COLUMBIA, S.C. — $25 million dollars in rent and mortgage assistance is up for grabs in South Carolina through the SC Stay program.
The program SC Stay opened applications Thursday, helping provide relief for hundreds of thousands facing evictions in the Palmetto State.
"A lot of folks may have really had a hard time in the summer, maybe the fall. Maybe their finances have rebounded, maybe they're able to make their monthly payments now but they still have these past payments hanging over their head," said Chris Winston, Spokesman for SC Housing.
SC Stay is a program under SC Housing.
It has $25 million in CARES Act funding ready to pay landlords or mortgage holders.
"It's up to six months of pay or $7,500 and that goes back to last February," said Winston.
To get assistance, you have to apply first by visiting SCStay.org.
In order to qualify, you must:
- Make at or below 80% of the county's median income
- Have a landlord or lender confirm late payment status while being willing to accept payments on your behalf
- Prove you're unable to pay to live in your home for reasons related to the pandemic
"When the pandemic hit I got laid off my job and I fell behind on a lot of my bills," said a Midlands resident to News 19 in a phone interview.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, says he lost his job in telecommunications in November.
"Everyone I've basically spoken with has run out of funds," he explained.
Even with unemployment money, he says he can't get his head above water.
"You had another $300 on there, it's like putting a Band-Aid on your neck after you got your head chopped off," he said.
He's hoping SC Stay can be his family's saving grace to help them stay in their home.
"My landlord told me about different programs and I applied to all of them. I applied to SC Stay hoping to get some assistance to keep me from being homeless," he said. "This is a volatile situation, but we're South Carolina. South Carolinans, we do the best we can to survive."
SC Housing predicts the funding will be distributed in the next 30 days.
"Get that filed as soon as you can because we know there's a lot of need out there," said Winston. "We know there's a lot of people hurting. We do expect these funds will be exhausted at some point very quickly because of the need that's out there."
The National Council of State Housing Authorities predicts up to 180,000 renters in South Carolina will face eviction when the moratorium is lifted March 31.
Renters and homeowners seeking assistance to avoid eviction or foreclosure can find helpful resources on SC Housing's website.