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Organizations Adjust to Serve the Public Amid Coronavirus Outbreak


Organizations Adjust to Serve the Public Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Columbia Housing Serves 16,000 People Daily


Columbia, SC... The COVID-19 novel coronavirus' effect on businesses and organizations forces them to look at their operational model to see how to continue serving people. How does an organization regroup when its very mission puts it in close contact with people they serve? Columbia Housing provides affordable housing to more than 16,000 people every day-1,600+ families in its Public Housing Program and another 4,000+ families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8). That means members of the agency's 100+ workforce typically interface with residents and program participants daily.

"This is a difficult time for all of us," says Interim Executive Director Ivory Mathews. "But most importantly, I want to assure the public that we have been extremely thoughtful in the planning and implementation of all of our actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have and will continue to assure our residents and program participants that they are not in this alone. We are housers and are dedicated to continued efforts of providing a safe and thriving environment for all. Complying with public health and public officials' recommendations of social-distancing has not been easy for the staff and we'd much rather be in the office doing the jobs we love with face to face interaction with the people we care much about," concludes Mathews.

As the COVID-19 epidemic unfolds, Columbia Housing will continue to implement measures, to the greatest extent possible, to ensure that families maintain stable housing. Below is a high-level summary of measures that we've implemented to protect residents, program participants, and employees.


  • Suspension of Notices to Vacate for lease violations
  • Suspension of evictions
  • Suspension of transfer, unless it is a true emergency
  • Suspension of routine work orders
  • Emergency work orders may require additional troubleshooting via phone calls
  • Suspension of housekeeping inspections
  • Suspension of late fees
  • Suspension of all resident activities to include the Resident Executive Council
  • Suspension of grievance hearings
  • Existing repayment agreements will be extended
  • Waived policy to expedite rent reductions for loss of income
  • Recertification deadlines will be extended
  • Rental payments should be made via mail, dropbox or online; receipts for rent payments will be mailed later
  • Visitors for social purposes, especially at elderly properties are discouraged; medically related visitors and caregivers may continue to visit residents
  • Pest control services will be conducted on the exterior of buildings and common areas. Routine interior pest control services will be suspended.
  • Cyclical sanitizing of Senior High-Rise communities
  • 24-7 call center for emergencies 803-251-2747


  • Existing repayment agreements will be extended
  • Suspension of annual recertification's
  • Suspension of inspections except for true emergencies and vacant unit move-ins
  • Suspension of terminations
  • Suspension of voucher issuance for current and new participants
  • Postponing issuing vouchers and voucher briefings for portability
  • Toll voucher searches until the state of emergency is lifted
  • Suspension of grievance hearings
  • Waived policy to expedite rent reductions for loss of income
  • 24-7 call center for emergencies 803-251-2747
  • Continued on-time rental payments to landlords


  • Virtual Board of Commissioners Meetings
  • Virtual Board of Commissioner Committee Meeting
  • Essential staff assigned to virtual work hours
  • Virtual staff meetings

"We will continue to communicate clearly, effectively and often and will document these efforts on the COVID-19 Response page of our website," says Mathews. "Last, but certainly not least, we thank our community for its support as we continue to provide stable housing for our families while complying with social distancing and stay-at-home orders from public health and public officials."  



For more information on Columbia Housing's COVID-19 Response please visit our COVID-19 Response web page. 


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