The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) announced this week the availability of an eligibility precheck for the new Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program, which began accepting full applications March 1. The program will provide financial assistance to eligible Iowans impacted by COVID-19 for rent and utility costs for a period of up to 12 months.
Renters in need of assistance are encouraged to take the new Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program’s eligibility precheck to determine if they meet the initial eligibility criteria and, if eligible, to sign-up to receive notification when the full application is available, which is currently anticipated to be sometime in March.
This program is funded through $195 million that was provided through the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which was enacted by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and passed by Congress in late 2020.
General eligibility requirements require that applicants:
- Be current renters earning no more than 80% of their county’s area median income;
- Have experienced a documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past-due utility or rent notice or eviction notice.
If a renter received past assistance through one of the previous programs, it does not impact eligibility for this program. Assistance available through the program includes:
- Rent assistance for past-due and future payments
- Utility payments owed at time of application (no future payments)
Eligible past-due rent and utility payments may date back to costs incurred no earlier than March 13, 2020. Future rent payments may be awarded for up to three months at a time, and additional requests will require a subsequent application. Eligible renters may receive a total of up to 12 months of combined rent and utility assistance through the program.
Additional program details and the eligibility precheck are available at the Iowa Housing Recovery website.
Landlords, service agencies, utility providers and other organizations are encouraged to share program information with Iowans in need of assistance and encourage them to take the eligibility precheck to see if they may be eligible.