Housing continues to be out of reach for many South Carolinians. Recent attention has been directed towards individuals receiving Social Security Income (SSI) benefits. According to a recent examination of national housing affordability, the average monthly SSI benefits in South Carolina is $698; the percentage of benefits needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment is 88%. In 2012, 73,864 individuals in South Carolina received SSI benefits.

Priced Out in 2012, conducted by the Technical Assistance Collaborative, is a study of the severe housing affordability problems experienced by people with disabilities. Priced Out calculates the difference between what an individual receiving SSI can reasonably afford to pay for housing costs and the average cost of modest housing units.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordable housing as spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing needs. According Priced Out, Beaufort County and Charleston/North Charleston/Summerville local housing markets require above 100% of monthly SSI benefits to be spent on rent, with 109% and 106% respectively.

As local communities and the entire state work towards creating affordable housing opportunities for all residents, we must take into consideration individuals receiving government benefits as their primary means of support. These individuals are not only priced out of the rental housing market, they are deprived of the basic human need of shelter.

For more information on CLF’s statewide advocacy effort, please contact Michelle Mapp at michelle@sccommunityloanfund.org.