During the May 12 City Council meeting, Columbia City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging the United States Congress to implement an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help citizens struggling to overcome financial difficulties as a result of the severe economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In opening statements, Councilmember Tameika Isaac Devine stated a recognition that a lot people are affected by COVID-19, and there needs to a resolution to ask Congress to put parameters around assistance that may get passed to help people who are struggling. Councilmember Devine then brought to the floor “Resolution No.: R-2020-056 Urging the United States Congress to Implement an Emergency Rental Assistance Program for Citizens Impacted by COVID-19.” The resolution was passed by City Council unanimously.
“I want to thank Councilmember Devine for bringing this congressional request to the floor, as it is an example that our City Council is working for working people,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Midlands residents, many of whom have lost their jobs or seen significant reduction in wages, and are currently trying to focus on keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy, should not have the additional stress caused from facing eviction and losing the safety of their homes. The stress so many families feel over eviction may impact their resources and ability to avoid the spread of COVID-19, which in turn endangers the entire community.”
Language included in the resolution states:
WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Council of the City of Columbia, South Carolina ("Council") believe that during this worldwide pandemic event and emergency situation caused by SARS-CoV-2 (the Coronavirus) that causes the disease COVID-19 that the United States Congress should create an emergency rental assistance program for those who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and struggle to cover housing expenses and risk eviction;
WHEREAS, this Council believes that evicting residents during this worldwide pandemic event and emergency situation, would be contrary to the health safety and welfare of the community citizens because those who are evicted are impoverished, lack the resources to timely move their personal belongings, and have nowhere else to go after being evicted;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council this 12th day of May, 2020, that the City Council of the City of Columbia hereby urges the United States Congress should create an emergency rental assistance program for those who are impacted and provide proof of financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and struggle to cover housing expenses and risk eviction.
Resolution No.: R-2020-056 is available for review in its entirety at http://columbiacitysc.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1225&Inline=True