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Immediate Financial Assistance

Rental Assistance

Food Pantries

Utility Bill Help

Free Stuff

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Public and Government Assistance

Disability Benefits

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Senior Help

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Free Clothes

Charity Assistance

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Assistance programs in Iowa.

Find how to get financial help and grant money in all cities and counties in Iowa. Government assistance programs and non-profits provide money to help pay electric bills, rent, or a mortgage or they pass out free stuff, including food, clothes, or furniture and more. Find a list of local community financial assistance programs in IA that may be near you.

Low-income families, seniors and people with no money or that have a disability get priority. Financial assistance is combined with long term support including free medical or dental care, job placement, debt relief, and other social services. Even find a free car or transportation help for employment need as well as other grant programs below.

Free grant money to help with bills or free stuff in IA for low-income families

Rent relief in Iowa is provided at the state as well as local levels. Townships, charities and government agencies provide free grant money, emergency funds to help with rental arrears, and other housing solutions. A wide range of services are provided. Locate rental assistance in Iowa.

  • Financial Aid to Stop Evictions or Pay Security Deposits are offered. In addition to above, using a combination of federal and state of Iowa funds, agencies provide eviction prevention help. There is also information on low income housing, and landlord or tenant mediation. The intent is to reduce homelessness, and there may also be grants to pay the security deposit on a new home. Learn more on homeless prevention in Iowa.
  • Housing and Rental Assistance Vouchers in Iowa help pay for an apartment. Low income families can receive help from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Public Housing Authorities from the section 8 program. Income based homes, apartments and houses are for the low-income. Read more on Section 8 HUD in Iowa.

Social Services and Cash Assistance in Iowa from The Department of Human Services will provide government cash assistance or grant money to low income families. Programs can offer grants to pay light bills, clothes, rent, medical care, and transportation. The government has benefits that also help with food as well as gas cards to get to a job. More info on Iowa public assistance.




  • Child Care Assistance (CCA) is one of the main government benefits. This can help pay for child care expenses for lower income families or single moms if the parent or guardian is working, training for a job, or pursuing education. Free subsidized daycare in Iowa is meant to encourage employment. Dial 866-448-4605 for DHS customer service for the benefit, or click here for details on free child care in Iowa.
  • SNAP Food Assistance helps low income families buy groceries.  This program promotes the general welfare of lower income families by raising their levels of nutrition. EBT cards help pay for canned groceries, fresh produce, and more to help them avoid malnutrition and hunger. Call 1-877-347-5678, or read more on food stamp EBT card assistance..

Employment Programs and Emergency Government Grants from  Community Action Agencies in IA help low income people. The non-profits will help clients get a job, a new skill, self-sufficiency, or they provide emergency financial help for basic needs. The non-profits offer a number of services to low income families, the unemployed, and low income. When funding is available, community action agencies families who are behind on their rent, facing eviction or a utility shut off. Read more community action agencies in Iowa.

Iowa Free Food Assistance programs feed the low-income and homeless. Hundreds of distribution centers operate across the state. The pantries provide free food, groceries and perishable items to people who need help. The elderly, seniors and low-income will get free food from charities, churches or non-profit organizations. Click here free food pantries in Iowa.

Help for Seniors is statewide. The main organization for older Iowa residents to call for assistance is the Area Agency on Aging in your area. This government affiliated agency offers senior citizens and individuals over 55 a number of financial assistance programs, including free grant money for an emergency. Learn about services offered by the Iowa Agency on Aging.

Heating and Energy Bill assistance is offered. Iowa low-income families and individuals have several different government as well as charitable assistance programs available to them. The programs can help them pay their energy or electric bills. Some are offered by the government, but most are administered directly by the utility companies. Read more Iowa energy bill help.





Iowa Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government assistance program that will support eligible households in the payment of a part of their heating bills, electricity and sometimes air conditioning. The program has an energy crisis intervention component that is designed to provide immediate assistance to address potentially utility disconnections. It is also combined with free home improvements from weatherization (below). More on Iowa LIHEAP.

  • Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was established to help reduce the cooling and heating bills for low income persons, particularly the disabled, elderly, single mothers and children. It can pay for minor home repairs in IA too.

Financial help in IowaFree transportation programs including vehicles are an option. Low-income families, veterans and job seekers can apply for a free car or vehicle. Charities often have donated autos that they give away as people work towards self-sufficiency. Find a free car donation near you.

Rural Iowa and Grant Money for Farmers are an option in IA. There are various government and non-profit resources that help the rural community. Everything from low cost loans for a business or paying bills, employment programs, retraining, grants, free trucks for work and more may be available. Read about assistance for rural America.

Emergency Financial Aid, Case Management, and Referrals is from the Christian Salvation Army. Free stuff, including seasonal, personal stuff, and immediate financial help is from the nearest location in Iowa. The non-profit operates from dozens of locations across the state. Programs help with energy bills, housing, food, gasoline vouchers and more. Click here Salvation Iowa assistance programs and social services.

  • Other programs from faith based groups can provided emergency cash in a crisis. The funds can pay for basic needs when all other options have been used. More on cash assistance.

Free Legal Advice is for the elderly and working poor. Low income families can receive assistance from pro-bono attorneys, free lawyers and paralegals. Lawyers help individuals, in person and over the phone, across Iowa on a wide range of civil legal matters. More on Iowa free legal aid programs.

Help for Disabled adults or kids is available locally. Iowa administers programs for those with a disability as well as their family members. Resources range from free food, transportation, benefits and medical care to financial aid for housing or paying electric bills. Many of the resources are run in partnership with non-profits and federal government SSDI programs. More on Iowa disability programs.




Mortgage Assistance Programs are offered from the government and non-profits. The state of Iowa created several programs that provide mortgage help. Counseling as well as financial support is for people who are struggling with their home loans or who may be facing a foreclosure. Read more on Iowa mortgage help.

Help in local Iowa cities and counties

Select a county or city below for more local grant money, free items, or financial help. As each county in Iowa has local charities, social services and churches that help low income families.

Adair County (Greenfield)

Adams County (Corning)

Benton County (Vinton)

Black Hawk County (Waterloo)

Cass County (Atlantic)

Cerro Gordo County (Mason City)

Crawford County (Denison)


Emmet County (Estherville)

Fremont County (Sidney)

Hamilton County (Webster City)

Hardin County (Eldora)

Harrison County (Logan)

Iowa County (Marengo)

Jasper County (Newton)

Johnson County (Iowa City)

Jones County (Anamosa)

Linn County (Cedar Rapids)

Fremont County, Harrison County, Mills County, Montgomery County, Monona County, Shelby County. More.

Madison County (Winterset)

Marshall County (Marshalltown)

Mills County (Glenwood)

Monona County (Onawa)

Montgomery County (Red Oak)

Muscatine County

Page County (Clarinda)

Polk County (Des Moines)

Pottawattamie County (Council Bluffs)

Poweshiek County (Montezuma)

Ringgold County (Mount Ayr)

Scott County (Davenport)

Shelby County (Harlan)

Sioux County (Orange City)

Story County (Nevada)

Tama County (Toledo)

Taylor County (Bedford)

Union County (Creston)

Washington County

Woodbury County (Sioux City)

Additional resources in IA for struggling families

There are other programs that can help families or individuals with their bills as well as long term needs. The United Way referral service in local IA areas, community churches and other programs are options.

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By Jon McNamara












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