A more than $40,000 bill for infrastructure improvements at the North Strand Housing Shelter’s new building in Longs prompted officials at the nonprofit to scramble to work out a deal and keep its doors open.
Dana Black, executive director of the housing shelter, said the sum is a culmination of impact fees and infrastructure improvements by Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority from the planned two-story, 5,000-foot facility expansion of its existing building in Longs.
“We weren’t aware of the fact that we were going to have an impact fee,” Black said. “We’re trying to work through it now.”
Black said the organization works on an annual budget of $70,000, which she knew would grow in 2015 when the new addition to its existing building is scheduled to be complete. The expansion of the building on S.C. 9 will add 37 more beds to the facility and replace the existing 16-bed shelter, which will be converted into affordable housing.
The new shelter will include a large meeting room, dining, storage, bedrooms and bathrooms. The facility is designed to facilitate on-site case management, and life skills training.
Horry County Community Development provided $375,000 and the State Housing Trust Fund chipped in $300,000 combined with loans and donations to make the expansion happen.
Black said the water and sewer authority has met with shelter officials to resolve the money issue.
“They have offered a payment plan, which was very good for them to do,” Black said. “We didn’t get this far to stop now.”
Fred Richardson, chief executive officer of Grand Strand water and sewer, said piping leading up to the undeveloped area, fire protection requirements and additional infrastructure costs a good deal of money.
“We’re a utility,” Richardson said. “We make no distinguish from a for-profit or nonprofit.”
He said the authority agreed to ask the housing shelter for 25 percent as a down payment and to finance the remaining 75 percent over the next 20 years, which should save their budget from being gutted upfront.
“We did about as goo as we could do with them,” Richardson said.