Johnson County is working to increase housing stability by reducing the number of evictions in our community through the expansion of the eviction diversion program. The expansion is a result of Johnson County’s investment of funds received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The COVID-19 pandemic caused economic hardship and housing instability for many Johnson County residents, especially for low-income individuals and households. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) instituted a national eviction moratorium in September 2020 to provide relief and stability to renters during the height of the pandemic. The moratorium expired in August 2021, but many people are still at risk of homelessness due to eviction.
In order to legally evict a tenant in the State of Iowa, landlords must use a court procedure – Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED). The number of FED filings in Johnson County increased significantly once the eviction moratorium was lifted. Johnson County’s Eviction Diversion Program provides landlord and tenant mediation services, rent assistance, a staff help desk at the Johnson County Courthouse during FED hearings, and tenant legal guidance and representation. The program is a collaborative effort of Johnson County Social Services, City of Iowa City, Iowa Legal Aid, Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition and Shelter House.
The Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $337,500 to expand the program during the next three fiscal years. Of the $337,500 investment, $37,500 will be utilized in Fiscal Year 2022, which ends June 30, 2022.
For more information about Johnson County's Eviction Diversion Program, contact Lynette Jacoby, Social Services Director, at 319-339-6128 or [email protected]
Johnson County is committed to utilizing ARPA to enhance investments in public services and maximize the impacts of our local fiscal recovery allocation. The County's ARPA Leadership Team has been working since February 2021 to research and discuss the many aspects of this funding. Johnson County solicited public input from May to October 2021 using a series of online surveys and tools as well as six in-person public input sessions that were held throughout the County.
More information about ARPA and how it impacts Johnson County is available at https://www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/arpa.