'Help Is on The Way' as City Delivers $6.5M in COVID Rent Relief

Press Release

DES MOINES, IOWA – Monday, February 22, 2021 – The City of Des Moines, in collaboration with IMPACT Community Action Partnership will begin coordinating $6.5 million in rental assistance this week to residents financially affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The City’s efforts, coupled with those by Polk County, brings a total of $14 million in rent assistance to residents.

Des Moines and Polk County secured the funds in late January through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Mayor Frank Cownie said this is the largest amount of funding the City has received for COVID relief.

“While we’re in the middle of this pandemic, we think it is important that cities like Des Moines get direct funding and provide the money as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Frank Cownie. “We want to help those who are in great need and keep roofs over their heads.”

Households are directed to apply for the Des Moines or Polk County assistance through IMPACT Community Action Partnership.

IMPACT Executive Director Anne Bacon said what she appreciates most about the $14 million Des Moines/Polk County effort is that it’s ‘broader than a normal Band-Aid approach to families in crisis.”

“This will really make a huge difference for those families who have been impacted by COVID,” Bacon said. “Our entire staff could not be more enthusiastic about the opportunity to touch people’s lives in an extraordinarily major way.”

“This is one of those rare times when we can change the trajectory in families’ lives,” she added

According to ERAP guidelines, an “eligible household” is defined as a renter in which at least one or more individuals in the household meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Demonstrates a risk of experienced homelessness or housing instability
  • Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income

Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance plus an additional three months if it is determined that the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability.

“This is a great feeling for the city and for our residents that we are really reaching out and helping those who need it most,” Cownie added. “I think it gives an awful lot of families that are in dire need of hope – and that help is on the way.”

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information. 

About IMPACT Community Action Partnership
IMPACT is committed to helping low-income families meet their basic needs, whether this is through programming that we offer or creating connections to other resources in our communities. We work to ensure that all our goals and actions are undertaken in response to the reason we exist: to eliminate poverty through empowering vulnerable populations, building collaborations and advocating for social change.