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Rental assistance available for Richland County residents, landlords

Funding is available to help those facing risk of eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic with payments going to clear back rent debt.
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Defaulting renter with facemask receives letter giving notice of eviction from home

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — On Thursday, August 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court released an unsigned opinion stating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacked the authority to impose an eviction moratorium, allowing  allowing evictions to resume across the United States.

RELATED: Supreme Court allows evictions to resume during pandemic

Richland County wants residents to know there is still funding available for renters in need through the U.S. Department of Treasury in either the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) or the Emergency Rental Assistance 2 (ERA2) program.

Residents need to file an application with Richland County for ERAP or ERA2 online or in person. Assistance will be based on total household income and will be paid directly to the landlord, property management agent or utility provider for rent or utilities. If the landlord, property management agent or utility provider chooses not to participate in the program, then payments will be made to the applicant with the expectation that the funds will be used to pay rent and/or utilities.

RELATED: Feds report most rental assistance has still not gone out

Applicants must present the following documents when applying for ERAP or ERA2:

  • current driver's license or government-issued identification card for applicant and co-applicant
  • a complete, signed lease agreement (all pages)
  • proof of hardship because of COVID-19 (employment termination email/letter/notice, proof of unemployment, written narrative or self-attestation of the hardship, unsafe living conditions)
  • proof of income (a copy of your 2020 1040-tax form)
  • eviction notice or late rental payment notice -- showing the amount owed by month -- for rental assistance
  • notice to disconnect and/or statement of unpaid utilities issued in a household member's name at the rented address -- for assistance with utilities
  • if prior assistance has been received, the applicant must produce documents of the amounts received, including the agency providing the assistance, the specific type of assistance (rent, utilities, etc.) and the amount of assistance received by month.

Applications can be made online or in person, by appointment 8:30 a.m. -4 p.m. Monday through Friday, at Richland County Department of Government & Community Services at 2000 Hampton St, Suite 3014 in Columbia. Call (803) 576-1513 to schedule an in-person appointment. If you cannot make it to the Hampton Street location, you can make an appointment with Richland Library by calling (803) 509-8371 or texting (803) 386-8506 for assistance with ERAP and ERA2.

RELATED: Housing agencies prepare to help people when eviction moratorium ends

Approved applicants may receive a maximum of up to 12 months rent or utility assistance through ERAP and a maximum of up to 18 months rent or utility assistance through ERA2 -- if funding is still available.

Richland County received $9.9 million from the US Department of Treasury through ERA2 and has approved more than $1 million in aid for county residents so far.