Regulating How the Housing Trust Fund is Administered

S.686 is a bill that makes slight adjustments to current law regulating the Housing Trust Fund:

  • Removes the dollar figure from the definition of “affordable housing,” leaving it more open to subjective interpretation
  • Allows housing development sponsors to be reimbursed for “reasonable fees and expenses” provided the payments do not exceed 15% of the trust fund award
  • Reduces the number of members of the trust fund advisory committee from 9 to 8, removing the member representing the South Carolina Housing Partnership
  • Requires that the advisory committee meet bi-annually, instead of quarterly
  • Prohibits more than 20% of trust fund dollars committed in a fiscal year to be spent in one county, rather than 20% of trust fund dollars spent in a fiscal year
  • Removes language specifying the type of special needs housing funds can be used for, broadening the possibilities of special needs housing projects
  • Directs that funds be used to make grants to local housing trust funds
  • Prohibits more than 15% of the annual trust fund deposits from being awarded as grants to units of state, regional, or local governments in any fiscal year

Overall, the changes are not drastic, although a couple of the changes do tend to broaden the scope of possible fund expenditures. However, it is not the role of government to pay for housing, even for lower-income households. The real problem is with the original law creating an agency that pays for housing from taxpayer dollars, not the current bill slightly adjusting the approach.

This bill also changes the name of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority to the Housing Finance Agency.

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