Eviction crisis looms over S.C. residents amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – The economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in many different ways.

As elected officials try to balance the health of the economy without sacrificing the health of citizens, many people in the state are struggling to afford one of the most bare basics of living: housing.

Experts estimate that approx. 43% of South Carolinians are at risk of eviction within the coming months. However, some local housing organizations have received funding to help those in need, but directors said they’re unsure how long the money will last.

“We’ve never faced this situation before so it’s hard to predict what’s coming,” Lorain Crowl, executive director at United Housing Connections said.

Greenville Housing advocacy organizations such as the United Way, Urban Ministries and United Housing Connections said they’ve seen an increase in the amount of people calling in need of assistance as a result of COVID-19.

“The moratorium lifted, now their rent is due so over the next two or three weeks to a couple of months we really feel like we’re going to see a large portion of our rental population need assistance,” Crowl said.

According to analysts, South Carolina has the highest rate of eviction out of all states in the country which some say can be pinpointed to legislation that has failed to shift with the changing economy.

South Carolina has the highest rate of eviction in the nation even before the pandemic.

Upstate organizations such as the Greenville Homeless Alliance and even landlords wrote letters asking the state government to put a moratorium in place until the economy stabilizes.

“One eviction costs our system $11,000. If we think about how to prevent spending $11,000 we could spend a very minimal amount now. We’re trying get people to understand that from the cost standpoint it’s really important, but also mental and physical health is important right now too,” Susan McLarty, coordinator at Greenville Homeless Alliance said.

McLarty said the evictions filed in July 2020 increased 150% compared to the amount of evictions filed in July of 2019.

Greenville Homeless Alliance urges property managers and landlords to provide information for local rent assistance resources to tenants struggling with payments before filing for eviction.

For more information about rent and utility assistance please dial 211 or click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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