$17M Allocated in SC for Homeowners Struggling with Mortgages and Taxes
In Columbia, South Carolina, a federal mortgage aid program is nearing its end after providing substantial assistance to over 19,000 South Carolinians, enabling them to maintain their homeownership. Despite the program’s impending closure, there remains a significant $17 million in funds yet to be distributed.
The program, which was instituted as a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will conclude once all remaining funds are exhausted, according to Matt McColl, the Marketing and Public Information Director of SC Housing.
McColl revealed that the agency has disbursed nearly $90 million in aid to South Carolinians across the state, primarily for mortgage and utility bill assistance. Although the application deadline was initially slated for April 20, the agency decided to extend the deadline in an effort to further assist homeowners.
“We are committed to keeping the door open for struggling homeowners to receive the assistance they desperately need,” McColl emphasized.
The agency has also implemented a policy change permitting existing aid recipients to apply for a second round of payments six months after their initial disbursement, reducing the waiting period from the original one year.
Another relief program, the SC Stay Plus Program, which has provided substantial aid to approximately 90,000 South Carolinians in the form of rent and utility assistance, totaling $331 million, ceased accepting applications in March.
Akira Johnson, a beneficiary of the SC Stay Plus program, shared her personal story of hardship and recovery. Johnson relied on the program until January to cover her rent, ensuring she and her children had a secure home.
Grateful for the financial relief, Johnson stated, “I am current and I thank god for that.”
Johnson, who had been forced to shutter her lash extension business when the pandemic hit, has since been able to regain her financial stability. “We are doing well. Business is thriving. We’ve managed to stay open consistently since 2021, which has been a significant accomplishment,” Johnson said.
Despite her personal recovery, Johnson acknowledges the continued struggles of others in her community, receiving daily messages from people seeking advice and help. She expressed concern for the many who still require assistance and for those who were unable to benefit from the program before it stopped accepting applications.
SC Housing is currently accepting waitlist applications for the SC Stay Plus program. Should additional funding become available, the agency will notify applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
In April 2022, SC Housing launched the SC Homeowner Rescue Program with the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicants must be South Carolina residents who own and occupy eligible properties.
- Eligible properties must be located in South Carolina and serve as the applicant’s primary residence.
- Eligible properties may consist of one to four units, including single-family homes (attached or detached), condominiums, or manufactured/mobile homes.
- Applicants must have experienced COVID-19-related financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The hardship may have started before this date but must have persisted after it.
- The applicant’s household income must be equal to or less than 150% of their area median income (AMI) or 100% of the AMI of the United States ($90,000), whichever is greater.
- Applicants must not have received identical assistance from another federal, state, local, nonprofit, or tribal source.
- The expenses for which applicants are seeking assistance must be overdue.