YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) — Although more businesses are opening back up and restrictions are lessening, many are still feeling the financial effects of the COVID pandemic. York County United Way reports show, during the month of April 70% of people they work with, are still in need of assistance including housing and utilities needs.
Approaching recovery from the COVID pandemic, people are finding themselves in a new crisis. As moratoriums are lifted many are thousands of dollars in debt, needing assistance now more than ever.
Rock Hill Economic & Urban Development’s Jennifer Wilford, says, “The need is huge. I think the best example we have here locally is the S.C. state program which was the first round of state funds. The Housing Development Corporation was selected as a processing agent. The need was so great not just locally but statewide, that the application portal was only open for a day and then that day just in your county we had almost 230 applicants.”
Leaders believe it could take up to a year for people to fully recover financially. United Way of York County took look at the county’s greatest needs in April the top three continue to be utility, rent and shelter.
Summersby Okey with the United Way of York County, says, “I think these long-term effects are things we’re going to be dealing with for a long time. So certainly while things are getting better, folks are getting vaccinated and going back to work, that doesn’t mean the problem is over, for many folks the problem it’s just beginning.”
Carolina Community Action leaders say five months into 2021, they are seeing more than 50% of the assistance request for all of 2020.
Carolina Community Action’s Karen Brackett Browning, says, “We’re seeing many people come in because it’s getting close to them receiving an eviction notice or a disconnection notice.”
Iris Smalls Hubbard, also with Carolina Community Action says, “It just takes a longer time to recover. So if you think of someone who’s paying $400 or $500 for rent, and they are displaced, and all of a sudden they’re getting ready to go back in for that type of housing — it’s probably up to about $800 now. So, they’re paying one month’s rent, they’re paying a month of deposits, and then they have to pay the utilities. This is not the population that has a savings account or something to fall back on, this is the population that’s been living from day to day, paycheck to paycheck.”
York County leaders continue to see assistance needs increase, but they say more funds are available now than when the pandemic began.
“The city has a part of community development funds that are allocated specifically for COVID recovery. Any interested nonprofit agencies are still eligible to apply. All of that is through the Catawba Area Coalition for the Homeless. Our goal really is to get those dollars out there into the community to assist in this recovery. That’s gonna take all of us to get where we need to be,” says Wilford.
In the video above, CN2 is speaking with City and Non-Profit leaders about the other side of the pandemic and assistance that’s still available.