At Risk of Eviction? Seek Help Now!

Because of COVID-19, an “eviction moratorium” has been in place in the U.S. for over a year. That has meant that renters could NOT be evicted for non-payment of rent. That moratorium ends July 31. If you (or someone you know) have gotten behind on rent OR utilities because of financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for financial assistance to protect your family.  Applications will end when the available funds are used up; NOW is the time to apply! NOTE: Des Moines and Polk County residents apply through a separate portal.

Eligibility. To be eligible, all of these qualifications must be met:

  • You have past-due rent or utility bills that were incurred after March 13, 2020.
  • You are below income guidelines. These guidelines vary from county to county, and are based on family size as well. Example – for families of two, the income limit ranges from $46,000 to $63,800 depending on the county you live in. Use the Adjusted Gross Income figure from your tax return to check your eligibility.
  • Someone in your household has been unemployed OR you have had reduction in income or other financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • You are at risk of homelessness or housing instability. You can use a past-due rent or utility notice or an eviction notice to show this.

Tips. As part of an application for rent assistance, your landlord must certify that you are behind on rent and must agree to the terms of the program. Be prepared to contact your landlord and explain that you are applying for help to get caught up with rent. Reminder: most landlords will be happy to help, because it means they will get paid – the payments will go directly to them.

The Housing Recovery Helpline is available to answer questions about the program or the application at 855-300-5885 or  515-348-8813.

If you are threatened with eviction, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outlines steps to take. In addition, Iowa Legal Aid may be able to help you. Information about applying for Legal Aid assistance is found here. The Iowa Concern Hotline from ISU Extension and Outreach is another source of legal information – they do not represent clients, but they can help you identify steps you can take to protect your rights. Call them at 800-447-1985.

Not a Renter, but need help? Assistance for homeowners who are at imminent risk of foreclosure is also available through the Iowa Finance Authority, with the same income guidelines.

Please consider sharing this information with others who might need it.

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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