IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.
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On Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced the launch of the new Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments through the program will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account.
“We are facing an unprecedented pandemic and from the very beginning the state has made it a priority to provide critical assistance to families, farmers, renters, homeowners, and small business owners,” said Gov. Reynolds. “For Iowans who lost their job or saw their paycheck shrink as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program will help them keep the power on and their water running.”
The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for utility assistance programs (the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program launched in mid-July). To be eligible to receive assistance, a residential electric, natural gas and/or water utility customer must have:
A primary Iowa residence with active residential utility accounts, renters may apply as long as the utility account is in the applicant’s name;
An unpaid utility bill balance or have previously entered into a payment plan with their utility provider;
An annual income that is 80% of the median family income, based on county and household size
Experienced a COVID-19 loss of income (job loss, reduction in hours, reduction in pay) on or after March 17, 2020 that resulted in hardship in paying bills for electric, natural gas, and/or water utility service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 31, 2020.
“Iowans, especially our low-income citizens have been greatly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “We are proud to make available this program offering to help our most vulnerable maintain critical utility services.”
For a full list of eligibility requirements, additional information and to apply, visit iowahousingrecovery.com. Applications will be accepted between October 8, 2020, and November 20, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Assistance will be awarded based on application completeness and eligibility in order received until all funds have been exhausted.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 100, 027 Iowans have tested positive, up 3,235 from our update Friday morning, with a total of 864,333 tested. 29 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,462 deaths. Now 76,490 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 11.6% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 9.4%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 449 hospitalized patients.
School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning.
Currently 17 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days: