COLUMBIA — Help is available for senior citizens who are temporarily struggling to pay their rent.
Residents may apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance program, which is administered through the S.C. Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found the poverty rate nationwide for those 65 and older to be 12 percent. In South Carolina, it was 14 percent, the same as in Florida. In Georgia, the senior poverty rate was 13 percent.
The program does not offer long-term housing assistance. Instead, it helps seniors get through a hardship by providing supplementary rent money directly to the property owner or landlord.
“It is encouraging that we can provide a helping hand to seniors struggling with emergencies,” said Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell in a news release.
To be eligible for Emergency Rental Assistance, an applicant must:
• Be at least 60 years old
• Rent or lease his/her residence in South Carolina
• Have a gross household income at or below 150 percent of the current HHS Poverty Guidelines
• Be otherwise capable of paying rent after the emergency situation passes
• The need for assistance must be due to an emergency situation that is unexpected or temporary and can be resolved.
Those who routinely fall short on regular bills would not qualify unless there is a pending, expected change, such as Social Security/SSI payments starting or increasing, moving to a less-expensive home, an adult child or roommate moving in to help with finances, or an increase in income.
The Office on Aging recommends that applicants work with and submit applications through their regional Information, Referral and Assistance specialist at their local Aging and Disability Resource Center.
For help locating the nearest center, call the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging at (800) 868-9095. Applications are available at www.aging.sc.gov, and may be mailed or faxed.
For additional information on the Emergency Rental Assistance program, contact Pamela Grant in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging at (803) 734-9893 or toll-free at (800) 868-9095 or by e-mail at email@example.com.