MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – (Monday, March 15, 2021) – Berkeley County has received $6.89 million from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for those unable to pay rent and/or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, Berkeley County has partnered with Civitas, LLC, a Charleston-based national community development consulting firm, to develop a plan to allocate the federal funds to qualified individuals. The County is opening an application period, for those in need of rental assistance, beginning Monday, March 29. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on April 16. Informational flyers about the ERA Program will also be mailed out with Berkeley County Water and Sanitation bills later this month.
Only renters who are residents of Berkeley County may apply for the assistance. **Homeowners are NOT eligible.** An “eligible household” is a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets 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 percent of the area median
Individuals are encouraged to apply online at www.BerkeleyCountySC.gov. They can also call the Emergency Rental Assistance Hotline at 843-377-8507. The hotline will be available 24/7. Leave a message and your call will be returned within 24 hours. Paper applications will be made available upon request. When applications are received, each application will be assigned an application number. On Monday, April 19, a lottery will occur, randomly sorting all application numbers. Results of the lottery will be published on the County’s website along with estimated timeframes for assistance. At all times, applicants will be able to review the posted lottery results to know when they should expect to receive assistance.
The ERA Program provides federal funds for rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs, and utilities and home energy costs arrears. Eligible utility costs include electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal, and energy costs such as fuel oil. All funds will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. Rental and utility arrears can be covered back to March 2020, and applicants can receive up to three months of future assistance at a time.
Individuals can check to see if they qualify for the ERA Program or find out more information by visiting the U.S. Treasury Department website. The County is also encouraging interested applicants to take a brief survey about the program that will help assess the level of need in the County. Take the survey HERE.
Berkeley County is expected to receive an additional $5 million in federal funds for the program, due to the recent passing of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill. More information about the application and distribution of these funds will be available at a later date. This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number 21.023, awarded to Berkeley County by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
– Prepared by the Berkeley County Public Information Office –