Mississippi Home Corporation has opened a waitlist for tenants seeking some of the $200 million allocated in the latest stimulus package from Congress for rental assistance in Mississippi.

To get on the Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program (RAMP) Emergency Rental Assistance waitlist, renters may fill out an application on ms-ramp.com.

The program hasn’t officially launched, but the Home Corporation announced that Gov. Tate Reeves had chosen the organization to administer the funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control eviction moratorium will remain in place until March 31 under an extension the agency announced last week. To avoid eviction, a renter must provide a declaration to their landlord or property manager, certifying that the order applies to them.

Kentucky Equal Justice Center developed a tool that allows people facing eviction to fill out and sign the CDC document online and email it to their landlord. Click here to use the tool.

Whereas the existing RAMP program, funded by an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, included strict eligibility guidelines that caused several thousand to be denied, the treasury money is more flexible. For one, it raises the income limit for eligibility from 50% to 80% of the area’s median income.

In Hinds County, families of four would qualify if they earned under $56,700, instead of the previous $35,450.

Mississippi has also yet to begin pushing out its additional $38 million in Community Development Block Grant funding, which Reeves committed entirely to rental assistance in October, Mississippi Today reported.

By last week, HUD had yet to provide guidance to states for how to use those funds to pay off past rent debts, according to a spokesperson from the federal agency. “That component is expected soon,” an email read.

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Anna Wolfe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who covers inequity and corruption in government safety net programs, nonprofit service providers and institutions affecting the marginalized. She began reporting for Mississippi Today in 2018, after she approached the editor with the idea of starting a poverty beat, the first of its kind in the state. Wolfe has received national recognition for her years-long coverage of Mississippi’s welfare program, in which she exposed new details about how officials funneled tens of millions of federal public assistance funds away from needy families and instead to their friends, families and the pet projects of famous athletes. Since joining Mississippi Today, she has received several national honors including the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, the Livingston Award, two Goldsmith Prizes for Investigative Reporting, the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability, the Sacred Cat Award, the Nellie Bly Award, the John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award, the Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award, the Sidney Award, the National Press Foundation’s Poverty and Inequality Award and others. Previously, Wolfe worked for three years at Clarion Ledger, Mississippi’s statewide newspaper, where she covered city hall, health care, and wrote stories about hunger and medical billing, earning the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism two years in a row. Born and raised on the Puget Sound in Washington State, Wolfe moved to Mississippi in 2012 to attend Mississippi State University, where she currently serves on the Digital Journalism Advisory Board. She has lived in Jackson, Mississippi since graduating in 2014.