Mar 12, 2024 - News

Polk County's emergency rent is almost gone

Illustration of a man standing in the dark looking up towards a tiny window in the shape of a house casting light.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal emergency rent assistance awarded to Polk County is about to run out.

Why it matters: Overwhelming need has nearly exhausted the grant months faster than projected.

  • More evictions and disruptions to families are likely in coming months as a result, Anne Bacon, director of IMPACT — the nonprofit group hired to distribute Polk's allocations — tells Axios.

State of play: Almost 15,000 households have received rent assistance from Polk County's distributions.

  • IMPACT recently began informing people that the money will be exhausted in the coming weeks.

Catch up fast: The Emergency Rental Assistance Program gave more than $46 billion to eligible renters during the pandemic through bills approved under both President Trump and Biden.

What we're watching: Federal rules allowed Polk County to reserve about $10.5 million to expand access to affordable housing rather than using it for rent assistance.

  • A county task force will make recommendations to supervisors in coming months about how to use the money before a December 2025 deadline.
  • Projects could include acquiring and rehabbing buildings.
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