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Cedar Rapids announces eviction protection program


Cedar Rapids City Hall — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The city of Cedar Rapids launched an eviction protection program on Friday that will assist low- to moderate-income households with rent and utility payments. The city allocated $623,757 to establish the program.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in March that she was suspending most evictions as part of an additional State Public Health Emergency Declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections expired on Wednesday, May 27, and was not extended by the governor.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office said on May 18 it was ready to resume its work assisting landlords and banks with evictions and foreclosures if the proclamation wasn’t extended. The office said it will “ensure social distancing” by holding its foreclosure sales outdoors.

Cedar Rapids Housing Services staff are working with Iowa Legal Aid, Horizons and other social service organizations to “ensure those at highest risk of eviction” receive assistance from the program and additional support for stable housing.

“What we are doing … is setting up an assistance payment activity for eviction prevention, which will allow us to tailor a program to meet the emerging needs that we’re seeing in the community for rent assistance [and] for utilities to make sure that we have those funds available,” the city’s community development director Jennifer Pratt said at a Cedar Rapids City Council meeting on May 26.

During the meeting, the council approved the guidelines for the program. Councilmember Ashley Vanorny said evictions are “one of our biggest concerns in the community.”

“This is going to help out a lot of people in Cedar Rapids,” Vanorny said about the program.

Iowa Legal Aid litigation director Alex Kornya told Iowa Public Radio that as of last week there are about 633 eviction cases in the state scheduled for hearings. Kornya said he expects a large spike in new eviction cases.

Cedar Rapids residents facing eviction should call Iowa Legal Aid’s COVID-19 hotline at 800-332-0419 for a referral. To learn more about the program, the city’s Community Development Housing Division can be reached at 319-286-5872.


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