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Financial assistance program launched to help Linn County residents facing evictions

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Linn County, Iowa – Linn County residents who have fallen behind on rent or utility payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can now get financial assistance.

Linn County is delivering rent and utility aid to Linn County residents under the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), with the help of Waypoint and HACAP.

This program may provide eligible residents with up to 18 months of rent and/or utility assistance. Applicants must be able to provide documentation or self-certify experiencing a financial hardship in their household that has affected their ability to pay rent.

With $5.3 million in funding from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Linn County hopes to begin stabilizing the current housing crisis and provide security and peace of mind to its most vulnerable renters and their landlords. These funds are intended to keep Linn County residents in their housing or access new housing, while helping and supporting our community landlords.

“We are excited to offer this program knowing that we are able to meet entire needs of both renters and landlords,” said Linn County Community Outreach & Assistance Director Ashley Balius. “We have been working really hard to get this program off the ground and in a way that utilizes the flexibility offered by Treasury to get assistance out the door as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining program integrity.

Eligible Linn County residents can apply for assistance on the Linn County website at LinnCounty.org/ERA. Tenants who are overdue on rent should not wait for an eviction notice to seek help and may already be eligible for financial assistance based on the criteria below.

Who is eligible for the ERAP?

  • To be eligible for assistance from the ERAP, you must be a rental household and able to provide documentation or self-certify the following:
  • Household income with no more than 80% of the Annual Median Income (AMI)
  • Proof of financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March of 2020
  • Note: Those negatively impacted by the August 2020 derecho will meet this requirement

Proof the household is experiencing housing instability such as:

  • Threat of, pending, or current eviction
  • Threat of or a current utility shut off
  • Threat of homelessness

Rent payments will be made by HACAP directly to the landlords or property managers of successful applicants. These funds must be used to cover past rent payments back to March 13, 2020, first, before tenants can receive additional rental assistance to cover up to three months of future payments.

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