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Iowa catching up on assisting Iowans with rent, utilities

Iowa catching up on assisting Iowans with rent, utilities

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The Iowa State Capitol building Friday, July 31, 2020, in Des Moines.

DES MOINES — State officials said Friday they’ve caught up with applications for rental and utility assistance and are now working on making sure Iowans know the federal help is available.

“Like many states, Iowa’s disbursement of funds was initially slow, based on the time it took to set up the large and complex federal program while ensuring that all compliance, data security, fraud prevention and reporting requirements were in place,” said Ashley Jared, spokeswoman for the Iowa Finance Authority.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency reported in this summer the Iowa Finance Authority had received $195.1 million from the federal emergency rental assistance program and had distributed $18.41 million, leaving $176.7 million still to be paid to qualifying Iowans.

The aid covers up to 12 months of late rent and utility bills for renters who make up to 80 percent of their area’s median income. Iowans also have to show that they either lost their job or experienced another significant financial blow caused by the pandemic.

“The program initially experienced a backlog of applications,” Jared said. “However, we were able to make improvements to our software and bring on additional case managers to review applications to expedite processing times.

“The program has now cleared the backlog of applications, so once an application has been received from both the tenant and the landlord a case manager is assigned to it to begin their review,” she added.

“We will now be turning our attention to ensuring that Iowans in need of the assistance are aware of it,” she said.

“We encourage renters in need of rent and/or utility assistance to visit to apply for assistance as soon as possible. The deadline for the first allocation of funds is Sept. 30, 2022.

Additionally, Iowa Finance Authority officials have requested a second Emergency Rental Assistance Program allocation of $149 million through the U.S. Department of Treasury, Jared said.

The deadline for disbursement of those funds is Sept. 30, 2025.


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