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Dubuque still taking applications for help for renters, homeowners struggling due to COVID-19

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 9:37 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The city of Dubuque is still accepting applications for financial assistance for qualified Dubuque renters and homeowners whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Short-Term Assistance Program, funded by the CARES Act, helps with rent, mortgage, and utilities for those whose income has been reduced by 25% or more due to the pandemic.

Alexis Steger, the city’s housing director, said, since the program started in March, over 800 people have filled a pre-application. Of those hundreds of people, around half were eligible to move on to the full application, but only 154 people returned applications.

Steger said 108 of those applications were denied for three main reasons: missing documentation, income loss not being related to COVID-19, and not meeting the 25% decrease in income. Initially, that decrease had to be 50%.

“Two months ago, we revisited the 50% and reduced that requirement to just 25% loss as we saw several dual-income households where only one was affected,” Steger said. “So we were seeing a 25% decrease was actually causing a significant hardship for a family.”

Steger said they decided to extend the program because the moratorium on evictions was extended to January 31 for non-pay due to COVID-related reasons.

“We do want to continue this program until we see that moratorium lifted,” Steger said. “We think there will be additional need as landlords start to file for non-paid evictions.”

Steger said they allocated $104,000 for the program and, as of now, they have paid out just over $63,000.

“Just under $13,000 went to mortgage, $39,000 went to rent, and just over $11,000 have gone to utilities,” Steger said.

Eligible applicants must have also applied for unemployment benefits and were current on rent or mortgage payments. Those interested in the program are encouraged to call (563) 564-7489, email go@cityofdubuque.org, or visit the city’s website.

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