SC Housing still offering financial assistance for struggling renters

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority is still taking applications for its emergency rental and utility assistance program, SC Stay Plus.

SC Stay Plus provides financial assistance to renters in 39 counties in South Carolina. In Horry County, a similar program is offered by the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization. The state-run, federally funded program launched in May.

A Thursday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has given landlords the green light to resume evictions after the previous COVID-19-spurred moratorium.

Chris Winston, a spokesperson for SC Housing, said anyone who thinks they are eligible should for assistance should apply. He said the organization saw more applications last week than at any other point since the first one.

“It really is going to be a challenge to keep our residents safe and healthy if they’re having to struggle to find a place to stay, if they’re having to move in with friends or move into overcrowded shelters,” Winston said. “It’s really a health concern from our point of view.”

Winston said renters are now in a “precarious position” because of the surge in COVID-19 cases, an increase in children staying home from school in quarantine and hospitals that are at or near capacity.

So far, more than 3,900 South Carolinians have received financial assistance through SC Stay Plus, totaling more than $17 million in aid. The money ultimately ends up in the hands of landlords or utility companies.

“We want them to be made whole and funded as quickly as possible so that they can continue keeping their residents safely where they live,” Winston said.

Winston said it is easier now than ever to apply and receive approval. The program has recently relaxed its documentation documents, and there are 196 zip codes where residents don’t have to provide proof of income to apply or quality for the program.

People who have already been evicted can also get help through SC Stay Plus. The program can provide storage assistance, moving assistance, a security deposit and up to three months of future rent.

For more information, call 800-476-0412.

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