America's Cold Civil War

I want to first talk a little about apartments, and then low-income tax-credit apartments.

Irmo's population is aging. A lot of us have kids that have grown up, graduated, got married and settled wherever. The rest of us that are left here, enjoy it and know it's a great place to live. Based on my other pages, the rankings are there to prove just that.
We do have younger people moving into some of our neighborhoods buying homes, but because of the economic recession years ago, a lot of people are not buying homes and renting. Nothing wrong with that, I've rented in the past an old one bedroom home in the country, single-wide mobile homes, duplexes, apartments and houses.
When the economy collapsed, people were foreclosed on, people who wanted to buy homes couldn't because of the credit crunch,started renting apartments, houses, anything they could find. As home buying decreased, builders got out of the home building. A lot of builders went to building apartments. There is a very high demand for rentals throughout the United States, Columbia area, and Irmo as well. People are moving to the south, people are moving to Richland County and Lexington County, people are moving to Irmo. We are one of the safest cities, best places to live, and in School District Five, which is the number one school district in the state. We have three new subdivisions on the drawing board. A lot of people who move into the area look to rent first, and then decide where they are moving and buying. Good people, good incomes, they'd make good residents, and we need them.
Young people also move into the apartments, young families move into apartments who don't yet have good credit history in order to buy. But if there are available rentals, homes and apartments, and they move there, and like the area, they are more than likely going to stay in that general vicinity. Partly due to convenience and familiarity, and if they have kids, they want to keep them in certain schools.
If we don't allow apartments in Irmo, we are hurting Irmo's future and shooting ourself in the foot. Now some may say, they aren't against apartments, they're against “low-income” apartments. So let's talk about that for a moment.
There are multiple types of low-income apartments. You've heard of Section 8, and that's a different type of public housing than low-income tax-credit apartments. With low-income tax-credit apartments the people have to an income, they could be working or retired. Typically, depending on the number of bedrooms and number of members in the family, you are looking at approximately $12 per hour minimum to qualify, and no more than about $18 per hour or your income is too high. Even though they are called low-income tax-credit apartments, because that's the title, most people refer to them as workforce housing. They are working people or have been working and have a retirement or social security, and fit a great need in every and any community. We all know people whose children have graduated high school or college, got a job, and everything they want to rent is $1200-1500 per month or better. We know people who have lived in our neighborhoods, a spouse dies, they're living off social security and they can't keep the house. These places offer an affordable rent, in a safe environment for our citizens, our friends and family members, our neighbors to live.
You may not know, but in order to keep the tax credits the apartment owners have a lot of conditions they have to meet for the entire 30 year mortgage: surprise inspections by the State Housing Authority, by the Tax Credit Authority, by the Lending Bank Authority, Credit Reports and Criminal Background Checks are done on all the applicants. There are rules in the apartments, if violated can cause eviction, and new tenants off the waiting list are moved in, and that alone helps to control the people in there. They don't want to lose their affordable rent and have to go somewhere that won't be as nice and it will be a whole lot more. Even in these LITHC Apartments the rents are still more than most people think. They can run anywhere from 6-700 for a two bedroom, and 800-900 for a three bedroom, which is still over the affordable housing equation of no more than 30% of income should go to housing, which includes your rent and utilities. In fact this program allows 40% of your income to go towards rent, and up to 50% in some situations. There are homes in our neighborhoods in Irmo that are renting for approximately $1/square foot a month, and that is everywhere in any growing metro area in South Carolina where people are moving.
Because of these guidelines on the people moving in, the background checks, the rules list, the quality of the people moving in, and the controls to keep the property maintained inside and out is why I don't have a fear of these affordable workforce apartments. I don't believe we need 10,000 units, and I don't believe that many would ever get approved. There is limited funding for instance out of the 37 projects turned into the State of South Carolina only 12 or 15 will get funded. It is that way every year, and most developers build between 40 and 50 units per complex. So they're not large 500 unit complexes like market rent apartments have to do in order to make the numbers work.
Yes, people can say they bring traffic, but less than Dunkin Donuts or similar type drive-thru business and fast food business would create. Less than a Lizard's thicket, gas station, and any type similar square footage type buisness. A 48 unit apartment would create about 400 ins and outs a day. Get this, a Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, fast food restaurant creates about 4,000-5,000 ins and outs per day.
Irmo has a Section 8 apartment complex called Irmo Village. We have LIHTC age-restricted complex, and we have very very limited few calls relating to our police department. I can name neighborhoods that we spend more time in, a lot of time. I can buy a home in a neighborhood and rent it out to anybody I want to, no credit check, no criminal background check, and be an absentee landlord, and the Town can have all kinds of issues with the property, the tenants, and with the absentee landlord trying to correct that stuff. With the apartment complexes, and for that matter with good property managers of rental home property, we can call them up and they know we can take their business license, their rental license, and they are very eager to resolve issues and correct them.
I know some people wish they weren't here. I wish there wasn't a need either, and everybody could afford to live where they want to live, a safe clean neighborhood or an apartment with pools and all the amenities that come with it. The truth of the matter is rents are escalating, people are struggling, and we all know somebody that could benefit by being able to move into a nice clean affordable apartment.

"Working to Make Irmo Better - We're Doing Just That"
November 5th, 2019