Fewer South Carolinians applying for COVID-19 rental assistance than expected

State - Regional

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Not as many South Carolinians are applying for COVID-19-related rental assistance as expected, according to South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority.

“For the folks that we’ve talked to, we’re not seeing as much interest or as many applications that we would have expected,” said Chris Winston, media and marketing manager at the organization.

While the number of people in South Carolina behind on their rent is improving, thousands are still in need of financial assistance. 

Census data shows more than a quarter million people in the state are either behind on their housing payment or worried they can’t make the next one. 

“A lot of folks who were already on the edge suddenly have fewer hours, their businesses closed down, and now suddenly rent is one of the hardest things to to pay and catch up with,” Winston said.

In May, the state housing authority launched the S.C Stay Plus program to help people who can’t pay their rent.

Winston said that $270 million is coming to 39 South Carolina counties. The organization will collect, review and process applications, and then will pay landlords on behalf of tenants.

However, much of that money hasn’t been used. Since the program launched, only 30 of that $270 million has been requested.

“We do not have any shortage of funds,” Winston said. “The help is available, and we encourage folks to apply.”

If the state doesn’t have a plan to use all the money by the end of September, it’ll have to go back to the federal government.

Apply for rent assistance here.

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