Low-income Iowans could qualify for federal assistance to cover back rent or overdue utility bills that have accumulated during the pandemic.

Debi Durham is director of the Iowa Finance Authority, which has received $195 million in federal money from the pandemic relief package congress passed in December. The money can help low income Iowans who in the past year lost a job, saw their income cut or suffered some other financial calamity due to Covid.

“The household must also be able to demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past-due utility or rent notice or even, unfortunately, an eviction notice,” Durham says.

Federal officials estimate as many as 86,000 Iowans are behind on their rent and assistance may be available for up to 12 months. A separate program is making up to $3600 available to low income Iowans who are behind on their mortgages. Applications for both programs will be available online, starting at 2 p.m. Monday, at IowaHousingRecovery.com.