(The Center Square) – As of July 6, the Iowa Finance Authority had a backlog of approximately 4,000 completed applications to process from tenants requesting federal rent assistance.
the “Final planned extension” of the federal moratorium on rental evictions ends July 31.
Iowa Finance Authority director of communications Ashley Jared told The Center Square that the agency is working to review the backlog by that date.
The Des Moines register reportedJuly 8 that the Iowa Finance Authority will not request additional funding available under the Second installment of American Rescue Plan emergency rental assistance.
“The register mentioned a comment made by the director [Debi] Durham at our board meeting where she said she does not expect us to apply for the second round at this time as we are at the start of the process of disbursing the first 195 million allocation. of dollars, ”Jared told The Center Square. “No final decision has been made as to whether we will apply for the second round of funding.”
The agency has so far spent $ 4.2 million (2.2%) on $ 195 million in federal funds the state has received by the consolidated finance law of 2021 and helped 1,525 households. It has received 7,414 full applications since it started accepting applications March 29 for the first round of funding for the program.
“The Iowa Rent Assistance and Utilities Program has received a large number of requests and our team is working diligently to review them to help Iowa tenants in need as quickly as possible.” , Jared said. “Application review times do not currently meet external or internal expectations. “
She said the agency was working with its software platform vendor, Unqork, Inc., and partner Witt O’Brien’s to process requests faster.
“While the entity we selected to process the claims has worked diligently, the Iowa Community Action Association, federal program management requirements make the review of claims more complex and the volume of claims received has exceeded its capacity, ”Jared said.
Case managers contact tenants or request owners to request any required elements of the request that are missing. The state contracted Witt O’Brien to bring in additional case managers to review the claims.
“The software platform adjustments associated with the additional application reviewers will allow us to significantly reduce application review times in the coming weeks,” said Jared.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky declared the moratorium on September 4, 2020, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC has extended the moratorium four times. Emergency rent aid 1 authorized under the 2021 consolidated finance law was promulgated on December 27, 2020.
Renters and households applying to the program must have a family income that does not exceed 80% of the region’s median income, among other requirements.
Unqork did not respond to The Center Square’s request for comment.