Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

The Emergency Rental Program is made possible through partnerships with the City of Des Moines, Polk County, and IMPACT.



We are not accepting new ERAP applications at this time. We have accepted the number of applications that we believe will exhaust our current funding for ERAP. If you have submitted an application, that application will continue to be processed. 

We will reopen the program once the next round of funding is received.

Learn more about the CDC eviction protection here

IMPACT Community Action Partnership is administering rent and utility assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to residents of Polk County, including the City of Des Moines. This program may provide eligible residents of the City of Des Moines and Polk County with assistance for a period of up to twelve months. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a COVID-related impact to their household income that has affected their ability to pay rent. Households must also be past due on their rent to qualify for this assistance. 

Households can apply using the online application. If you are unable to apply online, please call 515-518-4770 for other options.

IMPORTANT: Please note that funding for Iowans in the remaining 98 counties are ineligible for assistance through IMPACT and will need to apply to the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance program being administered by the Iowa Finance Authority.  

More information on the program that may assist these Iowans is available here.


 Information for Renters: 



  • Past due payments:  Available for payment owed back to March 13, 2020

  • Future payments:  May apply for up to three months of future rent assistance at a time.


  • For electricity, gas, propane, water, sewer, and/or trash removal.

  • Available for utility payments owed back to March 13, 2020


Renters are eligible for up to 12 months of combined assistance and may apply for rent assistance only, utility assistance only, or both.


  • Renter households with incomes of no more than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)

  • Households must be past due on their rent or utilities to qualify.

  • One or more individuals in the household have qualified for unemployment benefits OR has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs either directly or indirectly due to the coronavirus outbreak


  • Renter households with incomes above 80%AMI

  • Renter households who have not been affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • Households who cannot provide required documentation

  • Homeowner households

 Application Process: 


 Information for Landlords: 

  • Landlords will be required to verify tenant information and agree to waive all late fees and penalties through a landlord certification.  If a landlord declines, payment may be issued directly to the applicant.

  • Landlords can assist their tenants with the application - for more information please email landlords@impactcap.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Q:  Am I guaranteed assistance once I apply?

A: No, an application is not a guarantee of assistance. If you don’t meet the requirements, including income and loss due to COVID, your application will be denied. Only fully complete applications that provide all required documentation in a clear, readable format will be reviewed for eligibility.  If we reach out for more information or documents please respond as quickly as possible. If we don’t receive your information in a timely manner your application will be denied. Landlords must also complete the required verification and certification and agree to the terms of assistance. Failure by a landlord to complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance within 10 days of initial contact will result in direct payment of the tenant’s application if it is complete and approved.

Q:  Do I have to have been impacted by COVID-19 to be eligible for this program?

A: Yes. You must demonstrate negative economic or financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.

Q:  Do renters who receive unemployment benefits qualify?

A: Yes, as long as all other requirements are met.

Q: Can the relief be used to pay for expenses other than rent?

A: You can also apply for assistance for unpaid utility bills.. Funds can only be used for rent and utility assistance.

Q:  Can the relief be used to pay rent owed?

A: Yes. Funds will be used to first pay unpaid rent. Funds cannot be applied to past due rent prior to April 1, 2020.

Q:  If I qualify, how long will I be eligible to receive relief?

A: The program allows for up to 12 months of financial assistance. All past-due rent incurred after March 13, 2020, will be paid first with any remaining months of eligibility available for future rent assistance in up to three-month increments. Applicants will be required to reapply every three months for future rental assistance. This funding will be available until funds are exhausted at which time applicants can apply to the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program through the Iowa Finance Authority.

Q:  Is there a deadline to submit my application?

A: No, there is no set deadline for application submissions. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until all funds are exhausted or IMPACT announces a pause in application submissions.

Q:  How will I receive payment, if approved?

A: Payments will be made directly to landlords to be applied to the tenant’s rent. Payments will be made via check. Exceptions may be made if landlords refuse to participate.

Q:  I‘m a homeowner. Can I apply for assistance to cover my mortgage payment?

A: No. The program requires that assistance be provided only to eligible households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling. Please contact your mortgage company for assistance.

Q:  I’m buying my home on contract. Can I apply for assistance to cover my contract payments?

A: No. The program requires that assistance be provided only to eligible households that are obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling. We recommend that you contact Iowa Legal Aid if you are at risk of losing your home.

Q:  Can I apply for assistance on a second home or a vacation home?

A: No, the assisted rental property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

Q: Do I have to be behind on my rent to qualify for this program?

A: Yes, you must be past due on your rent to qualify for the ERAP program.

Documentation FAQs

Q:  Is proof of identity required?

A: Yes, the primary tenant applicant is required to provide proof of identification. If the landlord is submitting an application on behalf of an eligible tenant, the landlord must also provide proof of identification. Types of identification that will be accepted:

  • Iowa drivers license
  • Iowa non-operator ID
  • Non-Iowa drivers license
  • Non-Iowa government-issued ID (may include I-94 or a government-issued ID from the applicant’s country of origin)
  • Passport
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Matricula Consular
Please note that additional documentation may also be required.

Q:  What is required for proof of household income?

A: Applicants are required to provide income documentation for every adult household member. This income will either need to be annual income for the calendar year 2020 or current income information for the time period 30 days prior to the date of application. If you provide W2s for 2020 or a completed tax return you will not need to be reverified to receive additional benefits through the duration of the program. Current or 30-day income will need to be reverified every 90 days to receive additional benefits. Acceptable annual income documentation:

  • Copy of 2020 tax return showing the adjusted gross income
  • Copy of W2
Acceptable 30-day income documentation:
  • Pay stubs
  • Unemployment compensation statement
  • Documentation of income from the operation of a business or profession, including direct payments for services or self-employment including for self-employed individuals
  • Other documentation of wages or salary
  • Documentation of child support, alimony, or foster care payments
  • Letter from employer indicating wages earned
If an applicant has been approved for Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) since January 1, 2020, the income supplied for that application can be used. Additionally, if an applicant is currently receiving state unemployment benefits, no additional documentation is needed for COVID-related impact.

Q:  What is required for proof of direct or indirect COVID-related impact?

A: Applicants are required to submit a signed statement describing how COVID has financially impacted their household. Forms are available, but not required. All statements must be legible and include the applicant’s name and address, a description of how COVID has financially impacted their household, an estimate of the financial impact, and a dated signature.

Q:  What is required to demonstrate applicant residency and the amount of rent owed?

A: Applicants are required to submit a copy of their lease, if applicable. If no lease is available, a landlord statement may be substituted and further documentation of payment of rent may be necessary.

Rental Assistance FAQs

Q:  What types of rental properties are eligible for assistance?

A: The following types of rental properties are available for assistance through the program if an eligible tenant household is renting the property from a landlord.

  • Apartment Rent
  • Single-family home rent
  • Manufactured home rent
  • Manufactured home lot rent

Q:  If I receive rental assistance through this program, can I still be evicted?

A: Before a landlord can receive a rental payment, they must certify that they will not evict the household for nonpayment for the months of assistance received through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The Certification Not to Evict will expire on the last day of the month in which the tenant receives rental assistance through the program. Applicants could be evicted if they violate other lease rules.

Q:  Can rental late fees be included?

A: Late fees will not be included in the assistance provided. The program requires the landlord to waive all late fees and other penalties incurred to date in order to participate in the program.

Q:  Can I apply for rental assistance if I live with roommates?

A: Yes, you may apply for rental assistance if you live with one or more roommates, but you can only be awarded funding to assist with that portion of the rent payment for which you are personally responsible.

Q:  Do I have to tell my landlord that I applied for assistance?

A: Tenants should communicate their inability to pay any or all their rent to their landlord as soon as they know that to be the case and to notify their landlord they have submitted an Emergency Rental Assistance program application. Please ask your landlord for a valid email as it is needed to process your application. Before your application for rental assistance can be approved, your landlord must complete the required certification and agree to the terms of assistance, so it is in your interest to notify your landlord of your application submission.

Q:  Can a landlord apply for rental assistance on behalf of their eligible tenant(s)?

A: Yes, landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant(s) so long as each tenant signs a tenant cosign form and provides all documentation required for the application. The landlord also must complete the landlord verification, certify that the funds will be applied to the tenant’s rental obligation, and agree to the Certification Not to Evict.

Q:  Can I receive assistance under the program to pay for my security deposit and first/last month's rent so I can move into a new apartment?

A: No, security deposits and first/last months’ rent that a landlord may require to be paid when entering into a new lease are not eligible for assistance under the program. The program is intended to prevent evictions under an existing lease and help Iowans experiencing a COVID-related income loss maintain their current rental housing. 

Q:  I am concerned that I may be evicted before I get assistance from this program, what should I do?

A: Iowa Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to eligible Iowans. You should contact them as soon as possible to discuss your specific situation. The federal CDC moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent has been extended through March 31, 2021. You can learn more here: 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak: What you need to know | Iowa Legal Aid

Utility FAQ's

Q: What types of utilities are eligible for assistance?

A: Eligible utilities include:

  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • Propane or Fuel Oil
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Trash Removal

Q: Can I receive utility assistance for future months?

A: Utility assistance is available for utility bills owed to utility providers at the time of application. Utility providers that require payment before services can be continued (such as propane vendors) are included in this determination and additional information on how this program will assist households with these utility types is forthcoming.

Q: I have received LIHEAP assistance within the past year, am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes.  However, this program can only assist with debt that has not been covered by another federal program.  Our applicant reviewers will verify that outstanding past due balances exist after the LIHEAP award has been applied to your energy account.

Q: I recently received a disconnect notice from my utility. Am I still eligible to apply?

A: Yes, you are eligible to apply. Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their utility providers that they have applied for assistance from this program. A pending application does not guarantee that assistance will be provided or halt utility disconnections.

Q: I applied for and received assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program, am I still eligible to apply?

A: Yes, you are eligible to apply even if you applied for and received assistance through the previous Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program.