The COVID-19 Iowa Eviction And Foreclosure Prevention Program uses CARES Act funds to provide short-term relief in order to prevent evictions and/or foreclosures during the pandemic. David Zalubowski / AP File
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By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio News

More than 50 Iowa organizations have signed a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds asking for more funding to help prevent evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A letter signed by 54 Iowa organizations details how evictions are disproportionately affecting women of color, and these groups are hoping the state will address that disparity.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds had initially allocated $22 million to the Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program this year, then an additional $9 million. The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) has taken the lead in asking the governor to add more funds, up to $80 million. The groups came to this number by estimating 51,000-104,000 households in the state are at risk of eviction.

The ICADV and its allies said the money is quickly depleting and as the pandemic surges on, more people may be at risk of losing their homes. ICADV Director of Community Engagement Lindsay Pingel said this is especially a concern for women of color.

“When we’re going through any type of crisis, we know that the disproportionate impact that it’s going to have on communities of color is going to continue,” Pingel said.

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According to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, before the pandemic, Black renters were evicted by landlords at almost twice the rate as white renters.

Pingel said she is grateful for the initial funds, but housing insecurity caused by the pandemic’s economy is not going away any time soon. As of September, Iowa ranked No. 5 for unemployment rates at 4.7 percent.

“These individuals who received this assistance to protect them, and their housing situation back in the spring, they’re going to be faced with the same issue as we continue,” Pingel said. “So we can’t leave them behind.”

She said the coalition and the rest of their allies are concerned there will be more housing insecurity after the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium ends on Dec. 31.

“We were extremely surprised to see the feedback that we got from all of them,” Pingel said. “It’s unfortunately a sign that shows that the individuals they are working with pretty regularly are vulnerable to the upcoming eviction moratorium, to the hardship that COVID-19 has caused to a lot of families.”

As of right now, Pingel said she has not heard a response from the governor, but she plans on following up after election situations calm down.

If you or someone you know is in an unsafe home situation, contact:

The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence at

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515-244-8028.

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