Those who have fallen behind with rent or mortgage payments because of the pandemic can now apply for help.
South Carolina has received $25 million from the federal government through the CARES Act to help people who have suffered financially from COVID-19 catch up on past-due housing bills in amounts of up to $7,500.
The money will be directly paid to mortgage lenders and landlords.
The funds won’t be available until mid-February, but it’s now time for qualified people to sign up for it.
The S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority, known as SC Housing, is in charge of the funds and is working with local agencies, including the Catawba Regional Council of Governments (COG), which is assisting here.
To qualify, applicants must show that they have incomes at or below 80% of the median for their county, based on family size. For example, a single person in Lancaster County can earn no more than $37,700 per year to qualify. A family of four can earn no more than $58,200.
To qualify, applicants must also “be unable to pay all or part of the rent or mortgage, or behind on their rent or mortgage, due to circumstances stemming for the coronavirus.”
This includes layoffs, reduced work hours or the inability to work because of a COVID-19 infection or quarantine.
Potential applicants can go to schousing.com/Home/SC-Stay and fill out a four-question form. They will be notified by email when the funding is available.
Those without email can call (833) 985-2929. SC Housing, however, has not created a notification method for those without email access.
On the surface, $25 million may sound like a huge amount, but that’s only enough to provide $7,500 in assistance for 3,333 people. An estimated 125,000 state residents are behind or late on the rent or mortgage payments, according to SC Housing.
Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at (803) 283-1156.