The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston was established in 1935 after a declaration of need by the City Council of Charleston. The mission is to provide decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing to low and moderate-income citizens of the City of Charleston.

Over 4,000 homes, roughly 9.2% of the population of the City of Charleston, are occupied by families who receive housing assistance through the Housing Authority.  With an average 98 percent occupancy rate, the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston provides homes to over 7,500 adults and children.  Because the Charleston Housing Authority owns the homes, rental rates are not as susceptible to market forces and rising property values, allowing the homes to remain affordable.

Many of the Housing Authority’s homes are indistinguishable from the surrounding neighborhoods. Over the past thirty years, new construction, as well as renovations, have taken place to assure both affordability and attractiveness. Specifically, the Housing Authority has produced more than 1,000 units of affordable, unsubsidized housing in the City of Charleston and assisted in fostering the construction of almost one thousand additional apartments by not-for-profit developers. Most recently, the Housing Authority completed two new housing developments on the peninsula: Williams Terrace, housing for seniors, and Grace Homes, modern one, two, and three-bedroom apartments; adding over one hundred additional affordable residences.

In order to continue to provide much needed additional affordable housing, and to further decrease its dependency on federal dollars, the Housing Authority has embarked on a development strategy, which had been utilized successfully in other cities, for the conversion of its Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. RAD was created to give public housing authorities (PHAs) a method to preserve and improve public housing properties by creating partnerships and agreements with private companies to facilitate the financing of improvements and deferred maintenance projects. Part of the process involves maintaining public stewardship by requiring ongoing ownership/control of the converted property by a public or non-profit entity affiliated with the PHA. Some of the land may in instances be leased to the partnership to qualify for tax credit equity while assuring that the housing authority maintains ownership of the land, and continued management of the residences.

The RAD program is a nationwide program, enacted in 2012, through HUD.  As of November, 2020, the RAD program has generated over $10 billion in construction investment for the improvement and replacement of 140,000 units of affordable housing throughout the United States. In 2019, the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston decided through Board resolution to utilize the RAD program after seeing that the backlog of nationwide public housing capital needs was estimated at over $35 billion. Through the RAD program, the Housing Authority plans to completely renovate most its 1,407 public housing units. In instances where feasible, the Authority also plans to reposition some units to allow for the construction of additional affordable housing units, effectively adding to its overall affordable housing stock. RAD allows for Public Housing units to move to a Section 8 based platform with a long-term contract. To do this, a limited liability partnership is typically created for each site conversion between a non-profit entity affiliated with the Housing Authority and a private investor. Some residents will be temporarily relocated during the renovation/repositioning period and will either move to available units or receive rental support during the relocation. Once renovation/repositioning is complete residents will receive assistance through a Section 8 based voucher program.

The program allows the Authority to accomplish these goals without selling its land and while still maintaining these residences. The process is expected to take approximately five to seven years to convert the whole portfolio but the Housing Authority has successfully procured both its debt and equity partners for its first RAD project, Kiawah Homes, which is estimated to cost $12 million to renovate 61 units, using a mix of state and federal tax credits, tax exempt bonds, and long-term financing. The Housing Authority plans to close on the financing of this project in fall of this year.  To learn  more about the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact:

                                                      Donald J. Cameron
                                                      President & CEO