LEARN More About the Issues

 

We need to be asking the right questions.

 

First, are the numbers right?  We will work with local experts and the 2020 Census numbers to check the results of past housing studies, as well as follow the recommendations of the Report on Homelessness in GC from 2019 and the 2020-2024 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice.

 

Second, how are the current regulations keeping homeowner associations and multifamily housing developers and builders from being able to build more affordable housing?  

 

What should our priorities be?

 

I suggest the following:

  • Increase access to housing and exits from homelessness
    • Strengthen our County’s coordinated responses

    • Reduce barriers to housing

    • Support transit systems

    • Impact policymaking

      • Increase housing options located near Greenlink routes 

      • Increase revenue for financing

      • Research and create appropriate solutions for moving people off the streets, out of emergency shelters, and into short and long-term housing solutions

      • Examine County zoning laws - especially the addition of inclusionary zoning

  • Structure housing development and building incentives and spending so that people can live closer to their jobs, affordably

  • Consider housing density codes in order to both improve affordable housing and decrease sprawl

Other data from SC Housing ranked Greenville County as one of the highest in the state for number of households that are rent burdened (50% or more paid from income on housing and utilities).  This metric reflects  the number of people who could potentially become homeless (especially during a public health and economic crisis) because of costs, adding to our 32,000 homeless individuals.  The federal relief package resulting from COVID-19 would be inadequate due to excluding the homeless population.

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As indicated in this slide used with permission from the Greenville Transit Authority's (GTA) annual meeting, neither the City of Greenville nor Greenville County are providing adequate funding for Greenlink; however, the City is investing more dollars for fewer people than the County is for more people.  Why can’t ALL people throughout Greenville County have reasonable and reliable access to public transit?

When I am elected, County Council will look for ways to sustainably fund Greenlink.  The 2020-2024 Transit Development Plan (TDP) estimates that Greenlink needs about $16 million to operate, yet it is currently funded at only $7.5 million--which comes from several sources.  The $8.5 million annual deficit that Greenlink currently faces is unacceptable.

Recommended improvements:

  1. Extend night service*

  2. Extend Saturday service*

  3. Add weekday frequency

  4. Add Saturday frequency

  5. Add Sunday service

*Of note on recommendations 1 and 2, this year’s Greenlink appropriation has increased thanks to both the City of Greenville and Greenville County.  Unfortunately, due to the post-COVID-19 workforce shortage, it has been difficult to fill the vacant positions that would enable Greenlink to achieve this improvement. 

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All County employees should take part in unconscious bias training.  Unconscious bias "is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another, in a way that is usually considered unfair." 

 

Learning about our own unconscious biases and how to dismantle the systems that result from them will improve the way County representatives govern, serve, and protect.

Inclusive and thoughtful set of laws for ALL Greenvillians is one part of inclusive diversity.  Equal enforcement of that set of laws is another. Being an inclusive County means the rights of ALL citizens matter. 

 

A concrete step toward ensuring ALL Greenvillians receive the same access to public safety and that ALL taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly would be to consider oversight of agencies like the Greenville County Sheriff's Office (GCSO). The GCSO protects the safety of our entire community, which means we should invest in training its personnel to follow the law, not practice above it.

 

Our minority communities have been disproportionately affected by unequal application of the law.  In fact, Greenville County has settled several liability lawsuits, totaling $1.8 million in 2019, mostly due to claims of abuse of power in one form or another. 

Such reactionary spending calls into question whether the current County Council Republican’s claims of fidelity to fiscal responsibility is just a party platform policy point, rather than reality. 

We are a stronger County when we are inclusive. Let’s make a Greenville County for everyone.

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CHILDCARE

Greenville County has been named as the top "childcare desert" in the state of South Carolina.  For at least five decades, improvement in the area of child care has remained stagnant, and if neither the State nor Federal government will take action, it is an economic imperative for us to become innovative to create solutions on a County level.  

 

One tactic would be to bring Greenville County businesses together, and work on collaborative solutions to offer its employees childcare. Some businesses in our County already provide childcare solutions, including on-site care, stipends or credits, emergency care, and taking advantage of the existing SC tax credit that incentivizes businesses to offer childcare solutions to their employees.  More work is needed. I have started work on this during the past year, and will continue as your County Councilwoman with the support of local organizations and businesses.

 

 For children:

  • The National Bureau of Economic Research recruited a high-risk sample of children ranging in age from 8-weeks to 5-years, and followed them through their mid-30s.

  • Boys who attended childcare programs with enriching activities, qualified faculty, & nurturing environment were:

    • 11-19% more likely than boys in lower-quality facility to be employed by age 30.

    • To earn between $19,000-$24,000 more than boys who had been in lower-quality facilities.

    • Less likely to commit costly crimes.

    • 13.5% annual return on investment in early-childhood programs for disadvantaged children.

  •  Girls who attended high-quality programs were

    • 13-15% more likely to graduate high school.

    • 13% more likely to graduate college.

    • 8-13% more likely to have job at age 30.

 

For families:

  • Women make up almost half of workforce.

  • Woman are the primary or co-bread-winner in half of all families with children:

    • 29.93% Greenville County children are raised by a single female parent

    • 4.98% GC children raised by single male parent

  • Women are disproportionately susceptible to facing economic insecurity at all stages of their life through: 

    • Employment discrimination.

    • Overrepresentation in low-wage jobs.

    • Difficulty accessing affordable, comprehensive healthcare.

    •  Greater responsibilities for unpaid caregiving.

    • Women are more likely than men to give up work, and pay steep penalties for doing so if they ever wish to return to work.

 

 For employers:

  • The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in infants and young children supports the fact that quality child care leads to a more proficient workforce.

  • Social emotional competence provided through quality care environment equally or more important to future academic development than learning numbers and letters.

  • Parents who have access to quality care and/or schedules that allow flexibility are more productive and happy at work

  • Access to high quality affordable care for their young children enables 25,818 parents to work, increasing workforce productivity and family incomes by over $1 billion annually. 

  • Conversely, the inability of some parents to access dependable child care costs the South Carolina economy $900 million in foregone wages and absenteeism.