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Unattainable Dreams: Housing Affordability in South Carolina

In our latest research brief, Statistician Max Petushko examines new data sources and releases to further explore dynamics addressed in the July 2022 brief "Unaffordable Housing." By integrating data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and Federal Reserve Economic Data (, this research spotlights major socioeconomic dynamics and connections between affordable housing, vacant houses, and householder age patterns in South Carolina. (DOWNLOAD PDF)

SCCMA Advisory Committee Meetings

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs will hold the following Advisory Committee meetings:

  • African American Affairs Advisory Committee, Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at 10 a.m. (Virtual) (Agenda)
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs Advisory Committee, Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at 10 a.m. (Virtual) (Agenda)
  • Native American Affairs Advisory Committee, Thursday, March 7, 2024, at 10 a.m. at the Old Santee Canal Park, 900 Stoney Landing Rd., Moncks Corner, SC 29461 (In Person) (Agenda)
  • Hispanic/Latino Affairs Advisory Committee, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 10 a.m. at the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, 246 Stoneridge Dr., Ste. 250, Columbia, SC 29210 (In Person)

The meetings will be streamed live, unless held in person, via the Commission’s YouTube page (

Those who wish to participate in the public input portion of the meeting should email your comments to Comments must be received no later than noon on the day of the scheduled meeting. Please include the following information when submitting public comment:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Date of Meeting
  • Meeting Name
  • Agenda Item
  • Comment (500 words or less)

For more information, contact the SC Commission for Minority Affairs at 803-333-9621 or

South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs Among Notable State Documents Winners

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs’ Statistical Profile FY2021-2022 has been recognized by the South Carolina State Library as one of the most notable South Carolina State Documents of 2023.

"At the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, we believe in the power of data to drive meaningful change,” Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta said. “This recognition reaffirms our commitment to providing the most comprehensive data that empowers decision-makers and help us continue to provide constructive solutions to support the socio-economic development of ethnic minorities in South Carolina. We are honored to receive this prestigious award for our Statistical Profile.”

Government documents come in a variety of formats. Winning categories include state agency monographs, serials, and websites or apps. These noteworthy publications call attention to some of the most informative documents released by state agencies in 2023.

The Statistical Profile serves to frame policy discussions around the importance of targeted interventions across a range of issues affecting minority communities today. The profile details the state’s cultural diversity and demographic shifts, economic and employment trends, educational and housing prospects, and health indicators.

“Our Statistical Profile serves as a cornerstone in understanding and addressing the unique needs of minority communities in South Carolina,” SCCMA Research Director Dr. Robert P. Fenton said. “I’m proud of our team’s dedication and expertise in producing this notable and extensive report.”

Winners of the South Carolina Notable State Documents awards are announced in honor of Freedom of Information Day, which occurs annually on March 16. Awards will be presented to the winning agencies and authors in a ceremony to be held at 10:00 a.m. at the State Library on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. For more information about the awards program, please visit the SC State Library’s subject guide.

Nominations for the Notable Documents Awards were submitted throughout the calendar year, with final candidates being judged by a panel of librarians and state employees.

Publications were judged based on their designs, writing styles, and breadth of information. The judges chose a unique group of twelve publications and websites for recognition, including a report on the effects of social isolation on older adults, a lovely annual publication showcasing the state’s agriculture industry, and a newly redesigned website by the agency charged with guiding the development of the arts in our state.

Leesa Aiken, South Carolina State Library director said, "South Carolina state documents provide a wealth of information, statistics, and share a broad range of knowledge about our state. I am pleased that we are able to publicly recognize these important publications and websites as notable documents and it is my hope that all South Carolina state agencies continue to produce high quality documents such as these."

South Carolina State Library 2023 Notable State Documents Winners:

Comparing 2022 American Community Survey 1-year Estimates with Recent Years

In our latest research brief, Research and Statistical Analyst Zhengyang Lin explores changes in key facets of the state’s minority demographics – ranging from population to education attainment – by comparing the 2021 and 2022 American Community Survey (ACS). (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business-Canvas Studio

Episode 4 of Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business is here, and we are thrilled to showcase the incredible all-women trio of Kathryn, Jessie, and Karla from Canvas Studio! Located on Augusta Road in West Columbia, SC, this nail salon studio is not just about beauty; it's about community, passion, and the power of small business.

In this episode, we dive deep into:

1. The journey of Canvas Studio and discover how Kathryn, Jessie, and Karla's unwavering commitment to their clients has made them a local favorite.
2. The innovative nail services, intricate designs, and high-quality products that have customers raving and coming back for more.
3. The power of women lifting each other up as the trio shares their passion for creating job opportunities for women in the community and their dedication to supporting local businesses.
4. How Canvas Studio has navigated the ups and downs of the nail and beauty industry, constantly evolving and adapting to ensure they are always at the top of their game.

Watch the episode: Facebook / YouTube

A Celebration of Native American Heritage: Chief Lamar Nelson

Join us in celebrating #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth! #TheCultureConnect met with Chief Lamar Nelson, CEO of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina.

Appointed to serve in 2020, Chief Nelson succeeded Dr. William Goings, bringing over 40 years of archaeological experience and multigenerational indigenous heritage to the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina.

Tune in as Chief Nelson and Host Daniel James II discuss the Chief’s Native American ancestry, his grandparents, his career as a tribal archaeologist, his election to Chief, and the prospect of a Native American Research Museum coming to South Carolina.

Listen to the episode: Facebook / YouTube 

SCCMA Board of Commissioners October Meeting

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (CMA) Board of Commissioners will meet on Thursday, October 26, 2023, at 10 a.m. in the CMA Conference Room (246 Stoneridge Dr., Columbia, SC 29210).

Those who wish to participate in the public input portion of the meeting should email comments to Comments must be received no later than noon on the day prior to the scheduled meeting. The following information must be included when submitting public comment:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Date of Meeting
  • Meeting Name
  • Agenda Item
  • Comment (500 words or less)

For more information, contact the SC Commission for Minority Affairs at 803-333-9621 or VIEW AGENDA

Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business-Landry Phillips, Regal Lounge

Situated on Bull Street in the heart of downtown Columbia, SC, Regal Lounge is more than just a barbershop; it's the epitome of luxurious grooming. With its majestic navy blue exterior and air of sophistication, once you step inside, Regal Lounge provides a space of opulence in an otherwise conventional grooming landscape.

In the third episode of "Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business," journey with us as we spotlight Landry Phillips, CEO and co-owner, behind the grooming destination, providing more than just a haircut and a shave, but an experience and exploration:

1. The inception of Regal Lounge and what fueled Landry's passion to elevate the grooming experience
2. The unique and signature services that set Regal Lounge apart, making it a sought-after destination in the Midlands
3. The challenges of building a business during the COVID-19 pandemic and how Landry leveraged small business resources to propel his vision forward even in the face of challenges
4. Landry's advice to budding entrepreneurs and his roadmap for success

For more information on Regal Lounge, visit Watch the episode: Facebook / YouTube

SC Commission for Minority Affairs to host the State’s First SC Hispanic/Latino Affairs Summit

The South Carolina Hispanic/Latino Affairs Summit is a must-attend event for anyone interested in celebrating and embracing the rich culture and contributions of the Hispanic/Latino community in South Carolina. Join us on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Midlands Technical College Airport Campus (1260 Lexington Dr., Room AC 143, West Columbia, SC 29170) for a day filled with insightful discussions.

At the first SC Hispanic/Latino Affairs Summit, you'll have the opportunity to connect with fellow community members and leaders and be inspired as they share their personal experiences and success stories advocating for the Hispanic/Latino community.

Beaufort County School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Rodriguez will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Rodriguez served the South Florida educational community for 26 years in a variety of positions prior to starting his position as superintendent of the Beaufort County School District. At the Florida Department of Education, Dr. Rodriguez served as a secondary Social Studies teacher and a program coordinator. He was also an elementary and secondary principal, an assistant superintendent for six district departments, and an area and regional superintendent in the Palm Beach County schools.

Other speakers include Maria Yturria, Deputy Chief of Professional Development/Public Affairs Office at Richland County Sheriff’s Department; The Honorable Michèle Patrão Forsythe, Family Court Judge at Charleston Circuit 9; Ivan Segura, Director of Multicultural Affairs at SCCMA; Vanessa Gongora, Territory Director for Norsan Media; Melanie Delgado, former Infrastructure Implementation Communications Intern at The White House; and Sarai Melendez, Councilmember of the City of Walhalla.

Don't miss this opportunity to be part of a vibrant event that celebrates the South Carolina Hispanic/Latino community. To RSVP, visit Eventbrite.

A Celebration of Filipino Heritage: Mrs. Elen Callahan

Let’s celebrate Filipino Heritage in America this coming October! The Culture Connect meets Mrs. Elen Callahan, vice president of Filipino American Association of Greater Columbia (FAAGC), South Carolina. Serving the Midlands for over 30 years, FAAGC has been a source of support, community, culture, and hope for Filipinos coming to South Carolina.

Catch this episode with Callahan where she discusses with host, Daniel James II, Filipino dance, traditions, her mother Priscilla’s food, hardships, opportunities, and the enormous contributions of Filipino people to South Carolina’s history & culture!

Learn more about how you can celebrate #FilipinoAmericanHistoryMonth at To watch the episode, visit our Culture Connect page.

The Palmetto (Luso-) Latinos?: A Profile of Brazilians in South Carolina

Increasingly, over the past few years, more Brazilians have been making South Carolina home. Unlike their South American peers with which they are often categorized, Brazilians do not typically self-identify as Hispanic/Latinos. Thus, they tend to get lumped together with other racial groups. In this brief, Research Director Dr. Robert P. Fenton explores some of the key socio-economic data points associated with South Carolina’s growing Brazilian community, in the hopes of building bridges and providing recognition of this unique, vibrant, and globally recognized ethnic group. (DOWNLOAD PDF)

South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and Greater Columbia Community Relations Council to Host Workshop on Facilitating Conversations Around Community Conflict

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council have partnered to host a free workshop on Facilitating Conversations Around Community Conflict on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Central Carolina Community Foundation, 2142 Boyce St. Ste. 402, Columbia, SC 29201.

The one-day training, led by facilitators with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, will provide community members with helpful tips and the tools needed to successfully facilitate meetings that address and respond to conflicts in their communities.

Space is limited, and registration is required. To register, visit

For more information, call the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs at 803-333-9621.

The Culture Connect: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Mrs. Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges

#HispanicHeritageMonth kicks off September 15th and in recognition of the month, Daniel James II sat down with Mrs. Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges for a new episode of The Culture Connect!

A Latina, a proud wife and mom, Tanya is the Executive Director and Founder of Latino Community Development Corp. – a non-profit meeting the needs of Hispanic and Latin populations in South Carolina. For the past decade, Hodges has offered translation and interpretation services, financial literacy, business development tools, and essential needs for families during times of personal, natural, and global crises. Her passion has been to see minority families build wealth, seize opportunities, and experience the fulness of their possibilities.

The Culture Connect podcast highlights South Carolina’s minority communities with the aim to improve their quality of life, highlight opportunities, and provide resources. Be sure to subscribe or follow us so that you can stay aware of new episodes. #thecultureconnectsc #BuildingBridges #closinggaps

Listen to the episode: Facebook / YouTube / Spotify

Uneven Foundations: The Impact of Urbanization on Household Dynamics in South Carolina

In this comprehensive study, Statistician Max Petushko investigates the profound impact of urbanization on household dynamics in South Carolina using decennial census housing data from 2010 to 2020. By exploring the relationship between urbanization and household growth, the research uncovers a distinctive two-humped pattern that reveals varying effects across different racial and ethnic groups. The findings shed light on the challenges posed by limited housing markets and underscore the need for targeted policies to address disparities affecting affordable housing access. (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business-Lina and Ismael Cordero, Waffle Drop

In the second episode of "Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business," join us as we indulge in the sweet success of Waffle Drop. Nestled in Hampton Station, Greenville's very own Waffle Drop brings a taste of Hong Kong to South Carolina, courtesy of Lina and Ismael Cordero. This dynamic couple saw an opportunity to blend cultures and introduce the bubble waffle—a beloved Hong Kong treat—to a whole new audience. View the episode on our Facebook or YouTube pages. 

The Culture Connect: Celebrating 30 Years at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs

Season 2 of The Culture Connect Podcast kicks off with Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta, Native American Affairs Program Manager Jerry Francis, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs Program Coordinator Christine Currie!

In part one of the two-part episode, host Daniel James II explores the Commission's 30th Anniversary theme, "Building Bridges and Closing Gaps," through the work of the agency's program managers and coordinators and takes a look at what's next for the State's official agency dedicated to the economic prosperity of all ethnic minority citizens of South Carolina. Listen to the part One: Facebook / YouTube / Spotify

In part two of the first episode of The Culture Connect, host Daniel James II continues the discussion on the Commission's 30th Anniversary theme, "Building Bridges and Closing Gaps” with Hispanic Latino Affairs Program Manager Alex Tovar and African American Affairs Program Coordinator Ashley Owens. Listen to the episode: Facebook / YouTube / Spotify

Federal Student Loan Information: Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan

Repayments for federal student loans are set to begin in October. There is a new income-driven student loan repayment plan, Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE), that is in effect. SAVE is designed to help lower monthly loan payments for those on income-driven repayment plans. To learn more about SAVE, visit:   

Scholarships Available for Students 

Looking for scholarships to assist you or your student with college expenses? Check out this list provided by the Marion County Administration

The Culture Connect Podcast: Mr. Lester Young

On our next episode of The Culture Connect, we talk to Path2Redemption founder Lester Young. Young discusses his "path to redemption" and holistic approaches to assisting formerly incarcerated individuals. The Culture Connect podcast, brought to you by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (CMA), highlights South Carolina’s minority communities with the aim of improving their quality of life, highlighting opportunities, and providing resources. Be sure to stay connected with us so that you can stay aware of new episodes. Visit The Culture Connect Podcast page to view past episodes. 

30th Anniversary Celebration & Scholarship Gala

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (CMA) celebrated its 30th anniversary on Thursday, June 29, 2023, at the Columbia Convention Center to honor the agency’s community impact and service to the State of South Carolina's ethnic minority communities. If you missed the event, check out photos on our Facebook page

On the Move: Incoming and Outgoing Minority Prime-Age Populations in South Carolina from 2016 to 2021 

As of April 2023, South Carolina has one of the nation’s lowest labor participation rates and one of the most rapidly aging populations. To accommodate these measures, the state has mobilized a significant number of resources to entice corporations to relocate production and processing facilities within its borders. In this brief, Research Director Dr. Robert P. Fenton examines some of the characteristics of prime-age minority populations that have arrived or left the state from 2016 to 2021. (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Small But Mighty: The Power of Small Business Series Premiere Features Uncle Willie's Grocery Story Owner Christa Williams

Located on historic Main Street, Uncle Willie's Grocery Store has become more than just a place to shop; it has become a hub for the community. In the premiere episode of our new series "Small but Mighty: The Power of Small Business, "Christa Williams, the owner of Uncle Willie's Grocery Store, shares her passion for serving the locals, building connections, and creating a space that feels like home. View the episode on our Facebook or YouTube pages. 

SC Ports Authority Legal Notices

Are you interested in working with the SC Ports Authority? Visit to view available opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs to bid on projects. Note: When visiting links for most Engineering Capital Construction projects, visitors will be redirected to the e-Builder website. Each new project requires the user to register (name, company name and email address). For more information on the SC Ports Authority, visit