Temporary assistance is available in Polk County as part of the homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program. It is administered locally by organizations such as community action, the Department of Social Services, and the Continuum of Care. The services combines eviction or foreclosure help with housing placement.
The money for the program comes from HUD, but the Des Moines Iowa agencies can provide everything from funds for rent or utility arrears to free motel vouchers, shelters, foreclosure counseling, and more. The goal is to stop evictions and rehouse the homeless by assisting with deposits as well, so all government grants are used for these goals.
The goal is to always stop homelessness in in tracks. However when this is not possible, the agencies may be able to rehouse a family into a more affordable home or apartment. Or for those clients facing imminent eviction, then housing relocation may be arranged.
Applications for homeless prevention and rehousing – Any type of assistance is at the discretion of the administering agency. Not every application will be approved. In fact, most are denied either due to limited funding or the fact the applicant does not have an income that they can prove they are stabilized. Priority is given to people with a pay or quit notice from their landlord, the elderly, single parents with children, and the disabled in Polk County.
Case managers from the agencies, including Polk County community action, will assess the application. They will verify the need for help. Documentation is needed, including a copy of an eviction or foreclosure notice, proof of income from a job or public aid, identification, and more. The family needs to prove they can become stable after receive a grant or financial aid from the homeless prevention program.
Des Moines households also must be low income, but not destitute. They need to have total income that is below 100% of the Polk County Iowa average. They also need to have very little (or no) money is assets, including saving accounts and investments. If they have more than $5000, then an application will be denied.
Any grants are given as a last resort. The household (whether they rent or own) must have no other resources available to them. This eviction and foreclosure prevention program is the last option that can be used to eliminate the risk of homelessness in the community.
Homeless assistance provided in Polk County – Note there is often a waiting list in place. There will need to be a meeting that takes place between the agency as well as the case manager. Any funds or vouchers will be paid out over time. Rarely, if ever, is emergency help provided, especially when it comes to security deposits.
Financial aid is temporary in nature. There may be HUD grants to pay for back rent or utilities, including water or heating bills. Or when needed, vouchers can be used to pay for a motel when all of the local shelters are filled to capacity.
Stabilization services are also covered, and this is when an applicant will have a credit counseling and/or budgeting workshop paid for. The grants issued are short term solutions only. No long term loans or grants are offered to help a tenant.
The goal of the homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program is to help the family stabilize their situation, even those that may be leaving a shelter in the community. This involves giving them the tools and resources they need to help themselves. The service will also link the client with other community resources that can do this as well. Or if their housing needs are better met by applications to mainstream benefits (such as section 8 HUD vouchers) this may be arranged too.
To apply or learn more, dial the referral line at 515-246-6555. Note that packets with applications are available at these offices, and case managers can also help answer questions on homeless prevention in Polk County.
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