Charleston Mayor unveils Lowcountry Rapid Housing program to tackle homelessness

Charleston, South Carolina – On May 22, Charleston’s Mayor William Cogswell revealed plans to start the Lowcountry Rapid Housing Program. This ambitious initiative aims to combat homelessness in four local areas by quickly providing homes and extensive support services to people and families without homes. The program adopts a Housing First approach, which prioritizes getting people housed immediately and supports them toward securing long-term, affordable housing with various additional services.

During the Mayors’ Summit on Homelessness and Affordability, Mayor Cogswell, together with Summerville’s Mayor Russ Touchberry, spearheaded a detailed discussion about the project. Mayor Cogswell has garnered the backing of Mayor Touchberry, Mayor Reggie Burgess of North Charleston, and Mayor Will Haynie of Mt. Pleasant, creating a united front to offer quick help to the homeless in their communities. Funding for this program will come from each of the municipalities involved, with Charleston taking the lead.

The Lowcountry Rapid Housing Program will set up individual living units that offer private areas for sleeping and personal hygiene. Additionally, these units will provide access to comprehensive services including help with obtaining ID, mental health and addiction treatment, physical therapy, job training, and more. These services are designed to equip the homeless with the necessary tools and skills for a stable, long-term housing situation.

“This is an interim solution to a long-term problem. We can’t solve affordability overnight, but we can give people a safe place to sleep and a helping hand,” said Mayor Cogswell. “This concept has proven effective in other cities, including Columbia, and I’ve been working closely with our area mayors to ensure we create a rapid housing initiative tailored to the needs of the Lowcountry.”

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The upcoming tasks include selecting a location for the program that can be easily reached by public transport and is convenient for residents from all the involved municipalities. After the site and design plans are complete, the proposal will be presented to the city council of each municipality for approval of the plans and the budgets.

Cindy Carey


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