Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
IMPACT began making phone appointments for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program starting Monday, February 22nd.
At this time, we have no available appointments. New appointments will be opened on March 1st, 2021. Priority will be given to households that are below 50% of Area Median Income and include someone who has been unemployed continually for the last 90 days.
Applicants must live in Polk County and be past due on their rent
IMPACT Community Action Partnership is administering rent 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.
We are currently scheduling appointments for individuals and families who have been unemployed continually for the last 90 days. Please call 515-518-4770 to make an appointment.
The ERAP program may be expanded to include utility assistance at a later date.
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:
Information for Landlords:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Am I guaranteed assistance once I apply?
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: No. Funds can only be used for rent assistance. The ERAP program may be expanded to include utility assistance at a later date.
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.
Q: Is proof of identity required?
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)
Social Security card
Q: What is required for proof of household income?
Copy of 2020 tax return showing the adjusted gross income
Copy of W2
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
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?
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