Housing For All-Mount Pleasant (HFAMTP) has joined with SC Senator Marlon Kimpson in urging Governor McMaster and SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Beatty to reinstate the statewide moratorium on evictions immediately.
HFAMTP and Sen. Kimpson urge Governor McMaster to reinstate the eviction moratorium through the end of 2020 to provide much needed relief, stability, and hope that South Carolinians deserve.
"Housing is healthcare," said Wendy Bauerschmidt, executive director, Housing For All-Mount Pleasant. "In order to properly socially distance and self-quarantine, you need a house to be able to go home to everyday. As we enter an uncertain school year, face massive unemployment, and continue to witness so many fellow citizens succumbing to this virus, the thought of adding in further chaos by evicting families from their homes is unconscionable."
The most recent data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows that South Carolina is averaging nearly 2,000 COVID-19 cases per day over the past fourteen-day period. On May 15 the day the moratorium was lifted, South Carolina reported only 232 cases. Currently, 1,723 South Carolinians, the highest since the pandemic began, are hospitalized fighting COVID-19 with thousands more doing so at home.
"The facts are clear, the pandemic is worse now than it was when the moratorium was initially put in place as well as when it ended on May 15th," stated Sen. Kimpson. "A significant number of South Carolinians need this assistance to stay afloat."
South Carolina is currently facing a public health crisis and an economic crisis with the state unemployment rate at 11.1%. Further adding to the hardships, a key unemployment insurance benefit from the CARES Act that has allowed many to avoid evictions, is set to expire on July 24 if Congress doesn’t take action.
Even before the pandemic caused public health and economic devastation, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment was out of reach for too many. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a person making the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would need to work 110 hours per week in order to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Charleston County, using a fair market rental rate of $1,035 per month.
In calling for an end to the moratorium, Chief Justice Beatty cited the stimulus checks as a reason renters would be able to fulfill their financial obligations moving forward.
The current economic reality combined with the acceleration of the pandemic that has forced businesses to voluntarily shut down, is why Governor McMaster needs to provide rent relief now, by reinstating the eviction moratorium immediately.