Gov. Kim Reynolds revealed how funds from the federal CARES Act would be allocated to support Iowans through the pandemic during her news conference Friday morning.
“Iowa received 1.25 billion funding that can be used to cover expenses that were necessarily incurred due to COVID-19 that were not accounted for in our budget as of March 27, when the CARES Act was signed into law,” she said.
In a breakdown of the funds, Reynolds noted she would be allocated $215 million for businesses and families, which include support programs for small business relief, housing assistance and Feeding Iowa. $100 million will be allocated to support farmers and another $50 million will go toward supporting health care providers. The governor has also allocated $125 million to relief for Iowa communities, $85 million to expand access to address broadband access and expansion, and $125 million to the state’s continued response to COVID-19.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director, Debi Durham, explained immediately following the conference, her team would be launching the COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program.
Through the program, residents can receive rental assistance for up to four months with a maximum of $3,200, Durham explained. Mortgage payment assistance for up to four months and a maximum of $3,000 also will be available.
“To be eligible for the program, Iowans must be a current renter or homeowner that has not been able to pay their rent or mortgage due to COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020,” Durham said.
The director also noted applicants must also not have a household income that exceeds 80% of the median household income in the county the applicant lives in and “must not be receiving the additional $600 a week in additional unemployment funds as a federal stimulus benefit.” Applications and information about the program are available at iowahousingrecovery.com. Those who do not qualify for the program can seek assistance from Iowa Legal Aid.
During the news conference, Reynolds explained she and her team will be returning to the state capitol after working from the state’s emergency operations center for the past several months, and also will be moving to only two live broadcasts a week — Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m.
Reynolds also addressed questions about outbreak reporting at businesses, particularly following an outbreak at a Tyson facility in Storm Lake in which over 500 employees tested positive.
“You have to remember they can get tested in many different ways,” Reynolds said, explaining that the Iowa Department of Public Health reports outbreaks during a case investigation when they confirm a 10% threshold of positive tests at a business.
As of Friday afternoon, Iowa reports 18,792 positive cases, 10,684 recovered cases and 520 deaths. A total of 146,289 tests have been conducted. In the Tri-County area, Washington County currently has 185 cases, Henry County has 67 cases and Jefferson County has 20 cases.