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Mississippi receives grants to help with rent, utility bills

(AP) — The state of Mississippi has received $24 million in federal grants to help people struggling to pay rent and utility bills during the coronavirus pandemic, the Mississippi Department of Human Services announced Friday.
A $9.2 million grant was awarded for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program for helping residents pay home energy costs such as electric and gas bills. Households may also apply for regular Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds to purchase or repair air conditioners, heaters and fans, officials said. More than $15 million was awarded to assist households with rent, mortgage, employment and educational expenses.
“The goal of MDHS is to serve as many non-traditional clients as possible, who are mainly the households that have been directly or directly impacted due to COVID-19,” said Tina Ruffin, Director of the MDHS Division of Community Services. “These funds will allow us to make sure our most vulnerable clients receive help when they need it.”
Individuals may contact their local community action agency or human resource agency to apply for both types of assistance. A list of these agencies is posted on the MDHS website at https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/community-services/. Applications will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
Individuals who have never received services may submit a pre-application at https://virtualroma.mdhs.ms.gov. This site is available nationwide, but services and funds are for residents of Mississippi only.