CORONAVIRUS

Iowa awaiting federal guidance before issuing $195 million in eviction support

Change in presidential administrations delays implementation

Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham says she hopes guidance on rolling out about $195 million in fundi
Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham says she hopes guidance on rolling out about $195 million in funding to prevent evictions arrives by the third week of February. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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04:08PM | Wed, February 24, 2021

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Iowa is preparing to roll out about $195 million in funding to prevent evictions, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham told The Gazette.

But the IEDA does not have the necessary information from the U.S. Department of Treasury to begin the program.

“We already have the money in our checking account,” Durham said. “But the reason it’s not out on the street or the program is not rolled out is because we have no guidance.”

Durham said the IEDA received information from the U.S. Department of Treasury under the Trump administration, but the change in presidential administrations with “very different philosophies” likely will result in a change in guidance.

“With any change in administration, there’s going to be an impact,” Durham said.

She hopes the guidance arrives by the third week in February.

“The worst thing I can do as a director is to open up a program and but not fully understand the rules or the ramifications,” Durham said.

“We want to roll it out as soon as possible because we know our landlords and our tenants need it. But responsibly, we can’t do that.”

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Meanwhile, the IEDA is distributing $40 million in funding for local restaurants and bars. Applications will open noon Monday for restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, distilleries and wineries that experienced at least a 15 percent loss in gross sales between April 1 and Sept. 30.

Any business with at least 20 or more locations is not eligible for the funding.

Grants will vary “using a tiered system based on the percent of gross sales loss,” according to IEDA’s website. The largest possible grant will be $25,000.

The program is a result of funding from the CARES Act, which was signed in March.

Durham said the program emerged as a solution when Iowa received an extension on how quickly it had to spend CARES Act funding.

“The governor regrouped and said this is a segment of our population that still needs assistance,” Durham said.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

CORONAVIRUS ARTICLES

04:08PM | Wed, February 24, 2021

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