COVID-19 Recovery Assistance

On May 4, 2020, 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 was dedicated to serving the unhoused population in Des Moines to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. On December 9, 2020, the Des Moines City Council approved the reallocation of $500,000 from the City's general fund to provide additional assistance. These funds were designated for mortgage and rental assistance as well as aid to those experiencing homelessness.

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?

During the pandemic, 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. As of December 30, 2020, $432,435 has been spent through the CDBG-CV Emergency Food Distribution Program. More than 50,000 residents accessed the program.


When did 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?

In 2020, the City Council designated $1.6 million of federal relief funds to help Des Moines residents with rent or mortgage assistance. In 2021, the City allocated its $6.4 million in US Treasury funds to IMPACT for emergency rental assistance, which will be available in late February 2021.

This program provides one-time or short-term emergency payments on behalf of individuals or families. Payments are made directly to landlords or mortgage companies on behalf of a household.

Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program

Renters and landlords can apply for money from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. This money can help with rent, utility bills, and even moving costs. As the CDC moratorium ended on July 31, many renters are worried about catching up on past-due rent and facing eviction. Help is available. The new Rental Assistance Finder allows people to easily find aid based in Iowa.

When will the assistance be available?
Payments are usually made to landlords or mortgage companies within a week of application approval. You may apply via the IMPACT online form at or call (515) 518-4770.


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?

Contact Landlord

Please reach out to your landlord, let them know that you are applying for rental assistance, ask them for a valid email address. Once IMPACT receives your application, we will contact your landlord, ask them to verify your application and ask for payment and tax information.

Have Identification

ID is only needed for the primary applicant, not everyone in the household. IMPACT will accept the following types of ID:

  • Iowa drivers license
  • Iowa non-operator ID
  • Non-Iowa operator ID
  • Non-Iowa government-issued ID (may include I-94 or a government-issued ID from your country of origin).
  • Passport
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Matricula Consular

Proof of Income

If someone in the household has been approved for or is currently receiving unemployment benefits, and has a statement that shows their weekly benefit amount, we can use that as proof of income, and proof of COVID impact is the only proof of income that we need (however they will have to recertify income in 90 days to receive additional assistance).
If the household has been approved for LIHEAP since January 1, 2020, no further income documentation is needed.
If not:
Impact needs to collect income information for all adults in the household, either annual income for 2020, or the past 30 days of income for the household. If you're able to provide either your 2020 tax return or 2020 W2s, this will qualify your household for the duration of the program; if you provide current income for your last 30 days, you will have to requalify in 90 days to receive additional assistance.

Additional details for the application are on the IMPACT website at

Dine Out Des Moines Delivery Assistance

What is Dine Out Des Moines Delivery Assistance?

Due to Des Moines restaurants having to shift their focus to delivery and takeout services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Des Moines is providing grants through the Dine Out Des Moines initiative to safely support the business to local restaurants. These grants aim to reduce the financial burden of purchasing supplies to facilitate delivery/takeout orders.

How do the Grants Work?

Program Overview

  • Grants will be provided in the form of reimbursements of up to $7,500 per local restaurant for takeout and delivery supplies.
  • A parent/management company or individual owning or operating multiple Des Moines restaurant locations (including wholly-owned subsidiaries) will not receive more than $15,000 total from this program.
  • All reimbursement funds will be distributed to restaurant owners on a first-come, first-served basis in order of applications received.
  • Delivery/takeout supply charges incurred by restaurants beginning December 1, 2020, are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Applications will be accepted in multiple rounds, each covering a single month's worth of expenses. Restaurant owners are eligible to submit an application once per round, until grant funding is exhausted or 5 p.m. on April 30, 2021, whichever comes first. Restaurants can submit in multiple rounds, up to a cumulative total of $7,500
Program Eligibility
  • Restaurants with a physical location in the City of Des Moines are eligible.
  • Restaurants that have an on-site drive-thru are not eligible.
  • Supply charges incurred by restaurants beginning December 1, 2020, are eligible for reimbursement in the first round.
  • Takeout and delivery supply reimbursements can include warmer bags, disposable containers, and other supplies to facilitate takeout and delivery most effectively.
  • Takeout and delivery supply reimbursements exclude consumables, equipment, technology investments, and payroll expenses.
  • Restaurant order delivery fees charged by independent third-party delivery sources (i.e. Grub Hub, Door Dash, and similar services) are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Restaurants maintaining fewer than three waitstaff per shift* (for more than half of the hours the restaurant is open) prior to December 1, 2019, shall not be eligible for the program due to the intent of the program to attempt to minimize interactions between waitstaff and the general public for health and safety purposes and to assist with preventing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community.
  • Restaurants that have been in business since at least December 1, 2019, shall not be eligible if they have not suffered a significant year-over-year revenue loss of a minimum of twenty percent (20%) from April 1, 2020, through January 1, 2021.
  • A “restaurant” for purposes of and eligibility in the program shall be an establishment that serves food or beverages for on- or off-premise consumption as its principal business, such as cafes, cafeterias, ice cream or yogurt shops, donut shops, and coffee shops, and at which at least fifty percent (50%) of the gross receipts are derived from the sale of prepared food and food-related services, excluding the sale of alcoholic beverages, as identified in Des Moines Municipal Code Chapter 134-3.5.9(A).
*Establishment meets the 'three waitstaff per shift' requirement if: seating is available in the establishment; and staff is readily available to provide service to seated guests during regular business hours.
Application and Review Process

Online application submissions for reimbursement will be accepted in multiple rounds:

  • 1st round – Beginning January 26, 2021, for December 2020 supplies
  • 2nd round – Beginning February 12, 2021, for January 2021 supplies
  • 3rd round – Beginning March 10, 2021, for February 2021 supplies
  • 4th round – Beginning April 7, 2021, for March 2021 supplies
  • Applications will be accepted until grant funding is exhausted or until 5 p.m. on April 30, 2021, whichever comes first.

Items that will need to be submitted with an application for reimbursement include:

  • Eligible receipts for supply orders that include the date and time of purchase, the supplier, and itemized list of supplies (including cost)
  • W-9 for the restaurant requesting reimbursement
  • Reimbursement request form

The City's review process will include:

  • City staff will be responsible for determining application eligibility.
  • Funding will be distributed by the City of Des Moines after required items are submitted and your request has been approved.
  • The City will make every effort to reimburse in a timely fashion.
  • The City shall reserve the opportunity to request additional information or clarification from any restaurant applicant, as determined necessary by City staff administering the program, including but not limited to request(s) for an affidavit from applicant(s) and/or supporting documentation demonstrating year-over-year revenue loss when applicable.

Questions for City staff may be directed to

The application period for this program has ended. Thank you.

DSM Small Business Recovery Grant

What is the DSM Small Business Recovery Grant?

The City of Des Moines, through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the City General Fund, and collaborations with Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County and the Iowa Empowerment Fund, developed the Small Business Recovery Grant (SBRG) to assist small businesses.

The City of Des Moines issued checks totaling $1,115,671 to 142 small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The SBRG program was created to provide grants up to $10,000 to small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19. In total, 142 businesses received funds from the SBRG including:

  • 27 women-owned businesses
  • 22 minority-owned businesses
  • 23 women and minority-owned businesses

The CDBG covered $251,500 of the total in grants which gave support to 33 small businesses in the City of Des Moines.


Who was eligible for this program?

Sole-proprietors or businesses in Des Moines with 0 – 30 employees that had restrictions placed on their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of businesses include, but were 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 ranged from $3,500 – $10,000. Preference was given to businesses that had not received assistance from the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant, the Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund, the Paycheck Protection Program or other grants.

Applications opened May 5 and closed at Midnight on May 31.

Paperwork needed to Apply

Businesses gathered 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. Payroll information
Application Process

Applications closed at the end of May 2020. The City of Des Moines partnered with the Greater Des Moines Partnership to manage the application process.

View a list of all grant recipients here.

Unhoused Assistance

What assistance is the City providing the unhoused community?

City Council designated $3.1 million of federal Emergency Solutions Grant funds to serve the unhoused population or residents at-risk of becoming homeless in Des Moines. Funds are used for providing emergency shelter, homeless prevention, street outreach and rapid re-housing solutions. If you are homeless and need assistance, contact Primary Health Care at (515)-248-1850.

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.