COLUMBIA, S.C. — Right now, there's a shortage of 7 million homes nationwide for prospective renters and buyers, with 17 million properties available needing significant renovations in all areas of our communities.
That's according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
This week, a new nonprofit launched in the Midlands with the goal improving the affordable housing shortage in our community.
It's called Haven Home.
"We will be raising capital to purchase single family homes. We'll then go in and work with those communities hand in hand to renovate those properties so they are at an equitable standard," said Haven Home Director, Dylan Gunnels. "Then we will make sure we are always offering rent and mortgages that are at an affordable rate based on what the community is facing."
Gunnels says the non-profit was created to help advance the growth and goals of the people in our community. Oftentimes, he says, the money we pay for a place to live doesn't allow much flexibility for outside spending.
"We believe that every person deserves a home. When we look at that, we say not just the brick and mortar structure that makes up a house," he explained. "When so many individuals in our community are cost burdened, which means they're paying 40% to 60% of their income on housing costs alone, it's a lot harder to come home and really dig into our dreams, our aspirations to give back to our families and our communities because a lot of our focus is just maintaining the brick and mortar structure so that we have something to come back to."
Studies from within the past year show the average person in South Carolina would have to make $17 an hour to cover the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment or two-bedroom home.
A person making minimum wage has to work 95 hours on average to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment or home.
"You can see just in the statistics of livable wages, it's extremely difficult for people to afford housing," said Gunnels. "That's an issue because housing is a human right and housing is a necessity."
Haven Home is looking to purchase the homes among the 17 million available nationwide. Many of these South Carolina properties may be inhabitable for a multitude of reasons, but they are homes the non-profit wants to flip to create sustainable models for underserved communities as well.
"We believe in scattered housing. We believe that affordable housing should not necessarily be segregated to one sect of the community," said Gunnels. "We believe that actually lends back to the diversity of socioeconomics, of race relations and so many other things that should be diversified in our communities when single family homes are purchased at an affordable rate across the community."
The non-profit plans to go further with their work. Beyond providing equitable housing for more community members, Haven Home will offer financial literacy and life skills classes, therapy and counseling for their renters and homeowners.
Haven Home's first fundraising campaign is planned for this upcoming week. Once they raise the capital, they'll be able to begin purchasing properties.
To learn how you can help, and to read more about Haven Home's mission, visit their website.