Charleston School of Law students recently assisted SC Stay Plus in hosting an eviction assistance clinic for residents in jeopardy of being evicted due to financial burdens created by the pandemic.
SC Stay Plus is a program created by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (S.C. Housing) to assist South Carolina residents that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives and careers of many people and changed the way we live. According to the latest U.S. Census Pulse results, an estimated 711,067 renters in South Carolina are “behind on rent or report low confidence in ability to pay rent.” (27.6% of the state’s population). The survey also identified that 150,000+ households who have reported being behind/late on rent payments also reported they will likely be evicted within the next 60 days.
Anne Caywood, Executive Director for Lowcountry Legal Volunteers, reported nearly 70 low-income families applied for assistance during the event. “It was very inspiring to watch Charleston School of Law students work with the community,” said Caywood. “They have a passion to help people — people who are in jeopardy of losing their home. You could feel the energy all day. It was really cool.”
One of the challenges in hosting the event was the barrier to technology. Many of the families in attendance do not have access to the internet. Charleston Law students stepped up, using their personal computers and mobile devices to connect those in need and walk them through the application process.
“Our students have a passion to serve and to help people,” said Charleston School of Law Dean Larry Cunningham. “Their efforts speak to heart and soul of our mission: to serve the greater good.”
S.C. Housing has dispersed $19 million in rental assistance to more than 4,000 homes across the state through its SC Stay Plus program. In addition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had distributed an additional $10 million to help state residents suffering from financial instability.
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