Section 8 Residents Told to Move Could Get Relief

Alternate Apartment Complexes Offer to Help

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Help for dozens of low-income families told to move out by April 30th could be closer than they think, as neighboring apartment complexes offer to help provide new places to call home.

Being told in a letter by the Club at Carolina Stadium apartments that she has to vacate her Section 8 unit, has Susan Tolen feeling helpless.

"It's making me sick," said Tolen. "If you were in situation and you had to get out and you didn't have money, and you took all your money and paid bills? Then I'm like, 'What am I supposed to do?'"

The Columbia Housing Authority tells ABC Columbia Tolen and some 70 low-income families, including Tolen's aging and ailing parents, have to leave by April 30th. Officials say due to HUD regulations, they simply cannot pay new rent amounts the new property owners are imposing.

It's even impacting residents who don't receive Section 8 vouchers.

"Even though I'm not on Section 8, the rate they're going up to, I can't afford that," said resident Yashica Scott.

However, the Club at Carolina Stadium is working with neighboring properties to help those displaced find a new home. One of those is Austin Woods Apartments on Garner's Ferry Road.

Spokesperson, LaShonda Wilson, has already started reaching out, offering to work with tenants to secure some 26 empty units on the property.

"It's hard when you're not prepared to move," said Wilson. "I think it's our responsibility, even as a community to reach out to them."

Austin Woods does accept Section 8 vouchers and is offering other incentives to Club at Carolina Stadium tenants, like Susan Tolen, now faced with abandoning what they've known to be home.

"God will make a way."

To try to make this transition for displaced residents from the Club at Carolina Stadium a little easier, management officials at Austin Woods say they have lowered the cost of their application fee and are offering $100 off moving expenses to residents who qualify. In fact, four new residents are already scheduled to move in.

Housing Authority officials say the Club at Carolina Stadium was built as a tax credit project. The Tax Credit has expired.

New Property owners have the right to raise rent. However, the increases are too costly for the Housing Authority.

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