Horry County prepares for end of eviction moratorium

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s pandemic eviction moratorium is set to expire Saturday, which could leave thousands of Horry County residents without a home.

There are currently more than 6,400 court filings for evictions in Horry County, according to Renee Elvis, the county’s clerk of court. Elvis said there are also more than 800 writs of ejection.

“It may not be that we actually have to get through that many, but it’ll take us a lot to catch up,” Elvis said.

With evictions resuming next week, Elvis said her office is ready to handle any increase.

“I’m not really sure what kind of rush we’ll be looking at, but whatever it is, we’re ready for it,” she said.

The Housing Authority of Myrtle Beach provides assistance to those who qualify. Carol McCall, the organization’s operations director, said it’s getting ready for an increase in applications .

“We are expecting to get a lot more people in the front door, on the phone, by email looking for help,” she said.

McCall said that getting people the right help takes time. She recommends reaching out for help sooner rather than later.

“A lot of people, when they come to us, what they’re looking for is that emergency assistance,” McCall said. “All we can do is refer them along. If you qualify for one of our service programs, and we have some open, there’s still a waiting list. The quicker you get on a list. The better chance you have of getting called in.”

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office handles evictions in the county. The department is getting ready for an increase in evictions starting next week, according to Sgt. Jeff Benton. Benton said the process can be rough.

“It sparks a lot of tension, and it brings up a lot of emotion,” Benton said. “That house is full of their entire life. That house is full of those children’s toys. That house is full of every single memory –– of every single tax return. Imagine that all of that has to go, by state law, to the roadside.”

Benton said it’s tricky for officers to strike a balance when carrying out evictions between the landlord who wants their property back and the renter who is having their home taken away. He wants people to be patient.

“We do believe that we are going to have an uptick of evictions,” Benton said. “Although we have to do it, it’s definitely not something that we like to do.”

SC Stay Plus offers more immediate rental assistance in most of South Carolina. Apply here.

In Horry County, emergency rental assistance is offered by the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization. Apply here.

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