By:  Nickelle Smith

Housing summit planned to address Spartanburg needs

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Spartanburg County leaders are trying to tackle problems with housing.

The United Way of the Piedmont is hosting a housing summit to educate the community.

The non-profit says half of the renters in spartanburg county are what they call “cost-burdened.”

They say those people are spending about a third of their income to keep a roof over their heads.

“There’s a lot of people who are probably having to make tough decisions, based on their finances, between housing and other basic needs because they’re having to spend so much on housing costs,” said United Way of the Piedmont’s Hannah Jarrett, Director of Financial Stability Strategy. “While families of all types can be cost burdened, the issue disproportionately affects renters, racial minorities, and households with lower income.”

The summit is organized by a housing work group with entities like the City of Spartanburg, Upstate Forever, Spartanburg Housing Authority, SC Community Loan Fund, TD Bank, and United Way of the Piedmont.

“Gentrification is certainly something that’s important for us to be aware of, to try to prevent or even lessen in whatever ways we can. I think that’s part of creating community- wide vision for housing,” said Jarrett. “It’s not just organizations and entities working in silos but also some type of development occurs where there might be displacement of some kind, we have a community-wide response to that.”

The housing summit is May 30th from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Converse College.

“We will cover everything from housing data, what the needs are for housing in our community, as well as the impact of housing so whether it’s an education perspective, health perspective, business – what is the impact,” said Jarrett. “We’ll have guest speakers from across the nation share about different strategies that we could explore here in Spartanburg.”

Jarrett said it’s open to anyone, but they hope stakeholders like landlords, homebuilders, realtors, developers, banks, and community leaders can attend.

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