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COVID-19 Recovery Assistance

On Monday, May 4, Des Moines City Council approved a plan to distribute $3.3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds by designating $350,000 for Emergency Food Distribution, $684,970 for rental/mortgage assistance, and $750,000 for the Small Business Relief Fund$1.1 million in federal relief will be dedicated to serving the unhoused population in Des Moines to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Language interpreters are available by calling the Iowa COVID-19 English Language Learner (ELL) Help Line at 1-877-558-2609.

Emergency Food Distribution

What is the Emergency Food Distribution program?

With $350,000 of the federal relief funds received, the City of Des Moines has partnered with the Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS), the Food Bank of Iowa, and Urban Dreams to provide free hot meals to Des Moines families and residents in need.

Additional meal distribution events are being planned for this summer.

When will the distribution events take place?

The program funded by CARES took place every weekday (excluding holidays) from mid-June to mid-September.

Additional community resources are still available:

Need more help finding food resources? Call the Food Bank of Iowa at (515) 564-0330.

Rental/Mortgage Assistance

What Rental/Mortgage Assistance is available?

City Council recently designated $684,970 of federal relief funds to help Des Moines residents avoid homelessness during this pandemic.

This program provides one-time or short-term (no more than three months) emergency payments on behalf of individuals or families. Payments are made directly to landlords or mortgage companies on behalf of a household.

When will the assistance be available?
Payments are usually made to landlords or mortgage companies within a week of application approval.
Who is eligible?
Rental/mortgage is available to Des Moines residents who:
  • Meet the income eligibility guidelines of earning 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or earn 200% of poverty level, whichever amount is higher by household size (see table below)
  • Were current on housing payments (either rent and utilities or mortgage, taxes, and insurance) through March 15, 2020; and
  • Have not received assistance from other entities for the same rent or mortgage payments (for example, if someone received assistance for the month of May, they cannot request May’s rent from the City of Des Moines as well)

Household Size 60% Area Median Income (AMI) 200% Poverty Guidelines
$37,500 $25,520
$42,840 $34,480
$48,180 $43,400
$53,520 $52,400
$57,840 $61,360
$62,100 $70,320
$66,420 $79,280
$70,680 $88,240
How much assistance is available per household?
The amount available per household is determined by proof of housing costs, as deemed acceptable by IMPACT Community Action Agency. This includes a mortgage and escrow statement, lease, or other documentation that shows housing costs. Assistance is limited to three months of housing payments.
How do I apply?
To apply for rental/mortgage assistance, call IMPACT Community Action Agency at (515) 274-9496

DSM Small Business Recovery Grant

What is the DSM Small Business Grant?

The Greater Des Moines community strongly values its small businesses and the diversity in its ownership and services. The City of Des Moines is teaming up with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County and additional community partners to create a grant program to help keep small businesses in business.

Who is eligible?

Sole-proprietors or businesses in Des Moines with 0 – 30 employees that have had restrictions placed on their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of businesses include, but are not limited to, retail stores, personal care services and restaurants. 

  • Must have a physical location within the City of Des Moines, unincorporated Polk County or areas of Warren County.
  • Must have been in operation for at least one year as of July 1, 2019. 
  • Must be a for-profit business of any legal structure (non-profit organizations are not eligible).

Grant awards will range from $1,000 – $10,000. Preference will be given to businesses that have not received assistance from the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant, the Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund, the Paycheck Protection Program or other grants.

Additional requirements were listed in the application. Applications opened May 5 and closed at Midnight on May 31. The Greater Des Moines Partnership started to notify recipients on May 28, 2020.

What paperwork do I need?

Please gather these documents before applying.

  1. 4-month income and expenses statements (Jan-April 2020)
  2. 4 month income and expenses statement (Jan -April 2019)
  3. 3-month projected income and expenses (May 1-July 30, 2020)
  4. Balance Sheet (as of April 30, 2020)
  5. Using this template, please list job titles, hourly wage or salary by title, expected hours per pay period, and length of pay period (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.) reduced due to the public health crisis that are to be funded with Small Business Recovery Fund. Do not send employee social security information.
Download this worksheet to help you prepare for your application.
How do I apply?

Applications are now closed. Online applications opened on May 5 and closed at Midnight on May 31. The City of Des Moines has partnered with the Greater Des Moines Partnership to manage the application process.

To learn more, visit The Partnership's website at

Unhoused Assistance

What assistance is the City providing the unhoused community?

City Council designated $1.1 million of federal Emergency Solutions Grant funds to serving the unhoused population in Des Moines. Funds will be used for providing emergency shelter, homeless prevention and rapid re-housing solutions.

If I'm facing eviction, what do I need to know?
  • Only a judge can lawfully evict a tenant.  
  • If a landlord tells a renter they have to move out, they do not have to move out until they receive notice of the judge’s order.
  • Funding assistance has been made available through various programs in Central Iowa to help with those facing potential eviction.
Visit the Polk County Continuum of Care's website for additional resources in multiple languages.
Who can I call if I need assistance?
Visit the Polk County Continuum of Care's website for additional information in multiple languages.