Partnership Helping Hundreds Avoid Eviction in Polk County

October 9, 2020

The pandemic has put many Iowans face to face with eviction. But a new partnership has saved hundreds of people facing homelessness in Polk County.

“We are concerned about people moving into homelessness. Particularly with the effects of COVID-19 on our economy,” said Angie Arthur, the executive director of the Polk County Continuum of Care.

Polk County began hearing eviction cases on July 13, but a partnership between Iowa Legal Aid, Polk County Housing Trust Fund, the Polk County Continuum of Care and Polk County has provided $800,000 from the CARES Act to fight evictions. “Because it is funding for people affected by COVID-19, we could go back to April to be able to support individuals, but it varies. For some folks it might be one month and for some it might be multiple months.” Arthur said.

On days when the Polk County Justice Center is hearing eviction cases, Iowa Legal Aid arrives early and greets those who may be expecting the worst outcome. “If funding is the issue due to COVID-19, then we can meet with them and support them and see if we can reach resolution with them and their landlords,” said Arthur.

Since Sept. 1 when the Polk County Board of Supervisors approved the use of funds, the program has helped 150 households that contained 270 individuals. In total, 144 of those individuals were children, and there’s plenty more work to be done.

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