I know a renter who has units just north of Columbia. They do a credit and criminal check for possible tenants, but are usually pretty flexible when it comes to credit. They are not flexible when it comes to the criminal check though. I believe they rent around $500/month for their units. If you think this may be a possibility please contact me and I will get you in touch with them. I hope this helps.
Depends on just how poor the credit is; also much will depend on the landlord/building, each is different; however you can consider being upfront regarding your credit; be prepared to show proof of employment/pay stubs; possibly pre-pay some of the rent; possibly offer extra security; have some reference letters handy; consider a guarantor, etc.
Several things may help you. First of all, be honest and up-front with potential landlords. Let them know you have bad credit, but good income. Let them know your goal is to establish good credit references. Suggest that you'd be willing to do a short-term lease (like 3 months) paid up-front, with the option to renew for a longer term (paid monthly) if everybody is happy with the arrangement. Hope this helps!