New COVID-19 rent, mortgage assistance program announced
DES MOINES — A new COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program was outlined Friday. Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, provided details on the new program.
“Unfortunately, these weeks have also brought a sense of worry to many Iowans on how they are going to keep their homes due to a job loss or reduction in income due to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Durham said. “I’m proud to say that we accepted the governor’s challenge and our team has been working diligently to stand up a program that will provide our fellow Iowans with some relief in their time of need.”
The program will provide up to $3,200 for up to four months of rental assistance starting with the April 1 payment. Mortgage assistance, including up to two months in arrears, beginning with the April 1 payment for a $3,000 maximum is also available.
To be eligible for the program, renters or homeowners must be at risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a documented COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020. Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the median family income for the county at the time of application. Those currently receiving the $600 additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits are not eligible. Assistance will be granted on a first come, ready to proceed basis once the application is submitted and approved. Payments will be provided directly to the landlord or mortgage service provider.
“It is critical that all requested information is provided in full at time of application,” Durham said. “Also please note that applications for eviction prevention assistance will require an electronic landlord verification. Because of this, renters who apply are encouraged to notify their landlord of their application because they will have to qualify. Applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to track the status of their application through every step of the review process.”
For more information on the program, visit iowahousingrecovery.com.
An update was also provided at the press conference by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds about allocation of CARES Act funding. Under the program, Iowa was allocated $1.25 billion which can be used to cover expenses that were incurred due to COVID-19. The governor provided a breakdown of how that money was being used so far. $215 million has been dedicated to businesses and families through workforce, housing, small business and Feeding Iowa programs. Help for community governments is receiving $125 million along with an identical amount for state response efforts during the pandemic. Agricultural related programs were allocated $100 million in funding. Efforts to expand broadband access for tele-health, work and educational endeavors is receiving $85 million. Healthcare related spending totals $50 million. The remaining $550 million in funding is being reserved at this time, to be held for the unemployment trust fund and additional unforeseen COVID-19 expenses.
“Iowa’s allocation from the coronavirus relief fund will help cover the significant and unexpected expenses due to the pandemic, positioning us well for recovery and growth in the months to come,” Reynolds said.