A special new grant program, offering more affordable housing will be rolled out by the city of Charleston.
Charleston City officials are planning to use $200,000 to incentivize homeowners to build accessible dwelling units (ADU’s) on their property. The ADU is an independent living facility for no more than two adults, which acts like a tiny home in a person’s yard or a garage apartment.
The program aims to facilitate additional workforce and affordable housing in single family neighborhoods throughout the city of Charleston. The money would go towards construction of ten units, which would be rented out as affordable housing.
“What we wanted to do in providing the $20,000 per house for the construction of the ADU’s. is use that as an incentive and use that as an opportunity to bring people to the table so that they would see this as an opportunity for themselves as well as a benefit for the community,” Charleston Housing & Community Development Director Geona Shaw Johnson said.
Charleston city council approved an accessible dwelling unit ordinance in August 2020. Under the ordinance units are limited to 850 square feet of conditioned floor area and occupancy by no more than two adults.
Homeowners also must provide one off-street parking space for the occupants and comply with all other city ordinances and codes.
Johnson says if they receive a lot of interest from homeowners, they will need to look at other funding sources to continue the program.
The City adopted The Charleston Homeownership Initiative Redevelopment Plan in December of 2000, creating the Homeownership Initiative (HI) program. In response to the imbalance between household incomes and housing costs in downtown Charleston, Mayor Riley and the City Council challenged city staff to develop a program that:
- Provided housing affordable to persons of low- and moderate-incomes
- Revitalized some of the City's most distressed neighborhoods
- Built capacity among the local non-profit organizations
The HI Program works to:
- target neighborhoods are Cannonborough, Elliotborough, Eastside, Westside, Rosemont and H, F and I streets
- targets households earning 50-120% of the Area Median Income (PDF).
- over 100 homes sold
Along with providing the construction assistance, city officials are also looking to provide design opportunities for people who participate. City officials say they hope to accept applications for the program later this summer.