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Some Lexington County residents may qualify for rent, mortgage, utility assistance

Qualifying residents will be able to apply to receive assistance with important bills if they are past due.

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — Lexington County has set up a special program it hopes will help residents who have fallen behind on important payments.

The program, known as LexCo CARES, is designed to help residents with their rental, mortgage, and utility payments if they have fallen behind due to COVID.

"We all go through things, we all fall on hard times. Where you are today is not necessarily guaranteed as far as where you'll be tomorrow," Nataly Naranjo, Lexington county resident said.

There's $100,000 left for the taking and applications are open until all the money is used. So far, a little over $38,600 has been dispersed.

It's CARES ACT funding in the form of additional money to the county's Community Development Block Grant fund.

Some residents tell News 19 they think this should only be open to those struggling most. 

"I just want to encourage others to do all they can to help themselves and leave programs like Lexington Cares for the really needy and the elderly," resident Larry Slick said.

The county said the idea is to assist and support residents who are in need, especially during extreme circumstances because helping is caring.

"I'm actually happy to hear that there is such a resource out there for people that would be in need of that help," Naranjo said.

To qualify, residents must have a low-to-moderate income and be able to show proof of hardship. That means an income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Lexington County. 

Residents must also reside in Lexington County and their identification must have an address that matches their lease or mortgage.

Those applying for assistance must also be able to show that their employment or income has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic at some point from March 10, 2020, to the present. Importantly, these residents must also be past due on their rent, mortgage, or utilities - or any combination of them.

This assistance cannot be combined with other forms of assistance and recipients can't be receiving Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. 

For those who qualify, the past-due payments will be made directly to the landlord, mortgage company, or utility company.

The full LexCo CARES application is available on the county's website. Additional information about the program is also available here.

For additional information, contact lexcocares@lex-co.com or call 803-785-8121.