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Here's how to apply for rental, utility assistance in South Carolina

The SC Stay Plus program will provide rental and utility assistance to residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) will soon launch a new program to provide rental and utility assistance to residents impacted by the COVID-19. 

SC Stay Plus is a $272 million federally funded program to assist South Carolina residents in need of rental and utility assistance because their finances have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

RELATED: More rental assistance on the way for South Carolinians

Those who qualify for program may receive up to 12 months of assistance for rent and utility payments dating back to March 2020. Applicants may also qualify for up to 3 months of future rent assistance.

Officials say the application portal for SC Stay Plus will open in early May at SCHousing.com.  

Assistance is available for households in which one or more individuals meet all the following criteria:

  • Has qualified for unemployment or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship directly or indirectly due to COVID-19 (i.e., since March 2020);

  • Can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;  and

  • Has a household income at or below 80% of county median income.

RELATED: $12.5 million in rental assistance funds now available for Richland County residents

Based upon federal and state requirements, officials say priority will be given to households with an income at or below 50% of the median income, those with an individual who has been unemployed for more than 90 days, or those that are already in the eviction process. Household income will be determined by using the household’s 2020 annual income or current monthly income at the time of application.  

 SC Housing officials say South Carolina residents in 39 counties are eligible to participate in SC Stay Plus. 

RELATED: Lexington County to offer rent, mortgage, utility assistance due to COVID-19

Seven counties were directly funded by the U.S. Treasury and will operate their own assistance programs. So, residents of these seven counties should apply to their county program at this time:

  • Anderson
  • Berkeley
  • Charleston
  • Greenville
  • Horry
  • Richland
  • Spartanburg 

Information about these programs can be found here

RELATED: What is in the new $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill?

Funding for the program is made available by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of a $25 billion rental and utility assistance package in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that Congress passed in December 2020.

South Carolina lawmakers passed and Gov. McMaster signed a joint resolution (R.26/ H.3770) in April to outline how the funds should be distributed in the Palmetto State.