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Rental assistance programs still available in South Carolina

If you're struggling to pay your bills due to COVID-19, you can apply for up to $1,500 in rent money.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s Supreme Court order to stop evictions and foreclosures ended in May, but with the pandemic still affecting people’s income, many can’t afford rent and are facing eviction.

Mark Fessler, and attorney with SC Legal Services, said he’s seen a big jump in evictions. To help combat that, SC Thrive and SC Housing are offering struggling families up to $1,500 in rent money.

“The increase [in evictions] is so significant that it would surprise me if the pandemic were not one of the explanations for the increase.”

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“If a household has a reduction in hours, income, if they’ve been furloughed, laid off, if they’ve had to stay home because of family members or themselves having a direct effect due to COVID-19, then they might qualify for the assistance,” Laurey Carpenter with SC Thrive said.

Households also needs to meet an 80% or lower average median income for the county they live in when they apply. The full list of qualifications can be found on the SC Thrive website.

Private landlords can evict tenants, but the Cares Act protects certain people until late August. 

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“The Cares Act protects anyone involved in a federal housing program.” Fessler said, “it applies to any property that has a mortgage backed by Fannie May or Freddie Mac. [The Cares Act] says that you cannot evict somebody for nonpayment of rent during the 120 days from the effective date of that act, which was March 27. It also says before you can evict somebody, you have to give them 30-day-notice, but you can’t give them the 30-day-notice until the 120-day-moratorium has expired.”

Carpenter says SC Thrive’s rental assistance program has kept many people from getting evicted and still has plenty of funds left. 

“These are very different times, so I really suggest to everyone, just apply. You can go online, it is private, but if you need help, this program is to help.”

To learn about more resources that can help you click here or call 211.