Myrtle Beach works toward housing solutions amid rising cost of living

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — If you live in the Myrtle Beach area, you should be making just over 15 dollars an hour in order to make ends meet, according to a tool by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

It’s a calculator that tells you the living wage of an area, or ‘the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family.’ In the Myrtle Beach area, that rate is $15.13 for a single person without children.

The average rate of pay in the Myrtle Beach metro area is $18.87, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in food preparation and service- a major industry along the Grand Strand- the average pay is $11.15.

“I feel like a lot of people here are stuck surviving and they’re not living,” Nate Coates said, who works at a hotel in Myrtle Beach with his fiance.

He and his fiancé commute from the Aynor area, where they can afford rent. But the stagnant wages and rising cost of living are getting old for them, so they are moving to Reno, Nevada in search of a better quality of life.

“The cost of living is steady going up and the wages aren’t,” Coates said. “I’ve been staying in South Carolina my whole life and in the last five years I am yet to make over $12 an hour.”

Despite a rising cost of living in the area, the city of Myrtle Beach is looking at ways to help people who work in town to also live there.

The city’s Workforce Housing Advisory Board is researching possible solutions.

“As part of the Arts & Innovation District, we’ve talked about a partnership with a private developer where the bottom two floors of a building could be a new library, for example, and the next four or five floors might be workforce housing,” city spokesperson Mark Kruea explained.

Workforce housing is housing that will allow people who work within the city to find a convenient place nearby that is within their means.

“People who operate the hotels, the wait staff in the restaurants, all of those people need to be able to live in close enough proximity so they can get back and forth to work,” Kruea said. “And it needs to be affordable to them.”

The committee is expected to come up with a toolkit and framework for implementation of some potential solutions between October and December. Count on News13 for updates.

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