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Mississippi Home Corporation urges those at risk of eviction to ‘be patient’ while waiting for rental assistance

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Federal eviction protections ended at midnight Saturday, leaving many renters concerned about what’s to come.

Here in Mississippi, nearly $200 million in rental assistance has been available to those in need for months now. As of last week, the Mississippi Home Corporation has given out less than six percent of it.

As people scramble to figure out how they will pay their rent, MHC’s Executive Director, Scott Spivey, urges those in need of rental assistance to be patient.

“We understand that there’s a lot of need for the assistance. We understand that there are a lot of recipients who are worried about it, especially with the eviction moratorium ending yesterday,” Spivey said. “We’re going as fast as we can.”

Not everyone agrees. Last week, the Mississippi Apartment Association said in a statement that MHC’s application process for its rental assistance program is incredibly difficult.

But Spivey said the application asks for standard information such as employment status, a copy of the tenant’s lease agreement or a demonstration of payment history, and household income.

“Income is what’s kind of holding up the process right now,” he said. “That’s a little bit complicated for people to document if they don’t keep really good records.”

He said they’ve been so busy processing applications that they haven’t had a chance to figure out the average time it takes for applications to get approved.

“As much information as gets provided is how quickly we can process the application,” Spivey said. “It can be as short as 30 days, or it can be as long as 60 days would be my guess right now.”

Landlords now have the option to evict tenants, but Spivey said doing so wouldn’t make sense, and they, too, should be patient.

“It seems to me that the logical choice would be to reach out to us and say, ‘what can we do to make sure this application is moving forward? What can we do to make sure that we’re completing everything that we need to do so that we can get paid and we don’t have to evict?,’” he said.

Spivey said the process is speeding up and that hosting in-person events have been helpful in allowing confused tenants to get their questions answered.

He also said if a landlord threatens to evict on short notice to contact MHC right away.

To do so, you can visit their website at ms-ramp.com or call the number listed on that website.

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