There are several programs available to provide financial assistance for buying, renting, repairing and/or improving your residence. From moderate incomes as high as $46,242* to lower incomes (*this is a 2007 figure from the Iowa Finance Authority), for persons with a disability, for seniors, first time home owners or renters. You deserve to ask about the various programs that could be of service to you.
There are four primary agencies in Iowa to go to for information and financial assistance:
IFA offers a variety of programs that address a whole range of housing needs, from homeless, to first time home buyers, to multifamily rental, to single-family homeownership. Contact the Iowa Finance Authority free of charge at 1.800.432.7230 or go to their website at www.iowafinanceauthority.gov.
The “First Home Program” can help a borrower get a below-market interest rate (which is an interest rate that is at or lower than the federal rate) on their mortgage and can be used to finance a new or existing single family home, including condominium units and more. Check to see if Section 8 (see below) vouchers, or coupons, can be used with the First Home Program.
The”FirstHome Plus” program allows home buyers who have a hard time coming up with cash for a down payment, closing costs, or even for repairs.
The “Home and Community based Service” (HCBS) is a rent subsidy program that helps people who receive services under the federal Medicaid waiver and who are at risk of nursing home placement, with assistance in monthly rent payments to help them live independently and successfully in the community, until they become eligible for other local, state or federal rent assistance. This is most helpful to seniors and persons with disabilities.
Check with Iowa Finance Authority on rental assistance and more. You may also contact Carla Pope who has over twenty years of progressive experience providing technical assistance, program development and administration in the areas of affordable housing, long term care services, regulatory and legislative analysis, adult education, and technical writing. You may go to her website at http://iowafinanceauthority.gov/Home/ContactEmail/93921 or call her at 515.725.4921.
ICAA offers a wide range of assistance programs, which includes help with housing and a variety of programs and services for low-income Iowans, including loan assistance, home repair, home rehabilitation services, transitional housing and more.
In addition to finding out about financial assistance programs for buying or renting or repairing a home, there is information on low income home energy assistance, weatherization assistance programs (which are programs that help you protect your home from weather damage) and much more.
Refer to the Section on Iowa Community Action Association agencies and check the Directory for a listing of all 19 offices located in Iowa.
The Iowa Rural Development programs offer a variety of assistance programs to rural Iowans, including programs to help finance new or improved housing to low or very-low income families. For information about these programs contact the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county. To find the local office serving your particular county, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/IA_offices.html and find the address and contact information for the office for your county.
Can be contacted by phone in the Des Moines at 515.284.4512 or by Fax at 515.284.4742, by accessing the website at www.hud.gov/ and clicking on “Iowa,” or by writing the office at 201 Walnut, #239, Des Moines, IA 50309. Contact the Iowa HUD office instead of the National Office HUD.
There are many kinds of programs and financial assistance through HUD. It includes programs for buying, owning, selling, renting, homeless, home improvements public housing programs, housing for seniors, for persons with disabilities, and more.
For example, having clicked on “Iowa,” click on “Renting” and you can further click on “privately owner subsidized housing” and learn how HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants, or click on “Public Housing” and learn about affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities and how to apply; or click on “House Choice Voucher Program Section 8” and find your own place and how to use the Section 8 vouchers toward the payment of your rent.
Once you have accessed the website, it will take you from one section of information to another. If you click on “Public Housing,” you will find answers to common questions such as: who is eligible? How do you apply? How does the application process work? Will I have to sign a lease? How is the rent determined?How long can I stay in Public Housing?
If you click on “Renting,” you will find questions and answers, including: How can I apply for Section 8? Where can I find someone who will let me use my voucher to rent a place to live? Are there other agencies that offer rental assistance? If I am a senior citizen on a fixed income, how can HUD help me keep my home, find low-cost housing, or assisted living? If I have a physical disability, what kind of housing help does HUD offer?
You can click on “Homeownership: Iowa” and find information on Housing counseling agencies for free or low-cost counseling services for buying, renting, defaults, foreclosures (which is when a person's items are taken because they have not paid their mortgage payments), credit issues and reverse mortgages (which is when older home owners, usually ages 62 and older, do not have to pay a monthly mortgage); on information regarding predatory lending and how to avoid becoming a victim of unfair lending practices; on Assistance programs for helping you buy and maintain your home; on Home repairs and money for home improvements and repairs, on Legal Assistance; Help with utility bills.
If you want to see where subsidized apartments are located in your area, you can click on “Subsidized Apartment Search” and you will be provided with a list of apartments, the Contact information, the apartment complex name, address, town and phone number, if the units are for families, for disabled or for elderly.
The information is extensive and we recommend you go to the website to access information to questions for which you need the answer.
HUD also helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. To apply, contact or visit the management office of each apartment building that interests you. Lists of apartments and housing complexes that offer reduced rates, along with advice for looking around, can be found here: http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm?state=ia&topic=renting
This is another housing option which may be available to you. Check with the Iowa Affiliates of Habitat for Humanity. Families in need are able to find a new or rehabilitated house, as long as they can provide a certain number of hours working on the house, in addition to other requirements. You may find out more about the program here: http://goo.gl/NWNGB