City of Conway plans to spread affordable housing throughout the city

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) –  The city of Conway says it wants to reduce crime and poverty by moving more low income families out of subsidized housing and into other non-subsidized neighborhoods throughout the city.

There are almost 700 subsidized housing units in Conway. Director of City Planning Adam Emrick says the old subsidized housing model, which concentrated affordable housing in certain areas, isn’t working. “If you put all your affordable housing, low to moderate income housing together, it does not create a recipe for success.”

Emrick says the high concentration of affordable housing is having a negative impact. “We’ve noticed in correlation with the subsidized housing, we’ve got high instances of poverty, of crime, poor education high dropout rates.” The city hopes dispersing affordable housing throughout the city will help improve those issues. “If your neighbor has the same sub-standard housing that you have, it makes it harder to want to do more. If you can take someone with a low to moderate income and put them in a nicer neighborhood, it gives them the ability to want to do better with themselves.”

Emrick says the city is looking to move low to moderate income families into new housing developments, since integrating them into existing neighborhoods may be harder to do. The city will start this process at a new senior living community, Leland Grove, coming to the area near Church and 16th Streets. “They’ll be able to purchase a home in the neighborhood and the tenant in that house is low to moderate income. No one else in that neighborhood needs to know that,” says Emrick.