At a Thursday news conference, Richland County Councilmembers Overture Walker and Gretchen Barron detailed funding available to local nonprofits and small businesses through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as well as rental and utility assistance available via a separate program.
The County received $16 million in emergency federal funding through ARPA to help small businesses, nonprofits and other organizations impacted by COVID-19.
Eligible organizations can apply online for ARPA funding through Friday, Sept. 30 via ZoomGrants: https://bit.ly/rc-arpagrant. Organizations must meet federal eligibility requirements in order to receive funding. Third-party vendor Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC will review all applications to ensure projects qualify for funding.
Eligible uses of funding include:
- Responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts
- Providing premium pay or grants to eligible workers performing essential work during COVID-19
- Providing government services to make up for reduced revenue because of the pandemic
- Making necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure
Qualifying applications will advance to a County committee, which will review them and award funding based on competitive criteria for each category. Organizations approved for funding by Richland County must still apply through ZoomGrants to meet the federal requirements.
The County will host two information and training sessions for organizations interested in applying for ARPA funding. They will be in Council Chambers on the second floor of the County Administrative Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia, at:
- 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12
- 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13
For technical assistance with applications, call 803-576-1355 or 803-576-5459. Learn more about ARPA on the County’s website: www.richlandonline.com/arpafunding.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
A separate pool of federal funding is available to renters who need help paying rent and utility bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Emergency Rental Assistance Plan (ERAP).
Richland County is accepting a final round of applications for rental and utility assistance through Sept. 30. Eligible residents can apply online: portal.neighborlysoftware.com/erap-richlandcountysc.
To be eligible for ERAP funding, applicants must:
- Live in Richland County or have lived in the County from March 13, 2020, until now
- Have experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship because of COVID-19
- Be at risk of homelessness or housing instability
- Have a household income less than 80 percent of area median income
Those who have previously applied for ERAP need not reapply; however, applicants should be prepared to provide updated documentation to determine eligibility and accurate assistance. Richland County will review applications for completeness and priority status as long as funding is available, in accordance with guidelines set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
For residents who need help completing the ERAP application, Richland Library is offering assistance. 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.
For more information, visit the ERAP page of the County website: www.richlandcountysc.gov/ERA.