Greater metropolitan Charleston is growing by leaps and bounds, to the point where it encompasses three surrounding counties. And while attracting eager businesses and residents is a good thing, when the region attempted to re-open as the pandemic eased, it wasn’t actually as resilient as it could have been. Looking ahead, a forward-thinking coalition called OneRegion stepped up to help the community achieve equity and economic momentum; making sure that affordable housing is a priority within that plan is where the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® comes in. A Consumer Advocacy Grant from the REALTOR® Party is helping to get the community on board.
As Government Affairs Director Josh Dix explains, “The OneRegion coalition was formed in 2016 by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Regional Development Authority, Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, local elected officials, and certain other community stakeholders – like us, the REALTORS®. Together, we’ve been focusing on how to be a strong and resilient community, and how to best be positioned to rebound after any disaster – hurricanes and other destructive weather events, in particular. This will take more than just jobs,” he notes, “it means housing for all pay scales. In our region, housing continues to be a liability, and if corporations aren’t assured of housing for their employees, they’ll look elsewhere to our peer markets.”
The OneRegion Road Map, introduced early in 2023, lays out a strategy to address the most important foundations of a healthy community, from affordability and infrastructure to global fluency and attracting and retaining talent; it was developed from a year’s worth of public input and discussion. The whole process, says Dix, has facilitated dialogue about the issues, promoting regional conversations, instead of trying to make progress in isolated ‘silos.’ The goal now is outreach, he says.
“We’re now full-steam ahead, and this Consumer Advocacy Outreach Grant from the REALTOR® Party is supporting our campaign to build awareness and enthusiasm for the plan. In addition to digital advertising, we’re getting a strong grass-roots advocacy system in place, with local community members presenting the message to their communities at work, church, kids’ play groups, Rotary, and anywhere else a personal interaction can sell a vision. One of the things we were able to do with the grant was create a digital slide deck to be presented at community stakeholder meetings. We are communicating with our elected leaders,” says Dix, “but, as importantly, we need to reach the people who show up at City Council meetings objecting to planning and development, and everyone in-between.”
He reiterates the importance of dialogue. “Getting people talking gets them thinking, and understanding, that without development and growth, we can’t have the diversity we want, and can’t support the mom-and-pop shops we love. In order to do that, we have to have the economic base, and that requires housing. This campaign is about helping people to understand that housing and economic development are connected, and we need housing at all economic price points. It can take a long time to get to the action steps, but as long as we’re moving forward toward alleviating the cost burden of housing throughout the region, that’s progress.”
To get there, Dix is a big believer in the REALTOR® Party programs. “If there’s a resource, I try to apply for it,” he says. “I need all the tools I can get!”
To learn more about how the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® is advocating for the long-term economic well-being of its region, contact Government Affairs Director Josh Dix at email@example.com or 843.608.8625.