University of Idaho College of Law Public Interest Law Group

MDA Phase II Program – Deadline Today

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The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has been given federal money to distribute to the people of Mississippi. The Homeowner Assistance Program is one of the plans set up to help determine the allocation of these funds, with up to $150,000 granted to homeowners. Applications for the MDA Phase II program are due this Saturday, March 15. Many people need help filling out the application. Others have turned in their applications and haven’t heard back yet, so they wonder if everything is working correctly. Some have already heard back with disparaging news: either they didn’t receive any money or the money they received isn’t enough.

The Mississippi Center for Justice, where I’m working for the week, has been busy handling cases regarding this program. A large group of people are unsure about the application process, eligibility, and other aspects of the plan. With the deadline approaching and news about the program spreading through the community, people are scrambling for help. They have applications to fill out, documents to get in order, and eligibility to determine. Many are unable to do this work themselves. Many others are unaware of the existence of the plan. At particular risk for missing the benefits of the plan are the relocated and displaced, elderly, and disadvantaged.

Several different advocacy groups voiced a concern that the deadline will not give enough time for everyone to file the appropriate papers and asked that the deadline be extended. The legislature decided not to grant this extension and the Saturday deadline remains. Many attorneys are coming into the Center after hours tonight and tomorrow to help people in their finals efforts to qualify for this program. We’ve done a lot of preparation and investigation work on the files that we do have, so they can spend more time on the people that come in later. The work we’ve done this week should ensure that many more people are able to speak with attorneys and receive a resolution for their financial difficulties.

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Written by jrdo410

March 15, 2008 at 9:23 am

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