United Way of Horry County, Salvation Army prepare to help as federal COVID relief benefits expire

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:27 AM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The United Way of Horry County and the Salvation Army are stepping up their efforts to help those in need amid the pandemic, as federal COVID-19 relief benefits end.

The eviction moratorium recently expired, and federal coronavirus unemployment benefits expired Monday across the nation, even though South Carolina ended them months ago.

United Way of Horry County and the Salvation Army expect more people to call, and they’re ready to steer people in the right direction.

”We certainly sensed an increase and experienced an increase in our food help,” said Horry County Salvation Army Cpt. Carl Melton. “Certainly our pantry with our neighbors coming and getting help with the pantry.”

WMBF News spoke with Melton in early July, just after South Carolina opted out of the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment on June 30.

The organization had received some large donations and were stocked up for the early part of the summer, waiting to see what impact that change would have on their demand. He was hoping they would be the place people would turn to.

“On the occasion, they would indicate that they had been depending on that additional unemployment,” said Melton. “When it comes down to it, they’re still seeking solutions. Coming to the salvation, that’s just part of the solution list.”

Melton added it took a few weeks for things to pick up, and he anticipates the same thing happening with the eviction moratorium now coming to an end.

The Salvation Army helps with food and utilities, but when it comes to evictions, that’s where the United Way takes over.

United Way Horry County CEO Blakely Roof says the eviction moratorium was widely misunderstood.

“A lot of people think the moratorium means no one can be evicted, and that’s not the case,” said Roof. “You actually have to have a reason that you were affected by COVID to not be evicted.”

For anyone the moratorium applied to, Roof said United Way has several partner agencies that may be able to step in and help.

“We have great partners through SC legal that help people work through stuff like that,” said Roof. “If they have problems and are getting evicted, that’s a great resource that we send people to.”

Roof says ECHO, another United Way partner, is also offering rent relief to some people impacted by the coronavirus.

You can find resources like that by dialing 2-1-1.

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