As eviction moratorium ends, millions in aid still available in Charleston County
Rep. Wendell Gilliard calling for moratorium’s extension: ‘They need more time’
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After nearly a year, the country’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium is set to end next weekend, but with COVID-19 cases on the rise in South Carolina, one lawmaker said it should be extended.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first issued a temporary eviction moratorium last September to help keep people in their homes to avoid spreading COVID-19. After several extensions, it’s now set end July 31.
To qualify for the protections under the moratorium, renters are required to sign a declaration saying they are unable to cover their rent due to being laid off, having their work hours cut or otherwise losing a substantial portion of their income.
Those renters also have to be making their best efforts to pay as much of the original rent amount as possible.
Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) said his constituents are “very concerned about their future. They feel like I feel that they need more time.”
“Guess what? The pandemic is still here,” he said. “Guess what? It’s getting worse. So you can’t turn your back onto our constituents like this.”
He wants to see the moratorium extended into next year.
“Let it go into next year (until) we can have a better grip on this whole situation,” he said. “I think it’s only fair to the tenants. I think it’s fair, really, when you look at us as a whole in this state, to look out for everybody.”
The U.S. Treasury has made more than $46 billion available to help those in need, and in Charleston County alone, there’s still around $4 million up for grabs.
“We have seen more applications coming in, and we’ve been able to process a lot of applications,” Anna Eskridge, the county’s community development program manager, said. “Of that $12.4 million that we got originally from U.S. Treasury, we’ve paid or committed about $8.4 million and helped… or committed to help about 1,700 families.”
Eskridge said there has been one specific theme among those applying for assistance: “I think that there are just a lot of folks that have been financially impacted by COVID over the last year and are in need of assistance.”
Landlords, too, are feeling the effects.
“A lot of them have been working with those tenants over the last year to make sure that they stay in that housing, so this program is helping those landlords pay their mortgages, get up to speed on those past-due payments,” she said.
Below are some resources to help:
- Charleston County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (information available in English and Spanish)
- Berkeley County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- South Carolina Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- Full list of U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance programs (searchable by state)
- HUD: South Carolina Tenant Rights, Laws and Protections
- Full CDC eviction moratorium order
Both renters and landlords can apply for those aid dollars.
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