by Julie Capaldi, President, United Way of Pickens County, with Sharon Purvis
South Carolina has landed in the national news with the lifting at the end of July of the eviction moratorium, as the state had the highest eviction rate in the country even before the pandemic, and more than 50% of renting households are at risk of eviction. Affordable housing is an issue that comes up again and again as an intractable problem in both urban and rural counties here in the Upstate.
Upstate non-profits that provide assistance have been stretched thin throughout the last several months. Initially the focus was on food access before stimulus money arrived and unemployment kicked in; the next wave was utility assistance as people continued to struggle to meet their bills, but the moratorium on evictions kept the fear of losing their home at bay. Now the focus will be on rent assistance as families who are teetering on the edge of homelessness seek help.
The United Ways across the Upstate provide the funding to those direct assistance organizations, and they need continued support in order to be able to meet those needs.
Julie Capaldi, president of the United Way of Pickens County, shared the following on the organization’s Facebook page last week. The need, of course, is not just in Pickens County, but the sentiments expressed by Julie are representative of what’s happening all across the Upstate.
Yesterday the need for COVID-19 Recovery Funds just exploded.
First, United Christian Ministries asked me for $10,000 to provide rent assistance for struggling families. Five minutes later, the Salvation Army called and asked for funds to provide rent and utility assistance. They only had $240 left!
When I hand delivered the check to Salvation Army, I was shown the long list of families requesting assistance. I was shocked!
The coronavirus continues to devastate families in Pickens County. Local families still need your help.
Weeks ago, I told you about the impending crisis I was worried about when the rent and utility bills came due. I called it “The Utility Tsunami” because that’s what it felt like. A storm of epic proportions just waiting to erupt.
That Utility Tsunami is HERE, along with a Rent Avalanche, and the needs are staggering.
Many people have not been able to return to work. Stimulus checks are long gone. Large unemployment checks have run out. The bills are due and they can’t pay them.
For hardworking people, the consequences of this pandemic are devastating. They suddenly have no income, a dim future, and many are not surviving.
They need you. You are the only one who can save them.
The pandemic is not done wreaking havoc on our community and people’s lives. It’s only going to get worse and that is why I am asking you to help.
If you have already given, THANK YOU! Please consider giving again. Ask your friends to join you. If you haven’t given, I pray that you will. There are families in Pickens County who will not recover without you.
Please make a secure gift to provide emergency assistance. You will save families and seniors and children. Never has your support meant more to our community.
You will save a family from losing everything.
You can donate to your local United Way at the links below:
United Way of the Piedmont (Cherokee, Spartanburg, and Union Counties)
Or you can give to the One SC Fund, which supplements the efforts of the various local United Ways.