The U.S. Department of Treasury awarded Richland County Government $12.5 million to help local households that are unable to pay rent and utilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. April 5, residents can:
• Access the ERAP application online directly* or through the County’s website at www.richlandcountysc.gov; or
• Call the program’s toll-free number: 855-216-9198.
The phone line will be open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Applications also can be submitted in person:
• The County’s Department of Government and Community Services will offer in-person assistance on a limited basis and by appointment only. Residents are urged to review the ERAP information and must bring all required documentation to their appointment. Beginning Thursday, April 1, residents can schedule appointments for April 5 or later by visiting www.richlandcountysc.gov/all-appointments or calling 803-576-1513.
• Richland Library is 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 803-386-8606 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents who lack in-home internet service and prefer to apply online on their own can take advantage of services offered by Richland Library.
The library’s HomeSpot lending program allows residents to borrow a Wi-Fi hot spot for internet access at home. For details, call 803-569-3563 or email Hotspot@richlandlibrary.com. Free outdoor Wi-Fi is available at all 13 Richland Library locations.
Additionally, eight locations are open for free indoor computer use:
• Main, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia
• Ballentine, 1200 Dutch Fork Road, Irmo
• North Main, 5306 N. Main St., Columbia
• Sandhills, 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia
• Southeast, 7421 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia
• St. Andrews, 2916 Broad River Road, Columbia
• Eastover, 608 Main St., Eastover
• Northeast, 7490 Parklane Road, Columbia
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?
ERAP funds 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, including updated rules and frequently asked questions on ERAP, at www.richlandcountysc.gov/ERA.