DES MOINES – Governor Kim Reynolds today announced the availability of an eligibility precheck for the new Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program, which will begin accepting full applications in March. The program will provide eligible COVID-19 impacted Iowans with rent and utility assistance for a total of up to 12 months. The State of Iowa was awarded $195 million for the program through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was passed by Congress in late 2020. “At no fault of their own, many Iowans are struggling to pay their rent and utility bills as a result of lost income from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Reynolds Last year, we were able to use $30 million in coronavirus relief funds to keep 14,000 Iowans in their homes. The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program will help us do even more, providing substantial assistance to struggling Iowans who are facing eviction, said Gov. Reynolds. Renters in need of assistance are encouraged to take the new eligibility precheck to determine if they meet the initial eligibility criteria, and if eligible, to sign-up to receive notification when the full application is available in March. The Iowa Finance Authority will administer the program, which will initially be available for renters statewide, with the exception of Polk County. Polk County and the City of Des Moines received direct allocations totaling approximately $14 million and will be administering the program locally. More information on the program that will serve Polk County, including City of Des Moines, residents is available at impactcap.org. General eligibility requirements require that applicants: Be current renters earning no more than 80% of their county’s area median income; have experienced a documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice. Assistance to be available through the program includes: Rent assistance for past due and future payments. Utility Payments owed at time of application (no future payments) Eligible past due rent and utility payments may cover costs incurred no earlier than March 13, 2020. Future rent payments may be awarded for up to three months at a time and will require a subsequent application. Renters may receive a total of up to 12 months of combined rent and utility assistance through the program. Funds for renters approved for assistance will be paid directly to landlords and utility service providers. The program is expected to be available through at least Sept. 30, 2021 or until funds are exhausted. Full program details and the eligibility precheck are available at iowahousingrecovery.com. Polk County and City of Des Moines residents should visit impactcap.org for more information.