In 2014 and 2015, a host of partners including the City of Greenville and County of Greenville worked to address a tent city that had grown to over 100 individuals experiencing homelessness under the Pete Hollis Bridge. This White Paper which was released in 2015, outlined the situation, identified the major weaknesses in our system, and recommended a series of actions to close those gaps. GHA formed as a result of the efforts related to this paper. The hiring of a Homeless Coordinator in 2018 was the first prioritized recommendation achieved. The priorities outlined in the Homelessness White Paper can be viewed on page 16 of the report.
2017 GHA Homelessness Triangle Mediation
GHA partnered with the Upstate Mediation Center to facilitate a robust neighborhood discussion and decision-making process in response to concerns expressed by neighbors regarding improvements at the Salvation Army’s Rutherford Road campus that required zoning approval. Among the matters discussed were how best to accommodate the sometimes conflicting needs of people who are experiencing homelessness, service providers, and neighborhood residents and businesses as well as refining the role that civic institutions like municipal government and law enforcement can play in finding and effecting improvements and solutions. Recommendations for action were developed for various partner organizations as well as for the City of Greenville. An education and awareness plan was coordinated with the goal of providing events for neighbors in the mediation area to learn more about homelessness, poverty and associated issues.
2018 GHA Motel displacement Response Plan
A crisis involving a condemned motel in January 2018 challenged Greenville County nonprofits and local governments. This document outlines how non-profit agencies and governmental authorities can work together to address an abrupt displacement, when a large number of people are suddenly without shelter due to a motel closing. The document also provides data as to the county’s current homelessness situation and historical context for this collaborative response. Partners who comprise the primary response team are on page 16 and voluntarily supportive crisis services which may be deployed when a motel closes are on page 18 of the report.
2016 City of Greenville Affordable Housing Report
In 2016, the City of Greenville initiated a year-long study of affordable housing led by a 25-member volunteer steering committee and czb, LLC. The study resulted in the "Balancing Prosperity and Housing Affordability in Greenville" report which identified a deficit of 2,500 homes for households earning $20,000 or less annually. One of the recommendations in the study was the creation of a Housing Trust Fund to receive and disburse money to support the production and preservation of affordable housing units. On January 9, 2017, City Council appropriated $2 million in funding to establish the housing trust fund and provide seed funding for its start-up projects. Continued study in 2017, led by a 12 member volunteer working group and czb, LLC, resulted in a recommended framework for the Housing Trust Fund. In March 2018, the Greenville Housing Fund, a 501c3 organization, operating under the existing Community Works umbrella, opened its doors. For more information visit the Greenville Housing Fund . GHA is collaborating with GHF to enable thriving diverse neighborhoods in all of Greenville.
2018 Greenville County AFFORDABLE Housing Study
In April 2018, Greenville County Affordable Housing Study was publicly released. The Study prepared by czb LLC, provided County Council with valuable information revealing a deficit of 9500 affordable rental and homeowner housing for households earning $25,000 or less annually. The study concluded that because of a growing population and a relatively static wage environment for low and moderate-income families, the ability to find affordable decent housing for individuals or families was difficult or impossible in the County.
In addition, recommendations were included as to steps the County could take to alleviate the problem in the future. In August 2018, an update on recommendations were provided to address increasing affordable housing in the county. In January 2019, the County announced the formation of the Greenville County Affordable Housing Fund with the commitment of $1 million a year for five years.
This report outlines statewide housing needs. You can see eviction data on South Carolina. The average renter in SC cannot afford a basic two-bedroom apartment without overextending their budget in 41 of 46 SC counties. This includes Greenville. One in four SC renters experiences severe cost burden – meaning renters pay so much for housing, they come up short in meeting their most basic needs (food, fuel, etc.) Greenville County ranks third in the state for severely rent burdened households. There are key statewide gaps that contribute to homelessness in Greenville.