Officials say Horry Co. needs more affordable housing

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) There's a big push for affordable housing inside Horry County. Officials have just updated the latest housing numbers, and WMBF News is learning there's a growing need.

Officials say more people in Horry County are having trouble putting a roof over their head.

Officials say the fact is -- If you are working on minimum wage inside the county, you have to work about 86 hours per week just to afford a two bedroom apartment at market price. The county's low wages aren't budging, and to make matters more difficult, the cost of housing keeps going up.

Officials say because many families struggle to make ends meet, more affordable housing is needed.

There are more than one thousand affordable housing units inside Horry County right now, and planning officials say that number isn't enough.

The number of people who need affordable housing can't get it because the county doesn't have any more places to offer. Officials say something needs to be done so more people can actually live and work inside Horry County.

"They need to have these affordable housing units to help them stay near the area," said Diana Seydlorsky with the Horry County Community Development Block Grant program. "Otherwise if they don't have a car, or even just thinking the price of gasoline alone, they can't really afford to go into work."

Now that officials are looking at the latest information, they are figuring out what should be done to fix the problem. The comprehensive plan for the county calls for officials to open the door for developers to come in and build more affordable housing units. It even asks for officials to take it a step further by considering providing tax and other incentives to get more people to tap into affordable housing projects.

Once these complexes are brought in, the goal is to keep everything subtle-- so you won't know which areas are affordable housing, and which ones aren't.

People say they think the county should be doing more to help. "Yes that would be nice," said Vicki Grate, who lives in Horry County. "People now can't afford what they've got. So if we had more government help that would be more great for people."

Officials are figuring out how to diversify the housing inside the county to work for everyone. They want to spread out affordable housing so it won't be associated with a particular area. Officials also tell WMBF News there are plans in the works for a 56 unit complex to be built in Little River. If the application goes through, it will be ready for construction by next year.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.