• State Data Overview

    Across Iowa, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

    Renter households that are extremely low income
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    Average income limit for 4-person extremely low income household
    Annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD's Fair Market Rent.
    Percent of extremely low income renter households with severe cost burden
  • State Level Partners

    NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer

    Thaddaeus Elliott

    Thaddaeus Elliott

    202-662-1530 x250 | [email protected]

    State Partners

    Iowa Housing Partnership

    431 28th Street, Suite 201

    Des Moines, Iowa 50312-4400

    P: 515-333-2537

    Dan Garrett, [email protected]

    Become an NLIHC State Partner

    NLIHC’s affiliation with our state coalition partners is central to our advocacy efforts. Although our partners' involvement varies, they are all housing and homeless advocacy organizations engaged at the state and federal level. Many are traditional coalitions with a range of members; others are local organizations that serve more informally as NLIHC's point of contact.

    Inquire about becoming a state partner by contacting [email protected]

    Become a Member
  • Housing Trust Fund
    HTF Implementation Information

    NLIHC continues working with leaders in each state and the District of Columbia who will mobilize advocates in support of HTF allocation plans that benefit ELI renters to the greatest extent possible. Please contact the point person coordinating with NLIHC in your state (below) to find out about the public participation process and how you can be involved. Email Courtney Cooperman with any questions.

    NHTF logo
    Current Year HTF Allocation
    NLIHC Point Person for HTF Advocacy

    Eric Burmeister

    Executive Director

    Polk County Housing Trust Fund


    [email protected]

    State Designated Entity:

    Terri Rosonke

    Housing Development Specialist

    Iowa Finance Authority


    [email protected]

    Official Directly Involved with HTF Implementation:
  • Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: Iowa (PDF) (JPG)

    Congressional District Housing Profile

    Congressional District Profile: Iowa (PDF)

    Research and Data

    National Housing Preservation Database

    The National Housing Preservation Database is an address-level inventory of federally assisted rental housing in the United States.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

    Out of Reach documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In Iowa and Nationwide

    The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes

    The Gap represents data on the affordable housing supply and housing cost burdens at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. In Iowa and Nationwide

  • Take Action
    Urge Congress to Enact Historic Housing Investments!
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Increased Investments in Affordable Homes
  • COVID-19 Resources
    COVID-19 Resources

    NLIHC has estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state (download Excel spreadsheet). 

    In response to COVID-19 and its economic fallout, many cities and states are creating or expanding rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by the pandemic, and NLIHC is tracking in-depth information on these programs.  

    You can use the interactive map and searchable database to find state and local emergency rental assistance programs near you. You can also see the latest news on rental assistance programs through the state-by-state news tracker. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all rental assistance programs as we continue to update frequently. If you are aware of a program not included in our database, please contact [email protected]

    COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

    Across the country, homeless service providers are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to follow public health guidelines and help ensure people’s safety, some shelters are being forced to reduce services, restrict admittance, or close entirely. The loss of these critical resources puts people experiencing homelessness at even higher risk of illness. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of shelter closings.

    Below is a list of shelters that have had to majorly alter services or completely close:

    The Sioux City Warming Shelter, a seasonal shelter generally open from November through the end of April, closed early due to concerns about COVID-19.

    KCCI Des Moines reports that with COVID-19 aid running out and eviction protections lifted, evictions in Iowa are heading back to pre-pandemic levels. According to Iowa Legal Aid, 5,317 evictions have occurred in Iowa this year.

    Updated May 23, 2022

    The Gazette reports more than 1,000 Linn County households have received emergency rental assistance (ERA) through the county program, which has distributed about two-thirds of its ERA allocation. As of December 7, Iowa’s statewide ERA program had distributed just about $25 million of the total $195 million in ERA1 funding allocated to the state – less than 13%. The Iowa Finance Authority is seeking to transfer $30 million to Polk County’s ERA program.

    Updated on December 13, 2021

    An op-ed in the Des Moines Register calls for improved data on evictions, arguing that the data currently available make it difficult to identify landlords involved in eviction cases. Eviction data can help advocates understand where housing instability is taking place, identify and correct systemic causes of evictions, and coordinate the proactive delivery of emergency rent relief.  Iowa Legal Aid found that 40% of the evictions filed in one week in Polk County violated either the state or federal moratorium in place at that time, or both.

    Updated on November 8, 2021

    The pandemic has led to a significant increase in calls to Iowa Legal Aid about eviction. Calls for eviction assistance have increased by 140% during the past year. Iowa Legal Aid has set up help desks in courthouses in the five biggest cities to help represent tenants during court hearings. 

    Updated on November 03, 2021

    With nearly 10,000 Iowans at risk of eviction in the next two months, Axios Des Moines reports Iowa could lose millions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) since the state has disbursed less than 10% of the funds.

    Updated on October 19, 2021

    Rental assistance programs in Iowa are bracing for a spike in eviction filings in August after the CDC eviction moratorium ended. As of the week of July 19, Iowa had only distributed $7 million of the nearly $200 million it received in federal emergency rental assistance. A separate Polk County program has distributed more than twice as much money to renters as the statewide program meant to serve all 99 counties.
    Updated on August 3, 2021

    Iowa Legal Aid attorneys are concerned that evictions will spike once the CDC eviction moratorium ends, particularly because Iowa ended enhanced unemployment benefits this month, depriving recipients of $300 per week in federal aid. The number of inquiries Iowa Legal Aid received about evictions nearly doubled last year after the federal $600 a week boost to unemployment benefits expired.
    Updated on July 15, 2021

    Iowa Legal Aid is seeing an influx in calls for assistance as the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire on March 31, 2021. There have been 11,000 eviction filings in Iowa since the start of the pandemic, and Iowa Legal Aid has seen a 140% increase in calls for eviction assistance compared to the last six years.

    Updated on March 31, 2021

    Clinton County supervisors unanimously approved authorizing their emergency management coordinator to request approval for FEMA’s non-congregate sheltering program. Other counties in the region have successfully received approval for reimbursement from FEMA for non-congregate sheltering costs.

    Burlington’s Transitions has housed about a dozen people since opening its doors as a warming center on February 4. The shelter is not yet able to house residents for extended periods, but it will eventually house up to 13 people. Transitions has been using ESG-CV funds to house would-be residents in hotel rooms and apartments.

    An annual street count in Cedar Rapids on January 27 found a record number of people sleeping outside. The destructive derecho, pandemic, and the lack of affordable housing likely have contributed to this increase.

    Updated on February 22, 2021

    ​​​​​​The Iowa Supreme Court on December 30 issued a Supervisory Order supplementing previous forcible-and-detainer-related supervisory orders related to COVID-19. The new order extends the duration of the eviction moratorium issued on October 2 through January 31, 2021.

    Iowa housing and homeless service providers are struggling to meet the ongoing demand for rental assistance and transitional housing. Some families avoided homelessness by continuing to live in buildings damaged by the August derecho, but winter weather is forcing them out of their units.

    Updated on January 15, 2021

    Nearly $9 million in Emergency Solutions Grants – Coronavirus (ESG-CV) funds will be available for low-income Iowans at imminent risk of eviction, residents who have already been evicted, and homeless shelter operations.

    Updated on December 19, 2020

    A program funded by $800,000 from Polk County’s CARES Act funding and staffed by Iowa Legal and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund provides low-barrier rental relief. The project, set up outside Polk County’s eviction court, connects tenants with legal assistance and immediate rental assistance. Since the program began September 1, it has helped prevent 61 evictions affecting 149 residents, including 77 children.

    Updated on September 29, 2020

    According to the Iowa Finance Authority, as of August 24, the Iowa COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program had assisted 2,428 renters across the state. The Iowa Finance Authority updates statistics about the emergency rent and mortgage assistance program weekly.

    A letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register urges Congress to take action to prevent homelessness by passing emergency rental assistance and a uniform eviction moratorium in the next coronavirus relief package.

    Updated on September 2, 2020.

    CNN Business shares the story of a renter in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, who has been waiting four weeks for the sheriff to evict her due to the long backlog of evictions. The county typically sees 15 to 18 evictions per month, but the sheriff’s office reports having 63 evictions in July, and 25 already in August.

    Updated on August 25, 2020.

    The Iowa Finance Authority reports more people could now be eligible to receive assistance through their COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program.

    Updated on August 19, 2020.

    The Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition highlights that the coronavirus pandemic has not created a housing crisis, but it has deepened existing inequalities and created more urgency around housing problems. Statewide and local programs are still providing aid to renters and homeowners who face a loss of income due to COVID-19.

    Updated on August 11, 2020.

    The Des Moines Register reports that as COVID-19 cases rise, so does the number of Iowans facing eviction - sometimes in violation of federal eviction protections. According to Iowa Legal Aid, 22 eviction judgments issued in Polk County small claims court from July 13-17 included filings that violated either the CARES Act or Iowa’s statewide eviction moratorium.

    Updated on August 4, 2020.

    The Des Moines Register discussed NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2020 report and highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate Iowa’s existing affordable housing crisis. 

    Updated on July 20, 2020.

    Governor Kim Reynolds announced the creation of the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program, which will be funded through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. Iowa will allocate $2.15 million toward relief for businesses and families, including housing assistance.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    People experiencing homelessness awaiting test results are being moved to hotel rooms paid for by Polk County and the city of Des Moines. Polk County reported that anywhere from 50 to 78 hotel rooms have been used per night since March 21. The total cost of the hotel program was approximately $130,000 as of last week, and FEMA is expected to reimburse the city and county.

    The Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded the Institute of Community Alliances a $150,000 grant to provide the first-ever statewide rental assistance program to people experiencing homelessness across the state of Iowa

    Homeless services organizations in Iowa are asking for public donations to assist them in setting up temporary homes for individuals currently residing in their shelters.

    Cedar Falls

    Cedar Falls will receive an additional $160,000 in Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding to help maintain affordable housing and prevent homelessness amid the pandemic.


    The Ames City Council approved on June 16 the use of $354,515 in Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds to provide rental and utility assistance. Rental assistance will be capped at three months and cannot exceed a total of $3,000.

    Updated on June 22, 2020.

    Ceder Rapids

    Cedar Rapids allocated $623,757 in Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds to establish an eviction prevention program that launched on May 29. “The Mayor and City Council recognized early on that housing assistance would be a critical need for many Cedar Rapids residents during this time,” said Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    Article Title Link

    Government must take bold steps to prevent homelessness 

    Des Moines Registrar

    Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums are rapidly expiring and the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits will end soon; at that time, millions of low-income renters will be at risk of losing their homes. The NLIHC estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the pandemic. This tracker links to news reports of the growing evictions crisis in various cities and states. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of eviction updates.

    CNN Business shares the story of a renter in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, who has been waiting four weeks for the sheriff to evict her due to the long backlog of evictions. The county typically sees 15 to 18 evictions per month, but the sheriff’s office reports having 63 evictions in July, and 25 already in August.

    Updated on August 28, 2020.

    The renting population for Iowa totals about 790,918, and the national average for eviction rates is around 2.3%, which translates to about 18,191 people, or 16.5 times greater than the number of people aided by the Iowa Finance Authority program to date. Even on a rough estimate, the program is able to support 6,500 people with the $22 million it has available. Were eviction rates to resemble the average, that would leave two-thirds of people without possible funds if the program isn't replenished.

    Updated: August 12

    The governor's eviction protections expired on May 27. The courts had been closed for eviction hearings for most of this time and most eviction hearings were continued until June 15. All eviction actions have resumed. If landlords violated the eviction moratorium when it was in place and tenants have proof, that can be used as a defense in future eviction hearings. Eviction cases are being held remotely. 

    Updated: August 1

    In the third week of July, 11.5% of adults in Iowa reported they had missed their previous housing payment or had little confidence they would make their next one on time, according to a weekly survey conducted by the Census. In the same survey, over fifty thousand renters reported they had not paid their previous rental payment

    Updated: July 29

    663 pending eviction cases began being processed when Iowa’s eviction moratorium was lifted on May 27. 443 hearings were scheduled for the week of June 15. 

    Updated: July 16

    COVID-19 Resources Other

    National Media

    What to Know About Housing and Rent During the COVID-19 Emergency? https://tinyurl.com/y74ox85d

    Arbor Realty Trust launched an innovative $2 million rental assistance program to help thousands of tenants and families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Arbor is contributing $1 million to the program and participating borrowers will match Arbor's advances to its tenants in need to help fill the rent gap during the hard-hit months of May and June. Together, the partnership program will provide $2 million in relief. https://tinyurl.com/y9r6x9vb