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Assistance for Homeowners, Renters, Small Businesses, Students

As we reach the end of 2020, it’s been nine months since we first learned COVID-19 had reached Iowa. We continue to see a record number of cases and deaths throughout the state. It’s important that we stay focused on the state’s efforts to recover from COVID-19 and ease the uncertainty Iowans face today. There are numerous programs available to Iowans who are still struggling to make ends meet, including those below.

Home Energy & Utility Assistance

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) began accepting applications for qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters. The LIHEAP program pays a portion of primary heating costs for the winter heating season. Assistance is based on household income, size, fuel type, and housing. Applications are accepted until April 30, 2021 by local community action agencies. To find your local community action agency, call 2-1-1 or visit: https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa/where-apply.

Small Business Help

Many Iowa small businesses have experienced losses due to COVID-19. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has a website set up for small business owners. The website is updated with both state and federal resources. Business owners are encouraged to visit iowabusinessrecovery.com for COVID-19 related programs and information.

Relief Available to Student Loan Borrowers

Thousands of Iowa borrowers remain unsure their loans are eligible for payment suspension and interest waiver during the pandemic. Social enterprise ‘Summer’ is available to assist Iowa’s student loan borrowers with free COVID-19 relief. The student loan advisory service provides borrowers with guidance to save and simplify repayments. Their technology and student loan experts assist borrowers with finding, comparing, and enrolling in loan assistance and forgiveness programs. This program will help Iowans navigate complex repayment processes, ensure borrowers won’t miss important payments, and are properly enrolled in assistance programs. Iowa borrowers may access Summer’s digital platform free of charge to receive customized loan savings recommendations at meetsummer.org/IA/.

Evictions Paused for Many Renters until 2021

Following an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, landlords will not be able to evict specific covered persons from residential property through December 31, 2020. If you have any questions or problems related to evictions, contact Iowa Legal Aid for free legal advice at: iowalegalaid.org.

Job Seeker Resources

IowaWORKS & Iowa Workforce Development has launched a mobile app that allows Iowans to search for jobs on the go. The new app will help job seekers update their resumes, search for jobs, and communicate with IowaWORKS staff. Iowans can download the app at no cost to them through Google Play or the Apple App Store. Learn more about the app at: iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/new-iowaworks-mobile-app-helps-job-seek.

Food Assistance Options 

As the economy continues to struggle, we know that COVID-19 is a financial strain for many families. Find a food dispensary at: https://www.foodbankiowa.org/gethelp. If you are able to donate, please visit: foodbankiowa.org.

Other Iowa COVID-19 Resources

CURRENT COVID-19 INFORMATION: For the latest updates from the Iowa Governor’s office on COVID-19: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov

GET TESTED FOR COVID-19: Iowa is now offering drive through testing for those who qualify after taking an online assessment at www.testiowa.com, https://www.doineedacovid19test.com/, https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing, or contact their primary doctor.

COVID-19 PUBLIC HOTLINE: For Iowans with questions about COVID-19, a public hotline is open 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431 (Español disponible)

CRISIS TEXT LINE: To access the Crisis Text Line, text “TALK” to 741741

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: Call 1-800-273-8255

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: Call 1-800-799-7233 or text “LOVEIS” to 22522

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: http://volunteeriowa.galaxydigital.com

Author: Todd Prichard