Apr 18, 2022 - News

Iowa evictions predicted to break records in 2022

Iowa eviction filings
Data: Iowa Legal Aid; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Iowa Legal Aid expects evictions to near record levels this year as tenants find themselves without safety nets, due to the loss of emergency COVID-19 aid.

Driving the news: The state is on track to reach 17,600 evictions in 2022, Nick Smithberg, president of the legal nonprofit that helps low-income Iowans, told Axios.

State of play: Back in 2019, Iowa evictions reached a record of more than 18,000. But numbers dampened in 2020 and 2021 as a federal eviction moratorium and pandemic aid, like rental assistance, helped keep people in their homes. That's ending now, however.

  • "The numbers are correcting, if you will," Smithberg said of this year's estimates.

What's happening: Iowa Legal Aid recently received a $650,000 grant from Wells Fargo, which they plan on using to bolster their eviction prevention program that started during the pandemic.

  • The program aims to help landlords and tenants come to an agreement before an eviction notice is posted.
  • It also funds six "help desks" at county courthouses around the state, including in Polk County. People who have an eviction hearing can get assistance on-site from a lawyer there.

What they're saying: It's important to look at evictions as a "symptom rather than a disease," Smithberg said.

  • People who don't pay their rent are typically dealing with larger issues, like health complications, disabilities, domestic violence or paying child support.
  • "It's a holistic problem," Smithberg said.

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