NOW OPEN: SC Stay Plus rental, utility assistance program

SC STAY

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We are thrilled to share that the SC Stay Plus emergency COVID-19 rental and utility assistance program is NOW OPEN for applications.

Eligible applicants may receive up to 12 months of assistance with late rent and/or utility payments dating back to March 13, 2020.

Simply click on this link or call our call center at 803.336.3420 to start the application process. You will be notified immediately if the initial screening finds you eligible or if additional paperwork is necessary to complete your application.

We are expecting high demand for these funds due to urgent needs of residents. Please attempt to complete the entire application to the best of your ability, as that will speed up the processing time. See the Program Details below for a list of helpful items to have with you.

Even if you do not have any of these documents available, please do not hesitate to apply to the program. Our staff is prepared to assist with the application process, as our goal is to help as many people as possible.

Residents in 39 counties are eligible to participate in the program. The following seven counties received other funding and will provide their own rental assistance programs: Anderson, Berkeley, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Richland and Spartanburg – click here for information about these programs.

Click here for more details on the SC Stay Plus program and to view the application.

Please note: If you previously applied for the SC Stay rental assistance program in February 2021, please be aware that you cannot request support from both programs for the same period of back rent. However, you can request assistance for different months.

Assistance is available for households in which one or more individuals meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • Has a household income at or below 80% of county median income adjusted by family size.

Based upon federal requirements, priority will be given to households with an income at or below 50% of the median income and those with an individual who has been unemployed for more than 90 days. Household income can be determined by using income for calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application.

Funding for the program is made available through the U.S. Department of Treasury's Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

To prepare for the launch of SC Stay Plus, applicants can start by gathering the following documentation. Please note: Not all documents are required, and lack of some documents should not discourage applicants from applying.

Applicants should prepare:

  • Pictures or scans of a photo identification (driver’s license, passport [including foreign passports], etc.)
  • A copy (or picture) of their signed lease, or proof of rent payments (bank account statement [edit out any confidential information!] or Venmo/Zell screenshot) if a signed lease is not available.
  • A 2020 Federal Tax Return (1040/1040EZ or equivalent) or pay stub from the last 60 days. Please note that only the first two pages of a tax return are required.
  • Proof of financial hardship, such as:
    • Proof of unemployment from the South Carolina Department of Employment of Workforce (DEW), including website screenshots or confirmation letters from DEW.
    • Proof of lost wages – such as a layoff notice, an unemployment letter, proof of business closure
  • Proof of risk of housing loss or experiencing homelessness, such as:
    • An eviction notice (if you have it)
    • A past due notice for rent or utilities (if you have it)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued a national eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. But the moratorium does not stop all evictions and does require renters to take action for eviction protection.

South Carolina Legal Services has a guide to help renters who are facing eviction. It details the steps that renters must take to seek protection. You can also contact them directly at 888.346.5592.

Learn more about how the national eviction moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control may protect you and your family, and find copies of the Declaration that every adult in your household must sign at this Q&A from the NLIHC (also available in Spanish).

If you are looking for immediate help paying your rent, please refer to SC Housing’s list of resources we’ve created for renters.