Housing experts are concerned Iowa could see a rise in people experiencing homelessness now that the federal eviction moratorium has ended.

J’Nae Peterman is the director of housing services for Waypoint Services and part of her job is running the statewide hotline for housing resources. She says it averages about 550 calls per day from people in housing crises. “I foresee that only increasing now that people begin to receive their notices,” Peterman says. “Also shelters are already at capacity and have been beyond capacity since the time of COVID.”

Peterman says the state’s homeless programs are also at capacity and don’t have the resources to help the expected influx of people seeking assistance. A group of homeless intake specialists co-signed a letter to Governor Kim Reynolds this month, asking her to uphold an eviction moratorium in Iowa.

Bernadette Beck is an intake specialist program manager with the Polk County Continuum of Care. She’s concerned without a moratorium, more people will lose their housing, especially since the pandemic complicated people’s finances.  “We’re going to see more people entering our system,” Beck says, “and the homeless crisis response system across the state of Iowa already has extensive waiting lists.”

Beck says the state doesn’t have the capacity to absorb the number of people who may be affected by the end of the moratorium. There are more than 1,500 families currently on a wait list for housing.

(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)