In his inaugural address on January 19, 1971, then Governor John C. West pledged that "We can and we shall in the next four years initiate new and innovative programs which will, in our time, provide adequate housing for all citizens of our State." Five months later, the Bill creating the South Carolina State Housing Authority was signed into law.
The State Housing Authority was created by Act No. 500 on June 22, 1971. The powers of The State Housing Authority were vested in a Board of Commissioners: the Governor and the State Commissioner of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, or their designees, and seven members having experience in the fields of mortgage finance, banking, real estate, and home building. The first Board of Commissioners was appointed and their first meeting was held in September of 1971.
Just a short year later, the first major housing program was launched. It was called the Basic Home Program and was designed to demonstrate that a home could be built for between $7,500 and $13,500, without government subsidy, and would be acceptable to low income households. These homes were first built in Beaufort, Berkeley, Colleton, Dorchester, Jasper, and Lee counties.
The State Housing Authority's powers were expanded by Act No. 76 of 1977 to permit the issuance of bonded indebtedness to support certain housing programs. The Act was signed into law by then Governor James Edwards. The first bond issue raised $75 million in mortgage revenue and the second raised twice that much. By law, all Notes and Bonds issued by The State Housing Authority become special obligations of The State Housing Authority and not debts, grants, or loans of credit of the State of South Carolina, or any of its political subdivisions.
Act No. 538 of 1988 officially changed the name of The State Housing Authority to the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing). Also in 1988, Act No. 57 permitted SC Housing to make home equity conversion loans.
In 1995, SC Housing introduced its innovative "Stepping Home" program. This is a low interest rate (3%) home mortgage and counseling program for persons currently in Section 8 subsidized housing. SC Housing received national recognition for establishing this program.
By law, SC Housing responsibilities are to investigate housing conditions; acquire, own, and lease personal property; construct, reconstruct, and operate housing developments; and aid in planning and constructing housing for members of the Beneficiary Classes. The Beneficiary Classes are individuals or families whose gross annual income falls within the low or moderate-to-low income limits as defined by State and Federal legislation.
Today, SC Housing's programs have made housing affordable for more than 150,000 people. It has issued more than $1.1 billion in tax exempt bonds that provide financing for affordable housing without the use of any tax generated revenues. Moody's and Standard and Poor's consistently award SC Housing's Bonds their highest ratings, and its loan portfolio is worth more than $500 million. According to the National Council of State Housing Agencies SC Housing "ranks among the nation's most financially secure and well-managed housing finance agencies."