1) What do you feel are the best strategies for addressing the homelessness/unsheltered population issue in Charleston?
The homelessness issue in Charleston is multifaceted & complex. No one solution will fix it, but here are 2 that will help: 1. We need to continue to grow the CARE Team, which has been very, very successful. Each month, CARE helps dozens reunify with family members out of state, dozens get into addiction treatment, and dozens access mental health care. 2. We need to find an appropriate location for a low-barrier shelter. Unhoused numbers are flat, but it seems like they’ve risen due to discontinued programs in the pandemic. A built shelter is better than improvised housing for all involved.
2) What is your position on economic development incentives and how can the City work with economic development partners to incentivize business relocation and expansion?
The main way to attract people here is to make the city a place people want to live in, so they find a way to do so. One of the first things I did in office was work with Mayor Goodwin to create a Small Business Liaison – someone to help entrepreneurs get through city processes, so they can focus on running their businesses. I’m in the process of letting small businesses streamline their city obligations by allowing the option of annual payments if that’s easier for the business. Some small businesses prefer to make their payments at tax time and they should be able to do that if they want to.
3) Charleston City Council has 26 council members. Do you believe that this number is too large to be effective or it adequate? Please explain your answer.
We need to have more, not fewer, people involved in helping our city grow and prosper. I believe our large and active council is a benefit. We should also encourage involvement through citizen advisory boards like the Green Team I helped establish, the Youth Council, public/online meetings, etc. I do, however, support more stringent, detailed, and accessible reporting of attendance for council and committee meetings on the City Clerk’s website.