Last week, leaders from across the Charleston tri-county came together to discuss the region’s shortage of affordable housing and how its absence impacts various aspects of community life. While many in the audience have heard the message before, it is evident that in order to keep pace with our counterparts across the nation, we must create housing that is available and affordable to all members of the community; this includes rental and homeownership opportunities.

Keynote speaker, Michelle Winters, shed light on the growing need for affordable housing, focusing on the anticipated growth among renters for the next ten years and citing Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ America’s Rental Housing report. She expands upon this research with what she terms the Ten Principles for a New Era of Multi-family Rental Housing. Each principle examines a critical component to the success of increasing the stock of affordable rental housing options.

1. Preserves what’s already there
2. Support inclusive communities upfront
3. Change the dialog locally
4. Make room for rentals
5. Simplify the development process
6. Develop sustainable and walkable communities
7. Create a community, not just a building
8. Embrace new technologies
9. Leverage financial innovations
10. Develop new sources of subsidy

Michelle’s presentation supported the overall message of the Summit, that in order to create affordable housing, we must modify existing infrastructure and create new resources for development. Our approach must incorporate innovative thinking to meet the needs of the growing, ever-changing demographics of the community. But what does this new era of housing look like? It is innovative, intentional and inclusive; transit-oriented and walkable; sustainable and diverse. But most importantly, it is affordable.

Michelle Winters is the Senior Visiting Fellow at the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing.  Learn more about their work by visiting their website.