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Why some are saying 'Yes, in my backyard'

Also known as 'YIMBY', this new movement aims to provide a solution to America's affordable housing crisis.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A recent report by a non-profit organization, Up For Growth, found South Carolina's Housing deficit has reached 12,000 homes, ranking 32nd in the United States.

CEO Mike Kingsella said low supply drives up more than just housing prices. 

"We've seen more and more folks falling into housing instability and oftentimes increasing homeless populations on the streets around the nation," said Kingsella. "There are environmental impacts to and quality of life impacts, too."

But there's a new movement to address the housing crisis. It's called YIMBY. 

"YIMBY is short for 'Yes in my backyard', sort of a rejoinder to NIMBY which is generally a pejorative term for those who don’t support development," said Palmetto YIMBY twitter account founder Bryan Grady. 

Grady is using his years of experience in the housing sector to educate people about affordable housing and increase access to safe, affordable housing throughout the state. 

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"We need to build more low-income housing. We need to build more mid-income housing. We need to build more high-income housing. We need to build more of it, and we need to do it in a way that is distributed across the community," said Grady. 

Many cities throughout the United States have YIMBY groups, including bordering Georgia and North Carolina. Kingsella pointed to Oregon as an example where flexible housing has been built. 

"You have a mix of apartments, some are affordable, some are luxury. You have a mix of houses, some are duplexes all the way up to traditional single detached homes," said Kingsella. 

For many YIMBYs, including Grady, building more housing starts with changing city and county zoning rules. Richland County Council Member Allison Terracio explained the county's current land code. 

"So, you sort of have your large, medium and small, and not a lot of nuance in between," said Terracio. 

The county is currently rewriting the land development code, and Terracio hopes it will include several different types of housing. 

"We're trying to look into the future about how folks really want to live and create a world where there's enough housing for everyone to live," said Terracio. 

Right now in Richland County, Calhoun County, and Fairfield County, the average rent for a one bedroom home is almost $900. Further from the capital, rent for a one bedroom home averages nearly $700. 

Some counties in the Midlands are more affordable. In Orangeburg, Lee, and Clarendon counties, the average is nearly $600 a month.

Columbia City Council formed the Affordable Housing Task Force in 2020 to tackle the housing crisis. The task force will hold its next meeting August 9. 

RELATED: The Feds raised interest rates. Here's how it's impacting the local housing market.

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