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Steckman: Little help from Reynolds to help Iowans keep their homes

Steckman: Little help from Reynolds to help Iowans keep their homes

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The clock is ticking for 30,000 Iowans.

Just as school is about to begin, thousands of Iowa families who lost their job or income during the pandemic are now facing eviction.

While the pandemic itself is not the fault of Governor Reynolds, her failure has been to respond to the needs of these hard-working Iowa families who are at risk of losing their homes.

Rep. Sharon Steckman

Steckman

On July 31, the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will be lifted. That date was set after Congress sent $195 million to Iowa in January. That money was intended for rental and utility assistance to help families that were struggling during the pandemic to stay in their homes.

Unfortunately for those families, the Reynolds Administration has botched the response. After seven months, just 3% of the money has actually made its way to Iowans to keep them in their homes. It’s impacting tenants and landlords alike.

Neighboring states like Minnesota and Nebraska have sent out almost three times the dollar amount Iowa has. Here in Iowa, Polk County opted out of the state-run program and chose to run its own rental assistance program. They’ve been successful and sent out more in their own county than Reynolds has to the rest of the state combined.

When the failures of the rental assistance program were first brought to light in early July, the Reynolds Administration promised swift action to cut red tape and fix problems so Iowans who need assistance wouldn’t face eviction. That hasn’t happened.

I’ve been hearing from tenants and landlords in my area who are still waiting on approval of their application. They have had to submit the same information over and over again. They have no idea when assistance will come through so they can keep a roof over their heads.

We all know Iowa has a shortage of affordable housing, especially in rural areas.

The clock is still ticking. It’s time for Reynolds to get to work.

Sharon Steckman is the Iowa state representative for the 53rd District, which includes Mason City. You can reach her at Sharon.Steckman@legis.iowa.gov.

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