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New housing assistance program to launch Feb. 1

The program aims to helping tenants facing eviction or those who've been evicted due to the pandemic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the federal eviction moratorium set to be lifted at the end of the month, thousands face possible eviction at the end of the month. 

The Columbia branch the NAACP is launching a new housing assistance program to help tenants get access to financial and legal services.

RELATED: $25 million in rent, mortgage assistance on the way for SC families

"We have the highest number of tenants in the country that will be forced out of their homes," said Oveta Glover, president of the Columbia Branch of the NAACP

Meanwhile, Columbia NAACP member Larry Salley says the average tenant is $5,000 behind in rent and utilities payments. He says, "Our primary goal is to keep them in the housing that they have."

The idea is that volunteers will serve as a tenant's access point, informing them of their rights while pointing them in the right direction. Salley said the aim is "to get the tenants and the landlord to try and find some common ground and to be able to keep those individuals in the residence or find them suitable housing."

Glover says the state is poised to face evictions like never before, and it imperative the community come together to help those in need.

RELATED: SC lawyers offer free legal aid to those facing eviction due to COVID-19

The volunteers, also known as "Navigators," only need a few hours training to help get others back on their feet, according to Salley. He says, right now, those facing eviction and those about to be evicted need help. "There are a lot of individuals losing their homes."

For more information about the program or to volunteer, head to the Columbia NAACP Facebook page.

The program goes live on February 1st.

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