“Affordable housing can and should be a lead-in to difficult and long-deferred conversations about racial and class segregation in Greenville. ‘Whose Greenville is this?’ is a big question that needs to be addressed as honestly and openly as possible for sustainable progress to be made on a number of fronts.” – Balancing Housing Affordability and Prosperity in Greenville, Sept. 2016

Let’s call our affordable housing shortage what it is: a crisis. When we talk about housing – and that includes utilities – a truly affordable home should be no more than 30% of a family’s household income. If a family’s monthly income is $2500, for example, they should pay no more than $750/month on housing.

Within Greenville’s city limits alone, we’re short more than 2,500 units.

This crisis disproportionately affects low-income African-American families. Period.

The median household income for African-American households in the City of Greenville is $24,000, which puts even workforce housing out of reach for a large percentage of our neighbors. As historically black neighborhoods gentrify, our neighbors are pushed further away from transit lines, job opportunities, good schools and grocery stores.

We need home ownership options at $250,000 and below, as well as quality rental options at $500 per month and located near mass transit.

No one policy gets us there. We must continue to invest in the Greenville Housing Fund through a recurring line item of at least $1 million in the annual budget. At the same time, we should overhaul our zoning laws to allow for increased density, including allowing accessory dwelling units (mother-in-law suites). We also have to address predatory speculation in low-income neighborhoods if we want to keep families in homes they already own or rent.

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