The economic vitality of a community is based on several factors, one of which is access to affordable housing. Another is economic development opportunities. Development of affordable housing increases spending and employment in the surrounding economy, and acts as an important source of revenue for local governments.

Affordable Housing Development Creates Employment Opportunities

Depending on the scale of the project, housing development creates jobs, both on the short-term and long-term scale. These jobs, and the development as a whole, have direct and indirect benefits on the local economy, as outlined by the Center for Housing Policy. During construction/rehabilitation, the local economy benefits directly from funds spent on materials and labor. If the builder purchases supplies from a local supplier, the supplier may have to hire additional labor to complete the order; this is an example of an indirect benefit. Another way housing creates economic development opportunities? These employees spend their own money as they live, work, and play in the local community.

Affordable Housing Supports a Qualified Workforce

When local workers cannot afford to live near their jobs, commute times and costs increase, as does traffic congestion and urban sprawl. Without a sufficient supply of affordable housing, employers are at a disadvantage due to the difficulty attracting and maintaining a qualified workforce. The Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s 2012 Regional Economic Scorecard details the correlation between adequate affordable housing stock and a qualified workforce, reporting that the Charleston region lacks enough affordable housing options to meet the growing needs of the region.

Small Businesses: The Heart of the Local Community

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Buy Local, Be Local.” But this simple, four-word statement holds a lot of meaning and value, especially as it relates to the local community. Studies show that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, your money is used to purchase additional goods from local businesses, service providers, and food retailers, strengthening the economic base of the community. Small, local businesses are the largest employer in the nation and in our local communities, providing the most jobs to our residents.

CLF invests in community businesses that serve and employ low to moderate income individuals located in underserved coastal South Carolina communities. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, retail stores and service businesses, wholesalers, and small manufacturers. Contact Patrick King at patrick@sccommunityloanfund.org  to learn more about our community business loan program.