Opinion

Rock Hill’s affordable housing programs help residents buy, maintain, remain in homes

For nearly a decade the city, Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods and HDC have partnered on the revitalization of the Hagins-Fewell neighborhood and redevelopment of the Arcade Mill property.
For nearly a decade the city, Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods and HDC have partnered on the revitalization of the Hagins-Fewell neighborhood and redevelopment of the Arcade Mill property. Herald file

The Housing Development Corp. of Rock Hill will celebrate this year’s many accomplishments at its annual meeting on Tuesday in support of affordable housing in our community.

The board – comprised of local lawyers, realtors, bankers, council members and prior program participants – is committed to serving Rock Hill’s low- to moderate-income families by improving housing and economic opportunities through education and financial assistance.

The HDC has been a strategic partner for over 25 years in developing and implementing programs to increase the availability and accessibility of affordable housing in Rock Hill. On behalf of the Rock Hill City Council I would like to say thank you to the board, volunteers and partners that make these opportunities a reality.

We are pleased to support their mission and progress through the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Department, grants division, and annual allocations of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

Last year, through the HDC’s rehabilitation program 58 homes were repaired for low- to moderate-income homeowners, representing an investment of nearly $200,000 in grant funding, in-kind contributions, and donated labor through partnerships with various faith-based organizations. The homebuyer education class reached 188 individuals (a 31 percent increase over the previous year) with valuable training on credit, mortgage finance and home maintenance.

Of those participants, five clients went on to receive a total of $33,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase homes through the First Time Homebuyer Program.

For nearly a decade the city, Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods and HDC have partnered on the revitalization of the Hagins-Fewell neighborhood and redevelopment of the Arcade Mill property. Construction of three new units of affordable housing is currently under way in the Arcade Mill Village following completion of additional infrastructure.

Affordable housing is a complex and ever evolving community issue, and the HDC continues to adapt its programs and focus to ensure community-specific needs are being addressed. For example, in 2009 as foreclosure rates increased, HDC started mortgage assistance efforts. Last year 279 default counseling sessions were provided to 175 families, helping them successfully avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. This program works directly with bank’s loan modification programs to negotiate sustainable and affordable modifications at no-cost to the homeowner, and also refers eligible clients to SC Housing Corporation’s mortgage assistance program, SC HELP.

There is no simple solution or single answer to ensuring accessibility of affordable housing in our community, but organizations such as the Housing Development Corporation of Rock Hill have demonstrated long-term commitment to responsible and sustainable programs for those seeking assistance, demonstrating compassion and helping to make Rock Hill a quality community.

Doug Echols is mayor of Rock Hill.

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