SC Housing Newsletter

July/August 2021

Ending date for national eviction moratorium quickly approaching

Ending date for national eviction moratorium quickly approaching

In late June, just a week before the national eviction moratorium was set to expire, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control extended the nationwide pause on evictions for another month, until July 31.

According to the CDC, this is “intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.”

The ban was put in place to keep millions of renters in their residences during the COVID-19 pandemic and slow the spread of the disease. Despite the moratorium, most renters continued making payments, and many worked with landlords to establish payment plans. For instance, in June 2021, 95.6% of rent payments were made, as opposed to 96.6% pre-pandemic, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

However, for many renters, July 31 is approaching quickly, and the threat of eviction is real.

In an effort to combat pending evictions and make landlords whole from lost revenue over the past year, SC Housing launched SC Stay Plus, a $272 million emergency rental assistance program, in May 2021. Funding for the program is made available by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As of July 22, SC Stay Plus had received more than 11,000 applications from 39 eligible counties (see full list here). More than $1.4 million has been distributed to eligible households through the program and applications are still open.

In February 2021, SC Housing launched SC Stay, a separate rental and mortgage assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the S.C. Department of Commerce. As of July 21, SC Stay had dispersed nearly $7 million in payments to landlords on behalf of tenants. This program is closed to new applications.


Ending date for national eviction moratorium quickly approaching

Extensive outreach campaign launched in support of SC Stay Plus

Since the launch of SC Stay Plus in May, SC Housing has conducted extensive outreach efforts to boost awareness about the program, including contacting more than 200 organizations and affordable housing stakeholders.

In an effort to give all eligible South Carolina residents a chance to receive assistance and prevent evictions, the communications team has utilized various channels to reach potential applicants and generate awareness for the program.

“The rising tide of eviction filings is a far-reaching issue that requires partnership, support and engagement from a broad range of community partners and agents,” said Chris Winston, media and market engagement manager. “We are in a race against time to get the word out to our neighbors who are hurting and are pursuing every avenue available—radio public service announcements, TV advertisement, billboards, community outreach events, text-messaging, email and old-fashioned word of mouth through local partners.”

Media campaigns began in early summer and will continue through August. The agency launched a statewide TV ad campaign in late June and also ran radio and television public service announcements across South Carolina.

In addition, more than 30 digital and bulletin billboards went up across the state with contact information about the program. The agency also attended several in-person local events and collected contact information for potential applicants and provided flyers to Reps. Marvin Pendarvis and Jerry Govan to distribute information about the program throughout their districts.

Lastly, program details were sent directly to 61,000 low-to-moderate income renters via text messaging and to more than 13,000 renters via direct mailers. Following the texts being sent out, the number of visits to the SC Stay Plus landing page increased 335% over average daily clicks, and applications to the program tripled.

Community partnerships were also key to getting the word out to various communities throughout the state. Over 220 individual organizations were contacted with details about SC Stay Plus, including faith-based organizations, community and statewide nonprofits, utility providers, tourism and hospital associations, military bases, school districts, county libraries and more. Additionally, over 11,000 fliers were distributed to various nonprofits and state representatives for distribution to their constituents.


Ending date for national eviction moratorium quickly approaching

Palmetto Heroes completes largest ever program

SC Housing will complete its largest and most successful Palmetto Heroes homeownership program to date this week.

As of July 22, less than four months after the program’s launch, Palmetto Heroes has had 220 people reserve loans for a total of $42.3 million in assistance. The program was expanded this year to the largest investment in history in celebration of SC Housing’s 50th anniversary.

These funds provide down payment assistance and low-interest home loans to qualifying South Carolina frontline workers, including teachers, medical professionals, firefighters, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, EMS personnel, active-duty military (including S.C. Army National Guard and S.C. Air National Guard) and veterans.

Over the past 14 years, the Palmetto Heroes program has invested over $140 million to help more than 1,100 homeowners purchase their first home.


SC Housing rental assistance and compliance director announces retirement

SC Housing rental assistance and compliance director announces retirement

Carl E. Bowen, who joined SC Housing 20 years ago after a distinguished career in the U.S. military, has announced he will retire at the end of 2021.

For the past 11 years, he has served as director of rental assistance and compliance, where he provides leadership and oversight for project-based contract administration, compliance monitoring and the Housing Choice Voucher Program. In this role, Bowen has been responsible for ensuring that all operational, regulatory and compliance requirements associated with each federal program are executed effectively and efficiently.

A rewarding part of his job, Bowen said, “was seeing how housing plays such a critical role in helping families accomplish their goals.”

“Housing provides the foundation on which families can build in their efforts to overcome poverty, obtain employment, further their education and improve their overall livelihood,” he said.

Prior to his joining SC Housing, Bowen served in the U.S. Army for over 30 years and achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major.

Bowen previously served on the board of directors of the SC Community Development Association, the South Carolina Society of Certified Public Managers and the Southeast Regional Section 8 Housing Association. Additionally, Bowen represented SC Housing as a member of the SC Foreclosure Task Force, SC Green Economy Council and the SC Emergency Management Division’s Housing Solutions Task Force.

Bowen holds an associate’s degree from the University of Maryland. He is a Certified Public Manager and a graduate of the South Carolina Executive Institute. In addition, he is a Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) and has certifications as a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Executive Manager, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Financial Manager, Housing Quality Standards Inspector, Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO), Occupancy Specialist, Fair Housing Specialist and Uniform Physical Condition Standards Specialist.


SC Housing prepares upcoming mortgage assistance program

SC Housing prepares upcoming mortgage assistance program

In compliance with U.S. Treasury regulations, SC Housing recently solicited public comment regarding a proposed program that would provide approximately $145 million in emergency mortgage assistance to South Carolina homeowners.

Members of the public were encouraged to provide input regarding the application process and implementation of the program, named the SC Housing Mortgage Rescue Program.

SC Housing received two letters from stakeholders (a mortgage lender and a nonprofit), 17 phone calls, 12 emails and 48 survey responses during the public comment period. The research team also held meetings with dozens of stakeholders including utility companies, county tax collectors and nonprofits, including the Habitat for Humanity and the Center for Heirs Property Protection.

More stakeholder meetings are planned to ensure that the program is implemented in the most efficient manner possible. Interested parties can sign up to request additional information upon program launch on the SC Housing website.


Interest growing in Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) pathway to homeownership

Interest growing in Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) pathway to homeownership

South Carolina residents who are currently in an approved Public Housing Agency Housing Choice Voucher assistance program may be able to participate in one of SC Housing’s homeownership programs.

Under the Housing Choice Voucher homeownership program, many families have the opportunity to use the federal housing assistance typically paid as rent to a landlord in order to purchase and build equity in a home of their own.

Potential home buyers must participate in and complete an approved HCV homeownership program administered by their local Public Housing Agency.

When paired with SC Housing’s Homebuyer Program, qualified residents can obtain 30-year, fixed-rate FHA financing and forgivable down payment assistance of $8,500 to purchase a home in all 46 counties.

Here are the Public Housing Agencies currently approved to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program with SC Housing: SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority, Columbia City Housing Authority, Greenville City Housing Authority, Myrtle Beach Housing Authority, North Charleston Housing Authority and Spartanburg Housing Authority. Since opening the program, more than 20 families have enrolled in the program to move from renting into homeownership, and interest is growing.

“We are hearing from more and more Public Housing Agencies across the state who are interested in the program and who want to help their participants move into homeownership,” said Steve Clements, director of single-family programs at SC Housing. “It frees up an affordable housing rental unit and helps create equity that South Carolina residents can use to build long-term wealth. It’s really a win for everyone.”

For eligibility and requirements, visit SCHousing.com and search “Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program.”


Interested in a career in affordable housing?

Interested in a career in affordable housing?

Are you a hard-working and dedicated individual who would like to help SC Housing accomplish its mission of ensuring all South Carolinians have access to safe, decent and affordable housing?

SC Housing is currently taking applications for the position of rental assistance and compliance director. This position provides the unique opportunity to direct and manage the overall design, implementation and daily operations of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, contract administration department and compliance monitoring department at SC Housing.

Applications are being accepted through July 28. Learn more about this position, and others available at SC Housing, by visiting our job board to learn what opportunities may be right for you.


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