Shortage of workforce housing available on Hilton Head: 'We've got to do something'
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. () — Every year tourism brings in billions of dollars for Hilton Head Island. However, the people who serve those visitors and take care of them can’t afford to live there.

First responders, teachers and hospitality workers are the biggest drivers of the workforce in Hilton Head — they’re the heartbeat of the island.

“We don’t have enough workers because we don’t have enough housing,” Hilton Head Island Mayor Alan Perry said.

One of the reasons why there’s a shortage is because people can’t afford a home or rent to live on the island. That forces them to settle in neighboring counties and towns which adds an extra 30 minutes to an hour-long drive to work every day.

“We’ve got to do something and we’ve got to do something quicker than yesterday,” Perry said. “And it’s imperative to our livelihood. You know, we thrive on hospitality and tourism. And if we don’t have the right workers in place, then we all start to suffer a little bit.”

Town leaders and private companies know how important it is to fix this problem. That’s why they’re working together to build affordable places for them to stay. New players like the nonprofit Coastal Community Development Corporation have joined in to help too.

“What we really have to do is create a toolbox that works on many different levels, you know, from a public-private partnership, a private, you know, situation,” Perry said. “Then this charitable situation we have with the CCDC.”

Northpoint Development off William Hilton Parkway and Coligny Plaza’s Lofts are a couple of projects in the works.

Not only is a shorter drive to work more convenient but also families setting roots on the island and becoming part of the community is beneficial for all as well.

“To work where you live, you get a better employee that way,” Perry said. “And it’s about, you know, they build community here, right? They build relationships here.”

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