After approving more than $10 million in aid requests through its Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERAP), Richland County will receive additional federal funding to help renters impacted by COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury originally awarded the County $12.5 million to help qualifying renters via ERAP, which was enacted last December and launched in April. Through Emergency Rental Assistance 2 (ERA2), a similar federal program enacted in March, the County will receive another $9.9 million to continue supporting renters at risk of eviction.
Even with the County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Team surpassing $10 million in aid approvals, “We understand there is still significant need for additional rental assistance,” said Mike King, assistant director of Emergency Services. “We are pleased to have been allocated additional funds, which will allow us to continue the program into the near future.”
Both ERAP and ERA2 can provide up to 12 months of rental and utility assistance, plus an additional three months if funds are available and the County determines the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability. ERA2 applicants could qualify for up to 18 months of assistance.
“I am proud of the efforts of Mike King and our ERAP team, and I am excited Richland County will be providing more financial assistance to our residents in need,” said County Administrator Leonardo Brown.
Visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/ERA to find updated rules and frequently asked questions about the programs, including income requirements and qualifications for renters. The County encourages eligible renters to apply, as well as owners and landlords on behalf of renters.
Help with Applying
The application process is identical for ERAP and ERA2. As the remaining ERAP funds are exhausted, the County plans to seamlessly transition applicants to ERA2 to ensure continuity.
When applying, residents should submit all of the required information and fill out the necessary forms accurately, as incomplete applications slow the approval process. Richland County will notify applicants if an application is incomplete; tenants have 21 days to respond, and landlords have seven days to respond.
A language support tool for non-English-speaking residents is available in the application portal.
To apply for ERAP or ERA2, residents can:
- Apply online
- Call the program’s toll-free number: 855-216-9198
- Submit an application in person.
The County’s Department of Government and Community Services offers in-person assistance on a limited basis and by appointment only. Residents should review the housing assistance information and must bring all required documentation to their appointment. Schedule an appointment by calling 803-576-1513. When leaving a message, please provide your name and phone number for a return call.
Richland Library is also offering assistance to residents who need help completing the application. Applicants can schedule an appointment with a member of the library’s Social Work team by calling 803-509-8371, texting 803-386-8506 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether applying online, by phone or in person, all applicants should be prepared to provide the following information with documentation (Social Security information is requested, but not required or mandatory to apply):
- Name and contact information
- Address – household applicants must reside in a rental property within Richland County
- Status – renter or landlord?
- Copy of an applicable lease agreement or self-attestation in the absence of a lease agreement
- Household income – must be below 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI)
- Rental/utility payment status
- In arrears or prospective?
- Impact of COVID-19
- Is there economic hardship? How?
- Is there a risk of homelessness or housing instability? How?
Funding must be used to reduce past-due rental and utility balances before future rent payments can be made. Once past-due balances are settled, the County will consider future rent payments for up to three months at a time.
Find more information at www.richlandcountysc.gov/ERA.