New Life On Charleston’s East Side

Humanities Foundation brings together a coalition of partners to address community needs.

The Charleston East Side is a historic neighborhood that used to lie under the shadow of the old Cooper River bridges. Once the largest community of free black craftsmen in the nation, but for most of this century an area of poverty and blight, the East Side is now seeing a dramatic increase in investment and rehabilitation. For many longtime residents, neighborhood improvements and development bring fears of gentrification and displacement.

“I’m so thankful for our partnership with the Humanities Foundation. Tracy and her team provide affordable housing with services to the residents, helping to build community and quality of life in our city with a caring touch.” ~ John T. Tecklenburg – Mayor, City of Charleston

The Humanities Foundation, in a joint venture with James Doran Company, identified the East Side of Charleston, South Carolina as a priority area for our Affordable Housing Development, Resident and Community Services, and Advocacy. In a collaboration with the City of Charleston, Community leaders, Historic Preservation Groups, and Advocacy groups the Foundation has worked to identify opportunities to preserve existing affordable housing while developing new housing opportunities for low to moderate-income seniors. Last year the Foundation purchased the Archer School from the Charleston County School Board with funds allocated by the City of Charleston Affordable Housing Bond Fund. The Climb Fund also provided additional funding to assist with predevelopment costs. The site will be preserved with new construction added to house 89 one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors between 30% and 80% of the Area Median Income. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

In addition, the Foundation recently closed on two parcels of land on Lee Street, part of the old Cooper River bridge parcel. The proposed development will be a 78-unit senior affordable housing community. The Foundation collaborated with the City of Charleston to swap properties that will be utilized for storm water drainage as part of the effort to address flooding in the area. The Climb Fund is also a funding partner in the Lee Street property.

“Utilizing a property swap with Humanities Foundation will bring forth a win-win solution for the community. Closing on the swap required close collaboration between both parties, and our strong working relationship allowed us to hammer out all the necessary details to move the swap forward to eventually create additional housing that is desperately needed in our community.” ~ Geona Shaw Johnson, Director – Department of Housing and Economic Development, City of Charleston

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