Congressman Clyburn pushes for moratorium extension as millions face possible evictions

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s the start of the month and an estimated 11 million Americans are late on rent.

The CDC’s federal eviction moratorium, designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, has expired.

“For a lot of people in South Carolina it’s going to be a huge problem,” Director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center Sue Berkowitz said.

RELATED STORY | CDC eviction moratorium ends July 31; why homeless shelters are bracing for Monday

Democrats scrambled to pass an extension before the August recess, but their bill failed.

Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina issued a statement Monday asking the president to extend the moratorium, saying in part:

“I am joining my colleagues in house democratic leadership calling on the Biden Administration to extend the CDC eviction moratorium into October. Studies show that evictions increase the spread of coronavirus infections and deaths.”

At least a dozen states have passed some form of eviction protections but South Carolina is not one of them.

“We have one of the highest percentage of people who are either behind or unable to pay rent right now and we don’t have any state remedies,” explained Berkowitz.

If you are facing eviction there are some steps you can take through the South Carolinas Emergency Rental Assistant Program or E.R.A.P.

“Each state has been appropriated by the federal government a certain amount of money for paying either late rent, utilities, relocation,” Berkowitz said.

Larger counties like Richland have their own application portals while funding in smaller counties is done through the South Carolina Housing Authority.

“You give information showing that you’re behind on your rent, behind on your utilities, you show that it’s because of COVID and you will get money that will be paid to your landlord to make you current,” Berkowitz said.

The president is urging state and local governments to use the emergency rental assistance program and money from his American Rescue Plan to help prevent evictions.

“How are you going to pay your electricity? Cell phone? Food? It’s hard,” said one renter.

According to the Justice Center, South Carolina received about $350 million in rental assistance funds, but less than $1 million of those funds have made it to the hands of renters.

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