CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – On April 28, 2020, Cedar Rapids City Council approved the recommendation of the Community Development Department to allocate $623,757 in additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to establish an eviction prevention program. On May 26, 2020, City Council approved the guidelines for this program, which is set to launch on Friday, May 29, 2020. The program provides low to moderate-income households impacted by COVID-19 with rent and utility payment assistance.
Cedar Rapids Housing Services staff is coordinating referrals for the program through local Iowa Legal Aid, Horizons, and other social service agencies, to ensure those at highest risk of eviction receive these resources, as well as additional support to maintain stable housing. The City will be monitoring a similar program recently announced by the Iowa Finance Authority to ensure funds are used efficiently to meet the greatest needs.
The City of Cedar Rapids has been a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for over 40 years, and a participating jurisdiction in the HOME Investment Partnership Program since 1994. Additional funding for the program year July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 totaling $623,757 was received as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager. “This program will provide direct support to citizens who have been greatly impacted with a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In April 2020, the City conducted a survey of all registered landlords to get feedback regarding what issues landlords were facing due to COVID-19. The survey results show that roughly 8 percent of the reported units were behind on rent, which 43 percent of landlords state is an increase over this time last year. Nearly half reported that they plan to offer a payment plan option to tenants in lieu of eviction.
Cedar Rapids residents facing eviction should contact Iowa Legal Aid’s COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline at 1-800-332-0419. More information is available on the City’s website at cedar-rapids.org or call the Community Development Housing Division at 319-286-5872.