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Rental, Utility Assistance Program Opens Soon

for rent sign
Rich Pedroncelli
Iowa Finance Authority spokesperson Ashley Jared said people should take their time gathering the necessary documentation for the rental assistance application. "So we really want to help people that are at risk of losing their home, if not for this assistance, and it's required by the federal legislation," Jared said.

A statewide rental and utility assistance program will be available next week for Iowans who have been affected by COVID-19.

The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program will be open for applications next Monday, March 29 at 2 p.m. Funds will be available for renters who have experienced a loss of income or increased expenses due to COVID-19, among other qualifications.

  • The household earns less than 80 percent of the area's median income.
  • One or more people in the household have qualified for unemployment between March 13, 2020, and the time of the application.
  • The renter household must be at risk for homelessness or other instability such as past-due utility bills or eviction notices.

Applicants must provide documentation to prove they match the above qualifications for assistance. The funds can last for up to a year. The Iowa Finance Authority will administer the $195 million allocated for the program from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Iowa Finance Authority spokesperson Ashley Jared said although Iowa is taking steps toward normalcy, "There's still many Iowans out there that have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and are still getting back on their feet.”

She said they expect the program to be open through September, and the money will go directly to landlords or utility providers.

“They have been great partners in the past and we're thrilled to be working with them again, to be able to help folks that might be in, you know, that might be past-due on their rents or utility payments to really get them caught up from being behind and on the right path forward," Jared said.

She explained there is not a maximum cap for assistance, but only renters outside of Polk County can apply for the program. Polk County and the city of Des Moines received direct federal funding last month.

Additionally, the Iowa Homeowner Eviction Prevention Program will reopen at the same time, Monday, March 29. Those who are eligible can provide documentation of being impacted by COVID-19 and being at imminent risk of eviction.

The homeowner program can last up to four months and the maximum assistance caps at $3,600 per household.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines