Denser developments and a multiyear transportation plan are part of a blueprint local officials unveiled Friday to help increase affordable housing in the tri-county region.
"There is a disconnect between public transportation, housing and where our employment centers are," said Michelle Mapp, executive director of the S.C. Community Loan Fund.
At a local housing summit in North Charleston on Friday, Mapp's group unveiled a 10-page plan to address affordable housing needs.
The document included four action items: higher density development in urbanized areas; saying "yes" to new development for changing demographics; development of a 50-year transit and transportation plan; and replicating innovative developments.
Mapp added that the next step will be to put the plan to work. Her nonprofit is hoping to jump-start efforts with a $5 million fund to finance community development projects like affordable housing.
Mapp said one issue that still needs to be addressed is the stigma of affordable housing.
"The key critical issue is about public education, and we are increasingly seeing communities coming out in opposition to affordable housing projects," she said. "We need to help people understand that we are growing and that growth is not going to stop, so we need to figure out how we can all coexist."
Mapp said the idea has worked in areas like Daniel Island with the affordable housing development Seven Farms Apartment.
The Community Loan Fund held Friday's summit at Trident Technical College in North Charleston. It included presentations and panelists from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors and Davis & Floyd, an engineering and architecture firm.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said his city "is working real hard" on the affordablity issue.
"And we don't have all the answers and we need more ideas and need to find ways to get greater access to capital," Riley said.
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Housing Needs Assessment study released earlier this year found that thousands in the region spend an inordinately large amount of their incomes on housing.