helps attract and retain essential workers – an important factor for companies looking to relocate or open a new facility. Providing a variety of housing types for households with diverse incomes, in proximity to employment opportunities, offers a variety of benefits to the community including reduced traffic congestion and creation of a sense of place and pride in the community.

Affordable housing opportunities also offer benefits to the Town’s transportation network. Many employment opportunities in Mount Pleasant are service-related and typically lower-paying than those in other industries. In addition, essential workers generally earn less than the amount necessary to purchase a home in Mount Pleasant. As a result, many people who work in the Town of Mount Pleasant are forced to live in other municipalities and commute to Mount Pleasant – which significantly contributes to traffic congestion and stresses infrastructure. Having workforce housing opportunities available in the Town reduces demand on the transportation system and, in cases where housing is located in close proximity to commercial areas, can eliminate the use of a car for work commutes altogether. From left to right: SC Community Loan Fund Executive Director Tammie Hoy, Mount Pleasant Planning Department Senior Planner Kelly Cousino, Planning Department Director Christiane Farrell, and SC Community Loan Fund Program Director Michelle Mapp.

Martine M. Wolfe-Miller, PIO
Town of Mount Pleasant Office of Public Information
100 Ann Edwards Lane Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
Phone: 843.884.8517 Fax: 843.849.2060