We recently checked in with Grand Strand Housing & CDC’s Executive Director, Kari Dettmer. Grand Strand Housing & CDC works to create affordable housing in the Horry and Georgetown communities through their burgeoning rental program as well as by rehabilitating owner-occupied homes.

1. Our last check in was around 2016. What’s new at Grand Strand Housing & CDC?

We’ve finished the Georgetown rental houses that we bought in partnership with SCCLF. We are still doing the rehab program, which is bringing owner-occupied homes to code.

2. Every community’s challenges are slightly different. What are the barriers to affordable housing in the Grand Strand?

The biggest problem is cost burden, whether it is the cost of rent for renters, or the cost of repairs for home owners. Many of the homes we work on require a lot of repairs to make them safe. Also, the rental market is incredibly competitive, which allows prices to stay high.

Cost burden touches so many things, and it’s detrimental to household stability. If you’re burdened by the cost of your home, it’s hard to make car repairs and have ready access to transportation. It’s hard to afford quality food, or fill prescriptions. Affordable housing is critical to household stability.”

3. How many homes have you done total?

We have done 6 single-family rentals in Horry / Georgetown through our rental program. We have done over 200 owner-occupied properties since 2008, and average 15-25 per year. We have opted to do fewer homes, but do more comprehensive repairs so that the homes are in really good shape for the owners.

4. Talk about a bright spot or highlight. What is something Grand Strand Housing & CDC does that you’re proud of?

A few years ago we began a home maintenance program that I’m really proud of. We sit with home owners after repairs are completed and we talk about basic home repairs and maintenance that they can do themselves. We talk about energy efficiency and how to work with and hire contractors, basic repairs and safety. We try to set the home owners up for continued success after the work on their homes is completed. I love seeing that people are taking pride in their homes and taking charge of their situation going forward.

I’m also really proud of the fact that we hire contractors who are local to the community. It keeps money in the local economy while also giving us a chance to work with people who understand our work and feel a connection to the families they’re helping.

5. What are you looking forward to? What’s something exciting happening in Grand Strand Housing & CDC’s future?

We are excited to expand our rental program. SCCLF helped make this possible in working with us to refinance debt that traditional banks wouldn’t have been willing to take on. We’ve started small with 6 units, but grant funding is increasing so we are able to keep growing a program the community needs.

 

Thanks to Kari from Grand Strand Housing & CDC for chatting with us! It’s exciting to see all the different approaches taken to creating more affordable housing for families in communities across South Carolina. Click here for more information about our affordable housing lending program.