Member Spotlight

City of Columbia Employees Participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

City of Columbia Employees participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

On February 3rd, City of Columbia employees were invited to participate in a poverty simulation to help people better understand the complicated life one lives when in poverty. The event was coordinated by the American Bar Association and held at the South Carolina Bar Conference Center. Members of the Columbia legal community were also in attendance including students and faculty and staff from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The simulation lasted 2.5 hours and was broken up into five “weeks,” with each week lasting approximately 15 minutes. Attendees were given character profiles which included their character’s name and a brief backstory of their experiences. They were then broken into teams, or "families", and had the goal of meeting their families’ most basic needs. Volunteers took on roles as bank representatives, social service workers, day-care providers, legal aid attorneys, grocers and employers, all offering services or goods the families needed to survive.

The following video highlights the simulation in February, and more detailed information can be found in this article.

Midlands Housing Trust Fund is Now a Certified CDFI

Midlands Housing Trust Fund logo

Congratulations to SCACED member Midlands Housing Trust Fund (MHTF) which has been formally certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the CDFI Fund of the United States Department of the Treasury.

Since MHTF was founded in 2010 as an initiative of the United Way of the Midlands, achievement of CDFI certification was a primary organizational objective. MHTF has reached its CDFI certification goal almost a year ahead of its original timeline.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are a select group of mission-driven specialized financial institutions working to transform lives in some of America's most underserved communities. The Midlands Housing Trust Fund's focus is on financing affordable housing for households at or below 80% of area median income in twenty-three South Carolina counties. In the MHTF service area there are tens of thousands of households that qualify for housing MHTF will finance. More than 50% of renters and 35% of homeowners in the counties we serve are "housing cost burdened," paying more than 30% of their income for housing. When housing costs are too high, hard choices have to be made every month: Do I buy healthy food for my children? Can I afford the prescriptions I need? Buy new tires for the car I need to get to and from work? Or pay the rent?

MHTF has already made a difference. They have deployed more than $1 million in financing that has helped create or preserve 230 units of affordable housing. MHTF expanded its service area from its original seven counties to now serve twenty-three counties. Their impact objective is to reduce the number of housing cost burdened individuals and families and help them re-allocate resources to begin building wealth: saving for homeownership; helping pay for college education for their children; and having enough to not retire in poverty. Affordable housing is the cornerstone to help people begin making those incremental financial improvements in the lives.

As a certified CDFI, the Midlands Housing Trust Fund will now be able to access financial resources previously unavailable for affordable housing finance in the region. And as the only CDFI solely focused on affordable housing finance, MHTF is uniquely positioned to catalyze holistic community development in some of the most marginalized areas of South Carolina.

Visit to learn more about the Midlands Housing Trust Fund.