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PRVO using CARES Act funds to help with rent, utilities

Pearl River Valley Opportunity Incorporated is distributing funds to help Pearl River County residents with rental assistance, pay utility bills and other aid as a result of the pandemic.

PRVO is distributing $400,000 from the CARES Act to Pearl River County residents who lost jobs or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic.

Residents have been faced with lost jobs and reduced hours in all five Pearl River County districts, said PRVO case manager Lillie Crawford. Families have lost both incomes and health insurance, she said.

“Many of our clients are facing foreclosure on their homes, many are facing evictions, and many are facing having their utilities disconnected,” said Crawford.

Crawford has seen a significant increase in the number of people facing evictions or utility shutoffs from the last year.

The organization is helping clients address needs like paying rent or a mortgage, paying utilities, assisting with education supplies, referrals for medication assistance, emergency dental assistance, eye exams and medical care assistance.

PRVO is again providing air conditioning window units to clients as needed. PRVO has already provided more window units than it did last year, and Crawford expects even more will be provided to clients before the end of the summer.

“We are in a heat wave, a heat wave that is so high that it is life threatening, for their health and safety—especially for our elderly clients. For them to lose their electricity at this time, especially our elderly and disabled clients, would put their health and safety at risk and families that have children, it would put their health and safety at risk,” said Crawford.

At the beginning of the year PRVO also received approximately $400,000 in regular funds to assist residents.

PRVO also has a job list to help direct people to employment opportunities and is working with other agencies to provide services to clients.

To apply for assistance, residents in the south end of the county can contact the Picayune office at 601-749-7729 and residents at the north end of the county can contact the Poplarville office at 601-403-2203.