South Carolinians who need help with their rent or utility payments due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic may apply for assistance from a new federally-funded program, according to a news release we received over the weekend.
The program – SC Stay Plus – is providing “qualified applicants” with up to twelve months of “assistance for rent and utility payments” dating back to March of 2020, which is when the societal shutdowns associated with Covid-19 began wreaking havoc on the global economy.
In addition to applying for financial support dating back to last spring, applicants can seek up to three months of “future rent assistance” in connection with the program – which is being funded by a $272 million federal grant from the U.S. Treasury’s emergency rental assistance program.
This federal program is routing a total of $46.55 billion to “assist households that are unable to pay rent or utilities.”
According to the Treasury, “at least 90 percent of awarded funds must be used for direct financial assistance, including rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs, utilities and home energy costs arrears, and other expenses related to housing.”
“Don’t let eviction become a reality,” a release from the Columbia, S.C. housing authority noted. “Everyone needs help sometimes, and the SC Stay Plus program will help those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and facing eviction or housing instability.”
Wait a minute, though … why would a limited government libertarian like me draw attention to a program like this?
Well, first of all this money has already been spent. It’s not like there is anything I can do to un-ring that particular bell. And while I have gone on the record many times opposing the perpetual incentivizing of dependency – I certainly prefer to see taxpayer money going directly to consumers rather than to results-challenged government bureaucracies. Or to corporate cronyism.
Still, at some point it is vitally important for all of us to acknowledge that excessive, unaccountable efforts to prop up those in need (especially via government-run programs) can undermine the structural foundations not only of an economic “recovery,” but of the economy itself – to say nothing of the society it supports.
A social safety net is essential to a civilized nation. And in certain emergency situations, that net must be expanded and strengthened. But eventually, we need to “teach people to fish” as the expression goes – and hold them accountable for their “catch.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that beautiful 2013 St. Louis Cardinals’ Fall Classic lid pictured above).
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