Government and Community Services
The Department of Government and Community Services was created to:
- Facilitate improved community outreach
- Administration of government services
- Resolution of community issues
To improve the quality of life for Richland County constituents through outreach, mediation, advocacy, strategic programming, and education.
Creating community, improving lives, and moving to excellence.
- Develop productive relationships with community partners throughout the County.
- Engage and involve the public in policies and practices that directly impact communities.
- Measure impact of initiatives through surveys, reports, and involvement.
- Effectively communicate accurate and essential information to all audiences in conjunction with the Public Information Office and other County departments.
- Serve as an outlet between the County and its constituents, customers, and partners.
- Help satisfy unresolved issues and work to continuously improve public involvement in the government process.
- Elected officials and local municipalities
- Individual voters
- Residential communities and homeowner associations (HOAs)
- Business community
- Higher education
- Other county organizations (K-12 schools, churches, millage and ordinance agencies, etc.)
Questions change everything in community engagement
Max Hardy - TED Talk (Click HERE to watch the TED Talk)
GCS Resource Guide
Provides resources for housing, mental health, social services, and food
SC 2-1-1 serves as a safety net for all individuals needing help finding assistance, by helping improve the effectiveness and coordination of health and human services across the state. The statewide program provides information about and referral to health and human service resources. The service is available 24/7, 365 days per year. It is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.
SC Legal Services
Wateree Community Action- Electric Assistance
Wateree Community Action- Water Assistance
GCS Organization's of the Month (Archives)
February 2021- Senior Resources
March 2021 - Sisters of Charity
April 2021- Richland Library
May 2021- Columbia Housing Authority
June 2021- Homeless No More
July 2021- Harvest Hope Food Bank
August 2021 - COMET
September 2021- UWM Well Partners & Dental/Eye Clinic
October 2021- MIRCI
November 2021- Central SC Habitat for Humanity
December 2021- Historic Columbia
February 2022- Reconciliation Ministries
March 2022- SC Dept. on Aging
April 2022- Family Promise of the Midlands
May 2022- Camp Cole
June 2022- Pitch Inc
July 2022- Foodshare
September 2022- The Hive
GCS Organization of the Month - January 2023
American Red Cross of South Carolina Central Chapter
Government and Community Services (GCS) is a proactive outreach arm of the County. GCS focuses on facilitating improved community outreach, administration of government services, and the resolution of community issues. GCS recognizes an “Organization of the Month” that exemplifies the importance of supporting the community and assisting in getting resources to those most in need. This month’s organization of the month is The American Red Cross of South Carolina Central Chapter.
The American Red Cross mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering – a work carried out by local volunteers daily. In responding to disasters last year, your Red Cross provided food, shelter, and comfort to individuals and families in need, and casework and recovery assistance for disaster survivors. This support is always delivered at no cost to those affected by disasters, and while we are always prepared to respond to disasters, we also work to prevent them. Swift action when an emergency occurs can save a life, so we help families, organizations, and corporations become better prepared for crises through free educational presentations.
Service Delivery in the Midlands in 2022:
- Supported by nearly 900 active volunteers across all lines of service
- Responded to more than 550 local disasters
- Assisted 1,693 people during local disasters
- Distributed more than $370,000 in direct financial assistance after disasters
Home Fire Campaign in the Midlands: Home fires take seven lives a day in the US, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half. That’s why the American Red Cross is installing free smoke alarms and sharing fire safety information through our Home Fire Campaign
- Last year, more than 1,000 homes were made safer through educational visits and creating preparedness plans
- Saved 106 lives in South Carolina since 2014
Lifesaving skills training in the Midlands: Swift action when an emergency occurs can save a life. The American Red Cross teaches and empowers more than 4.8 million people annually through training courses.
- Nearly 23,000 people in the Midlands learned skills such as first aid, CPR, AED & water safety last year
- 327 students participated in youth disaster preparedness education programs in 2022
Service to the Armed Forces in the Midlands: The Red Cross Hero Care Network provides support to service members and their families pre-deployment, during deployment, and when they return home through emergency communication services, financial assistance programs, re-integration, and veteran services. Last year, the Red Cross of SC Central Chapter:
- Provided more than 5,000 case services to military, veterans, and their families
- Served over 1,900 military, veterans & families through emergency communications & critical needs
- Reached more than 16,000 military veterans & their families through resiliency programs across SC
Biomedical Services: The American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood in the United States, providing nearly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. Blood and platelets are needed for many reasons— accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, or sickle cell disease may all need blood.
- Collected more than 76,000 units of lifesaving blood in South Carolina in 2022
- Hosted nearly 3,800 blood drives throughout the state
Donate Time – give the gift of life. Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood. Find a blood drive near you today: redcrossblood.org and patients in need.
Donate Talent – volunteers needed! Apply to volunteer and view the most needed positions in your community at redcross.org/volunteer
Donate Treasure – support your neighbors in need. Every day, the Red Cross of South Carolina responds to 6 home fires. When you give to your local chapter of the Red Cross, you’re helping to ensure the Red Cross is there to help people through their darkest days. RedCross.org/donate
For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/SC or follow us on social media @RedCrossSC.
Richland County Emergency Rental Assistance
UPDATE (SEPT. 22, 2022):
Richland County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is accepting its last round of new applications for rental and/or utility assistance through Friday, Sept. 30. To access the application for emergency rental and utility assistance, please click here.
Existing applicants do not need to reapply; however, please be prepared to provide updated documentation for eligibility determination and accurate assistance. Applications will be reviewed for completeness and priority status, in accordance with U.S. Treasury guidelines, for as long as funding is available.
Richland Library offers help to residents filling out the application. Applicants can email email@example.com.
For more information, contact the County's call center: 855-216-9198, or email the ERAP team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helpful links (PDF format)
||Assistant Director of Government and Community Services
To view Richland County GIS Mapping (Click Here)