MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — News13 is continuing coverage of the affordable housing conversation happening in Horry County this week.
The city of Myrtle Beach is moving forward with its workforce housing initiative.
Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday presented its findings to city council after implementing the first portion of its strategic plan to add workforce housing in Myrtle Beach.
City officials said it brought on Habitat for Humanity as a formal partner a couple of years ago to help them identify ways to get affordability back into the real estate development.
Habitat for Humanity officials said it’s excited to see what its progress could mean for the county as well as potential collaborations leading to better opportunities for the city of Myrtle Beach.
“We’re really excited to, in the next couple of years, be producing avenues where our workforce can say ‘hey, this is me, this is what I make, this is my household size, what is a product that works for me?'” said Meagan Michal, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Horry County.
Assistant City Manager Brian Tucker said the city is hopeful the effort brings more residents to a new and improved downtown.
“Making downtown residential affordable, attainable, is a key priority,” he said.
Tucker said downtown is already seeing redevelopment improvements, but finding avenues to add more affordable housing in the current market is tricky.
“I mean, land prices, construction prices, a lot of the factors are stacked against affordability right now,” Tucker said.
That’s why Habitat for Humanity teamed up with the city to create a strategic plan to bridge the gap between available housing and what people in the area actually make.
“In closing that gap, we essentially create systems that produce affordable housing or produce housing that’s affordable to our specific workforce,” Michal said.
Part of the plan includes creating a housing trust fund, which, among other things, will offer low to no interest loans to residents and developer incentives.
City officials say that pool of money includes about $2.5 million from its existing workforce housing fund.
“Once these systems are created, shovel-ready projects can start to come to play,” Michal said. “And within the next couple of years, we could see an increased number of housing developed for our workforce.”
City officials said the new group looking to improve affordable housing in the county will meet again next week and will likely make decisions on its next steps towards solving the issue.