Relief is on the way for Charleston County residents struggling to make rent and utility payments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Charleston County announced the award of $12.4 million from the U.S. Treasury to implement an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that will help stabilize housing and provide greater peace of mind to the county’s most vulnerable renters. Applications for the program will open on Monday, April 12, 2021.
“Many of our residents have lost jobs in the months since the pandemic began, and they are in danger of losing their homes,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “We are grateful to have this funding to help them, and want to encourage those who qualify to apply starting next week.”
Payments for eligible applicants will be made directly to the landlord, property management agency or utility provider for rent or utilities accrued after March 13, 2020 and up to a maximum of 12 months.
Eligibility Requirements: Rental assistance is available to both landlords and renters in all of Charleston County including local municipalities. While both may apply for assistance, eligibility is based on the ability to meet the following federal criteria:
- The renter has a risk of homelessness, housing instability, or unsafe living conditions.
- The renter or member of the renter’s household is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits or has experienced a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The renter’s household income is less than or equal to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) https://charlestoncounty.org/erap/renter.php.
The funding is part of $25 billion allocated through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act to help states and local governments with populations over 200,000 establish ERAP programs. Funding will go to help low-income renter households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and where one or more household members qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the pandemic. The priority will be to cover housing-related payments that are past due. Applications will be accepted from either the renter or a landlord on behalf of a renter meeting eligibility requirements.
Applications will be available beginning April 12, 2021: https://charlestoncounty.org/erap/index.php.