COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Midlands organization which offers utility and rental assistance year-round, is now expanding those services to meet the increased demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Wateree Community Actions, Inc. (WCAI) is a nonprofit which provides assistance to low-income families and aims to help those families become more financially stable. They serve five counties: Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, Richland and Sumter.
Again, WCAI services are always available, but have since been expanded in the wake of COVID-19, not only so that more people can be reached, but also so that more financial assistance can be offered to those who qualify.
Services include utility bill assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). For more information click here.
The COVID-19 housing program is also being introduced for families at risk of losing their homes, becoming evicted or living in unsafe or unaffordable housing. Rental assistance and temporary housing are available, plus, mortgage payment assistance is a new source of assistance being offered.
“We know that during COVID time, everybody was home. There’s been an increase into their utility usage. So, we want to make sure families are able to keep their utilities on as we’re transitioning now and opening back up. Because we’ve all been closed in so long, we have a mental health effect to it, and so, we want to make sure that we’re bringing some type of awareness to services that are available and how they go about getting these services so that they’re not so stressed,” said Annette Tucker, the Wateree Community Actions chief executive officer.
To qualify for the COVID-19 housing program, you’ll need to fall within 200% of the monthly Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL), within the last 30 days. These income requirements have been expanded, initially only serving families within 150% of those guidelines.
Also, money received through the CARES Act, including stimulus and unemployment payments, will not be factored into your income.
You can pick up an application in person at any of the Wateree Community Actions locations. You can also apply online. For more information, visit: www.wcai.org.
Once you have completed your application, you will be notified via text/email about the status of your application, which should take between 24-48 hours to process.