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COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response Timeline

The safety and well-being of our residents and staff are among our highest priorities. Below is a timeline of action steps Columbia Housing has taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to update our action steps following recommendations from local, state, and national public health officials. 



Cloth mask care guidelines










Cloth face mask recommendations from the CDC

  • 04.06.2020: Columbia Housing releases Level 3 Protocols in the event a COVID-19 case is triggered. 
  • 04.05.2020: The Housing Authority of the City of Columbia ("Columbia Housing") and the Housing Authority of the City of Cayce ("Cayce Housing") have postponed public hearings on its proposed 2020 Comprehensive Agency Plans and 5-Year Strategic Plans for FY 2020 - 2024 in response to complying with public health officials social distancing safety measures. The public hearings will be rescheduled for an as-yet-undetermined date
  • 04.02.2020: Letter of response to South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, South Carolina Legal Services, One80 Place Legal Services, Homeless No More, and the Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless outlining the protections Columbia Housing has taken for Low-Income Families during this COVID-19 pandemic.


CH Rent Change Process during COVID

  • 03.25.2020: Columbia Housing Waives Policy to Expedite Reduction in Rent for Residents Who've Lost Income 
  • 03.25.2020: Senior Facilities to be "Deep Cleaned" Friday, March 27, 2020
  • 03.25.2020: Issued "Rent Reduction" Procedure for residents experiencing a change in income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 03.25.2020: Received notice from HUD COVID-19 Disaster Relief that Columbia Housing's Statutory and Regulatory Relief Waivers were being held for processing pending Congressional guidance. 
  • 03.24.2020: Letter to Mayor Benjamin and members of Columbia City Council with updates on Columbia Housing's COVID-19 actions. 
  • 03.24.2020: Executive Committee's approval to proceed with securing immediate Statutory Relief from our Congressional Delegation on administrative requirements that create an immediate threat to our staff and the residents we serve and is in direct opposition to the guidelines set forth to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 
  • 03.24.2020: Submitted Federal Regulatory Waiver Request to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to postpone specific requirements that we feel we will not be able to comply with unless we violate the guidelines set forth to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 
  • 03.23.2020: Spoke with staff in the SC offices of Senator Tim Scott, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Clyburn regarding regulatory and statutory administrative waivers request from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development.
  • 03.19.2020: Open Letter to Housing Choice Voucher Participants and Landlords
  • 03.19.2020: Food and/or Meal Distribution Guidelines
  • 03.19.2020: Information for CH's Housing Choice Voucher Participants
  • 03.18.2020: Implemented staggered work schedules and teleworking options for staff
  • 03.18.2020: Restricting Public Access to Property Management Offices and Community Rooms
  • 03.18.2020: Housing Choice Voucher Participants - Frequently Asked Questions
  • 03.17.2020: Visitation Protocols for Senior High Rise Communities 
  • 03.17.2020: Public Housing Residents - Frequently Asked Questions
  • 03.17.2020: Public Housing Rent, Maintenance, and Public Health Directives
  • 03.17.2020: Letter to Public Housing Residents
  • 03.17.2020: COVID-19 Senior High-Rise Community Meetings: Dr. Melissa Nolan of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and Dr. Eric Brennan from Prisma Health will be joining us in meeting with our residents in the following communities (canceled due to update of protocols from public health officials).
    • Arrington Manor
    • Oak Reid
    • Marion Street
    • Rosewood Hills
  • 03.16.2020: Restricting Public Access for Administrative Offices
  • 03.13.2020: Notified all individuals having reserved the Tillis Center that due to COVID-19 and the CDC's recommendation on Social Distancing, we are canceling all events at the Tillis Center for the next two weeks. Deposits will be refunded and we will accommodate rescheduling these events after the CDC has lifted such recommendations.
  • 03.11.2020: Contact PRISMA Health, SC DHEC regarding staff/resident training and possible quarantine measures should that need arise.
  • 03.10.2020: Hung 100 informational posters from the CDC regarding avoiding the virus and signs of the virus in the main office and tech services, distributed 150 signs and full-sized posters to Property Management team for communities and high rises
  • 03.09.2020: Issued News Release via the website and social media "Columbia Housing's Actions to Address Corona Virus Concerns"
  • WISTV ran a story on 3/10/2020 citing our News Release - "Columbia Housing announces precautionary steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus"
  • 03.09.2020: Acquired hand sanitizer stations for the main office, tech services, Tillis Center and high rises, distributed disinfectant wipes and solution to Property Management team and maintenance staff.
  • 03.09.2020: Fully implemented CDC recommendations:
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed in the following locations:
      • Headquarter & all Lobby Areas throughout our portfolio
      • Reception Areas
      • Administrative Offices
      • Conference Rooms
      • High-rise Buildings (Arrington Manor, Marion Street, Oak Reid, Rosewood)
      • Tillis Center
      • Any Other areas deemed appropriate
    • Disinfecting wipes will be distributed to Conference Rooms, Administrative Offices, Reception Areas; and any other areas deemed appropriate.
    • Columbia Housing's janitorial services contractor is disinfecting common areas and surfaces throughout Columbia Housing's headquarters at 1917 Harden Street, including elevator buttons, door handles, and faucets, and is communicating with the CDC for any guidance on additional recommendations for cleaning procedures.

    • Disposable gloves and pocket-size hand sanitizer dispensers will be ordered and distributed to inspectors, maintenance technicians, and Columbia Housing staff who perform home visits in the course of their job responsibilities.

    • Employees who are ill are encouraged to stay home.

    • Employees and residents are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

    • Columbia Housing is not ordering or providing facemasks at this time because the CDC specifically does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including the disease caused by the coronavirus. Also, the U.S. Surgeon General posted a tweet on February 29 that said, "STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, ..."

  • 03.04.2020: Began process of trying to procure sufficient hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, and disinfecting materials
  • 03.03.2020: Issued News Release via the website and social media "What you Need to Know About Coronavirus"
  • Ongoing conversations amongst staff regarding preventative measures



"We want our staff, residents and community partners to take every precaution to remain healthy and safe," says Interim Executive Director Ivory Mathews. "Many of these healthy habits are already incorporated into our daily routines; we just need to be mindful to take extra precautions with this heightened concern about coronavirus," concludes Mathews.

  • Deployed COVID-19 Task Force using principles outlined in Columbia Housing's recently adopted Emergency Preparedness Plan (adopted November 2019).


  • Preparedness discussions began regarding possibilities and the need for staff to be aware and ready to act quickly if the virus begins to spread outside China


American Sign Language Video on COVID-19

10 Things to Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home