Greenville County has received an additional $15.8 million from the federal government to help low-income households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds are part of the $900 billion in additional coronavirus relief passed in January 2021 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provided $25 billion to launch the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Greenville received the money directly because it has 200,000 or more residents. It’s one of nine counties in the state to receive funding specifically for rental assistance.
Households are eligible for assistance if individuals qualify for unemployment or saw a reduction in household income or if they incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19, said Greenville County Administrator Joe Kernell.
They must also have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), which in Greenville County is $57,350 for a family of four, and show they’re at significant risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
Priority will be given to those with income at or below 50% of the AMI or those who have been unemployed for more than 90 days before applying for help.
Greenville County is in the process of evaluating how it will distribute the funds, which will be available in early March, according to Kernell.
“We want to reach out as far as we possibly can, hit as many people as we possibly can,” Kernell said.
He said the county will work with its housing partners in the community, including the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, to promote the funds.
Eligible households can receive up to 12 months of assistance but must reapply every three months to demonstrate need. Landlords can apply on behalf of tenants, or renters can apply for themselves. Homeowners aren’t eligible for the program.