Myrtle Beach city leaders are making the push for workforce housing to become available as soon as possible.
“There is an immediate need for us to figure out a workforce housing strategy,” said Brian Tucker, assistant city manager.
During the city council meeting on Tuesday, city officials and staff heard from Chad Charles, of the workforce housing advisory board. Charles reiterated goals and recommendations that were addressed to council in February, pushing for council to adopt them.
Some of those recommendations included establishing a public-private local workforce housing fund, establishing a density bonus program and creating a community land trust or land bank.
In February, Charles presented a strategic plan to council, which outlined the needs and some solutions that would allow people who work in the city to live in the city. He recommended 567 new housing units be built annually and have the city facilitate building 200 housing units annually for the seasonal workforce.
The 567 would be broken down into 250 rental units and 317 homeownerships with 87 apartments and 53 houses being affordable for those making $20,000-$73,000 annually, Charles said.
Charles had said targeted group spans from a one-person household making about $10 an hour to a four-person household bringing in about $35 an hour.
People who would qualify for workforce housing includes nurses, police officers, construction workers, waiters, bartenders, bus drivers and insurance brokers.
City Councilman Phil Render said the workforce housing initiative is critical to the success of Myrtle Beach.
“It’s a major spoke in the wheel of economic development,” he said.
One of the biggest talking points on Tuesday was who would oversee the initiative. Since January 2021, the city has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to study workforce housing needs.
Tucker said Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that studies housing supply, was also looking at the city’s housing situation. The group has also been looking at how the city can avoid gentrification and other community development topics. However, Enterprise’s study could take longer than anticipated forcing workforce housing to the back burner, Tucker said.
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