Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said that a new rental-assistance program, with the City working with the Salvation Army, will help many families affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. File Photo by Stephen Wilson
Low-income families threatened with eviction in Jackson can receive assistance via a $517,706 homelessness-prevention grant offered by Salvation Army in partnership with the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced Monday.
The initiative may help more than 200 families avoid eviction. It began Friday as the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown takes an economic toll, Salvation Army Major Robert Lyle said at the event.
"In order to be helped, you have to provide a court-ordered eviction notice," Lyle said. "You will need to call for an appointment."
The number to call is 601-982-4881, and the items to bring along are a photo ID, Social Security card, a lease agreement, any recent bill and the eviction notice.
"We realize that COVID has caused a lot of grief, but we are in the greatest country of the world and at the greatest time in history, and we know we are going to be able to make a difference because of this partnership," Lyle said.
"This right here will allow us to help more people, and again it's just a good thing for this community, and it's good to keep families together," he added. "No one wants to have to come home and say to their child, ‘we are moving because we can't afford the rent.’”
‘A Pandemic on Multiple Fronts’: Physical and Financial
The Office of Housing and Community Development states on its website that it manages federal grant money the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gives the City of Jackson by taking, selecting and distributing funds to local service providers.
"COVID-19 has been a pandemic on multiple fronts, not only to the physical health of people in our community but the financial health of many people within our community," the mayor said Monday. "And so it is important that we have programs and partnerships as the one that we are announcing today so that we can have a holistic approach to all of the things that our communities are suffering from not only locally but nationwide."
The Salvation Army major said he appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with the City of Jackson to help people and pledged the judicious use of the grant funds,
"We want to say thank you to the City and to the mayor and his staff for bringing us into this partnership. We promise you will do the best with what we have, and again this city is a great place to serve," Lyle added.
‘Poverty Is The Greatest Form Of Violence’
"The greatest form of violence is poverty; it really reflects the best of who we are as Jacksonians when we respond to people in need, in our efforts as a city to create what we see as a dignity economy, we feel it is important that we focus on areas of need such as this," Lumumba said at the Monday press conference.
Lumumba expressed fear that those who need the rental-assistance program may not benefit from it because they may not get the information about it. He called for the public to help.
"Far too often, when we have a program of this caliber, the people that are in greatest need don't have access to the process, meaning they are unaware," the mayor said. "So we are not only speaking to people who directly face the issue of eviction, if you know a family that is facing the issue of eviction, if you know someone who is less inclined to go to the Salvation Army to call the Salvation Army, please encourage them to do so.
"Sometimes, you will find if resources are available like this, many of those resources are not utilized because there are not enough people who know to call."
Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.