Financial help is now available through the Linn County Emergency Rent Assistance Program for eligible Linn County residents falling behind on rent payments. Linn County received $5.59 million in the reallocation of funds received from the Federal Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERA2). Linn County will distribute approximately $3 million of the funds through the rent assistance program and will use the remaining funds to support affordable housing initiatives in Linn County.
Linn County, with assistance from Waypoint, is administering rent assistance through the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to eligible residents of Linn County. Through the revised Linn County Emergency Rent Assistance Program, Linn County will prioritize residents who need this assistance to stabilize their housing and will be intentional with these funds to create long-term stability for households when possible. The goal with the second round of funding is to meet residents where they are and connect them to community resources that can address the root causes of housing instability while providing financial assistance to support them through it. This means more time will be taken to work with applicants and serve them holistically, resulting in longer turnaround times for funding.
Who is eligible for the ERAP?
To be eligible for assistance from the ERAP, you must be a rental household in Linn County and able to provide documentation or self-certify the following:
- Household income with no more than 50% of the Annual Median Income (AMI)
- Demonstrated financial hardship during the pandemic which began in March 2020
- Demonstrated housing instability:
- Threat of, pending, or current eviction
- Threat of or a current utility shut off
- Threat of homelessness
- Have not already used 18 months of ERA assistance. Below are the date ranges and programs for which a duplication of benefits will be conducted:
- State of Iowa ERA1 funding administered by IFA
- October 2020 through Aug. 15, 2021
- Jan. 3, 2022, through Aug. 30, 2023
- Linn County ERA2 funding administered by HACAP
- Sept. 16, 2021, through Dec. 28, 2021
This assistance is only available to renter households. Homeowners in need of housing or utility assistance may seek resources from the Iowa Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) administered through the Iowa Finance Authority. More information on that program can be found on their website at www.iowafinance.com/ihaf.
How to Access the Program
Households seeking assistance will start the process by contacting Waypoint by calling 319-366-7999 or by email. Waypoint will then work with households to determine the next steps to best serve Linn County residents.
- If the applicant does not require additional assistance, the applicant will be provided with the link to complete the application.
- If additional assistance is needed, the applicant will schedule a time to complete the application with a Waypoint staff member. Waypoint staff will work with applicants to complete the application and identify additional referrals that could support their overall stability.
- If it is determined that a household is able to meet their own financial needs, they will not immediately be referred for financial assistance and instead may be referred to wrap-around community supports.
Because the goal of this second round of ERA2 funding is to address the root cause of housing instability and connect residents with community resources to improve their stability rather than simply pay past due rent to prevent eviction, the time it takes to process an application will take longer than in the past. This extra time will help ensure that residents are connected to appropriate community resources and allow Linn County and Waypoint to complete duplication of benefits checks to prevent fraud and waste.
Rent payments will be made by Waypoint directly to the landlords or property managers of successful applicants. These funds must be used to cover past rent payments back to Sept. 1, 2022, first, before tenants can receive additional rental assistance to cover up to two months of future payments.
This project is being supported in whole or in part, by federal award number ERAE0149 awarded to Linn County, Iowa by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Visit LinnCountyIowa.gov/ERA for more information.