Iowa accepting applications for rent, utilities and mortgage assistance

The Iowa Finance Authority this week opened applications for the Iowa Rent and Utilities Assistance Program, which will provide $195 million in federal stimulus funds to those struggling to pay their rent or utility bills.

The program will cover overdue and future rent payments and overdue utility payments for eligible Iowans.

A household must not earn more than 80% of the county median income, experience income loss from the coronavirus, and show risk of housing instability or homelessness to be eligible.

Full eligibility details, along with the application, are available at iowafinance.com/iowa-rent-and-utility-assistance-program.

Homeowners at risk of foreclosure can apply for the Iowa COVID-19 Homeowners Foreclosure Prevention Program, which will provide up to $3,600 toward mortgage payments.

More details are available at iowafinance.com/covid-19-iowa-foreclosure-prevention-program.

Applications are open until funding is exhausted or until the IFA announces a pause in the program.

Several Johnson County organizations — Johnson County Social Services, Coralville Public Library, North Liberty Public Library, Center for Worker Justice, and IC Compassion — offer one-on-one appointments to help people complete the online application.

Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Finance Authority and Iowa Economic Development Authority, told The Gazette in late January that the $195 million was already “in our checking account.”

However, Durham had to wait for federal guidelines to arrive before unveiling the program.

“The worst thing I can do as a director is open a program and not fully understand the rules or the ramifications,” Durham said at the time.

“We want to roll it out as soon as possible because we know our landlords and tenants need it. But responsibly, we cannot do that.

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Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham prepares to speak to Anderson Greene in Cedar Rapids in October. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)