Already faced with shortages, Greenville housing providers see enormous challenges ahead when it comes to affordable senior housing.
More than 50,000 Greenville County residents were 65 or older in 2018; the population will swell to 73,141 by 2029, according to an affordable housing strategic plan published in October by the Greenville Housing Fund and the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority.
The demand for affordable senior housing is driven by demographics, said Bryan Brown, president and CEO of the Greenville Housing Fund.
“We have an aging population nationally, and Greenville is no different,” Brown said. “In fact, in some ways, Greenville might be more pronounced because we have people moving here in retirement, and a number of them are on fixed incomes.”
Statewide, fewer than 47 homes were available for every 100 extremely low-income renters last year, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition reports. Twenty-two percent of those extremely low-income renter households are seniors.
The problem, already bad, is getting worse.
When Heritage at Sliding Rock, a senior living complex in Nicholtown, opened, all 60 units had been rented, and there was a wait list 250 names long.
Income-restricted senior housing communities elsewhere in Greenville all have waiting lists, too, Brown said.
The county is already 10,000 units behind on affordable housing and also must rehab another 3,000 existing units over the next decade, according to the Greenville Affordable Housing Coalition, which launched last fall. If the county does nothing, it will be more than 20,000 units behind on the number of affordable homes it can provide by 2030.
The city of Greenville recently donated 19 parcels of land near Unity Park to help stem the need.
Totaling nearly 6 acres and valued at over $8 million, the properties will be used to develop affordable and workforce housing. A 148-unit development for seniors using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program will be the first project to be constructed, Brown said.
“The majority of units that we develop down there, the average rent will be 50% to 60% of the area median income (AMI),” Brown said.
For a household of one, 50% of the AMI is $26,215 a year.
Greenville Mayor Knox White said the desire is that longtime Southernside residents will be able to remain in the neighborhood.
More housing for seniors older than 62 also just opened up at The Preserve at Logan Park, a Greenville Housing Authority development on the site of the former Scott Tower, which was imploded in 2014.
The Preserve features 113 spacious, newly constructed, one-bedroom units with dishwashers, microwaves, stackable washers and dryers, a game room, fitness center, laundry room and computer lab, according to the Housing Authority.