Do you qualify for local COVID relief fund program?

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By Stan Welch
Last week The Journal announced that AIM, in partnership with the Anderson County government, has launched a COVID-Relief Fund program. The funding will be used to provide rental and utility assistance to qualifying households.
AIM Executive Director Kristi King-Brock spoke with The Journal this week, further defining the program and who does or does not qualify. “We have had three hundred fifty people visit the website and fill out the pre0qualification survey since last Monday. We have that survey available to save both us and the public some time,” said King Brock.

The first two questions cut to the chase. If you don’t rent and you don’t live in Anderson County, there’s no need to go any farther, said King-Brock. If you meet those two requirements, the application defines the kind of documentation that is needed. “We want people to understand that they have to have some link to COVID, either directly or indirectly. But you do not necessarily have to have had COVID. There are two ways for COVID to impact someone’s financial situation. It can cause an increase in expenses, or a decrease in income, or both.”

“ For example, if you were employed in the service or hospitality industries, the impact is pretty obvious. Your income was affected. But what if your granddaughter’s daycare was closed, and you had to watch the kids while their parents worked? Your expenses more than likely increased. Or you had to upgrade your computer or wifi because the kids were attending class online. The key is to think outside the box.”
To help those who may not be tech savvy or have computer access, AIM has established more than a dozen outlying assistance centers. If you can apply on line, that is the easiest way. But if that is not an option, you can go to one of the sites listed below and they will help you. You will need to document your income, using rental receipts, or a statement from DSS in the event of disability, or most conveniently, your most recent tax return. If your current income is eighty per cent of the household’s median income, the fund is available to you. If you are at fifty per cent, your situation is a priority. The average amount available is five thousand dollars per household. But all payments are made directly to the landlord or to the utility company. Clients receive no cash.

Anderson County received more than $6 million dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).
AIM will be managing the program from its Anderson headquarters, located at 1202 South Murray Avenue 29621.  For further information, to find out if you qualify, or to complete the online application, please visit https://covidrelief.aimcharitysc.org/ or call 833-977-RENT(7368).
Application assistance is also available at partner agencies throughout Anderson County.  Contact the agency nearest you to set up an appointment.
Local agencies include:
Belton Interfaith Ministries: 864-338-7797; 507 N Main St, Belton
New Spring – Powdersville: 864-261-1262
Piedmont Emergency Relief: 864-845-5535; 3A Main St. Piedmont
Trinity Baptist Church: 864-419-5622; 324 Belton Drive, Williamston
Other locations thoughout the county can be found on the AIM website.