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Mississippi received millions in rent aid. But many struggling tenants are still waiting.

FILE - In this  Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 file photo, (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)(Michael Dwyer | AP)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 10:21 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT/NBC News) - Many struggling tenants in Mississippi worry over what will come first: a constable at their front door ordering them to leave, or the arrival of desperately needed rental assistance that will allow them to stay.

More than 1 percent of Mississippians believe they are very likely, or somewhat likely, to move because of an eviction in the next two months, according to a recent Census Household Pulse Survey. The state and its two largest counties have received $200 million in federal Covid-19 relief funds to cover back rent, with the aim of preventing these evictions.

But the vast majority of that money has not been spent, and there are large disparities in who is receiving help, and how quickly they’re getting it, according to a review of the latest program data and interviews with experts and advocates.

In Hinds County, where close to three-fourths of residents are Black, officials had disbursed only 3 percent of its $7 million emergency rental assistance fund as of mid-June. In contrast, Harrison County, where 73 percent of residents are white, had pushed out more than half of its $6.2 million allocation, serving more than 700 renters. In both counties, about 20 percent of the community lives in poverty.

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