A rental assistance program that was made available to Mississippians during the height of the coronavirus pandemic will soon come to an end in the state. The governor says this could improve workforce participation.
The Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program, known as RAMP, will soon close applications under orders by Governor Tate Reeves. The program uses federal dollars to help renters make their payments for up to 15 months, and is intended to help those unable to work because of the pandemic. Governor Reeves says this would make Mississippi the first state to voluntarily close the application process.
“We certainly have helped 36,000 Mississippians which is about 1% of our total population, but there have been a few states that have burned through the amount of money that was allocated for them,” says Reeves. “And at that point, you can no longer accept new applications if you’re given only a certain amount of money.”
Applications will officially close on the 15th of this month, and if someone applies and qualifies within that time they will still be eligible for the full 15 months of assistance. Excess funding will be sent back to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
This measure is part of a larger objective by Reeves to get Mississippians back into the workforce. Reeves says he’s tired of the federal government propping up those who do not work, although he did not specify to what degree this decision would affect workforce participation.
Reeves says “I think it will encourage individuals that perhaps are currently getting their rent paid for, it will encourage them that at the point at which that is no longer being paid, incentivize them to get back into the workforce.”
Reeves says this decision could adversely affect landlords in Mississippi, but says it is his priority to fill vacancies in the workforce.