JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Poor Peoples Campaign made an impassioned plea to Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) on Wednesday.

In a news conference outside the Governor’s Mansion, advocates called on the governor to reconsider his decision to end the Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program (RAMP).

Last week, Reeves announced the ending of the program.

“Effective August 15th, Mississippi will stop accepting applications to the Federal Government’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” said Reeves. “This decision is about returning to pre-pandemic policies further strengthening Mississippi’s economy and incentivizing people to work.”

RAMP has benefitted more than 36,000 individuals and offers up to 15 months of financial assistance.

Advocates called the decision to end this program premature.

“We’re appealing to you, Governor Tate Reeves, to do the right thing. Suspend the deadline, give people time to apply and advocate for more resources to come into this state,” said Attorney Jaribu Hill.

State Representative Earle Banks, District 67, said, “You’re showing you do not care about regular working people in Mississippi who need help. And Governor, by sending back federal dollars that would be going to other states, other areas of the nation is ridiculous.”

The rental assistance program has roughly $130 million left in its budget. Whatever is left after the August 15th deadline will be sent back to the federal government.

With the legislative session approaching, state representatives are prioritizing housing security and calling for change now before it’s too late.

“With the governor making the statement that he wants to send the money back by August 15th is the deadline, action needs to happen now,” said State Representative Christopher Bell, District 65.

Reeves said in his announcement that applications submitted before August 15th will not be impacted by the deadline.