MASON CITY, Iowa - Trying to find residence after being evicted from your home due to financial issues is a scary and daunting task. With the federal eviction moratorium on renters set to expire at the end of the month, the state of Iowa is making sure that no one goes homeless.
Recently, Governor Kim Reynolds announced $9 million in CARES Act funding will be set allocated to the Emergency Solutions Grant program to assist low-income Iowans who are at risk of eviction and those who have lost housing to regain housing stability. It covers not just rent and utility payments, but also application fees, moving costs and credit repair. All financial assistance is paid directly to landlords and service providers.
The Mason City Housing Authority is one of a few agencies in North Iowa aimed to help meet the housing needs of low-income families, within Mason City city limits. Executive director Cathy Burtness says her office has received some applicants to the program and other forms of assistance, though there is a bit of a backlog the agency is working through.
"We're trying to process new people on the program as quickly as we can. We have about 60 letters out to people that are next on the waiting list to determine their eligibility and get them in here for their paper work and get them started just as soon as we can.
"We have about 500 households that we help at any one time in the program. The households pay between 30-40% of their income towards rent and utilities. Our funding, which is federal funding from HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development], covers the difference."
To be eligible for eviction prevention, you must have an income of 50% of the area's median income, must have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and be at imminent risk of eviction. For those needing to regain housing quickly, Iowans must be experiencing homelessness.
For more information on the program, including how to apply through the coordinated entry help line in your area, visit iowahousingrecovery.com. To be screened for the grant program in Cerro Gordo County, call 641-380-0047. For housing assistance within Mason City city limits, call 641-421-2711.
The funding will also provide support for homeless shelter operations. The Northern Lights Alliance for the Homeless received $45,000 during the second allocation of the emergency grant awards, for shelter and outreach.