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, a native of Tacoma, Wa., is an investigative reporter writing about poverty and economic justice. Before joining the staff at Mississippi Today in September of 2018, Anna worked for three years at Clarion Ledger, Mississippi’s statewide daily newspaper. She also worked as an investigative reporter for the Center for Public Integrity and Jackson Free Press, the capital city’s alternative newsweekly. Anna has received national recognition for her work, including the 2021 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the 2021 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability, the 2021 John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award, the 2020 Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award and the February 2020 Sidney Award for reporting on Mississippi’s debtors prisons. She received the National Press Foundation’s 2020 Poverty and Inequality Award. She also received first place in the regional Green Eyeshade Awards in 2021 for Public Service in Online Journalism and 2020 for Business Reporting, and the local Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism in 2019 and 2018 for reporting on unfair medical billing practices and hunger in the Mississippi Delta.