Iowa to Offer $35m in Rental Assistance
- Author: Bryan Miller
- Posted: 2023-03-10
Polk County, Iowa, wasn't necessarily hit any harder than anywhere else during the pandemic's height in 2020. Like most other places in the United States, they had to shut down the bulk of their businesses, and thousands of people were barely hanging on and struggling to pay their bills. What has been addressed recently in Polk County is the fact that many of its residents are still struggling to pay their rent. As a result, the state has decided to offer the county $35 million in rental assistance for the people in the area who are having issues paying their rent on time or at all. Of course, like most state measures, this is only happening because state officials convinced the federal government, via the US Treasury Department, to release the funds. Even still, it's great news for struggling people in the area.
For Iowa and Polk County, this isn't the first they're dealing with the Treasury Department about rent issues. A nonprofit named Impact Community Action (ICA) dealt with the department a while back, hoping to receive funding for citizens who needed rental assistance. The Treasury had not approved the paperwork, as the wheels move very slowly for these things, but it eventually got done. Now, Polk County is asking for more money.
For the residents of Polk County, they need rental assistance and so the help is going to be very welcomed. However, it should not be glossed over that COVID is no longer the culprit, so all of these news stories about 'lingering effects of COVID' are just gaslighting people into believing they're not actually seeing an economy crumble in front of their eyes.
People Preferred the Frying Pan Over the Fire
COVID was the frying pan, and an economy where inflation is realistically standing at over 40% is the fire. Inflation is measured against the Dollar and thus the 7% number you hear is more for some type of crediting score with the currency in general. For the everyday person in America, they're spending $150 for groceries that only cost a bit over $100 last year, and their gas is up over 50%, and many people are having their rental rates raised by landlords who are desperate to profit now that they also have to pay more.
At least during the COVID months, there were temporary moratoriums and stimulus checks and different grants. Now that all of those measures have stopped, people are standing directly in this economic dumpster fire and longing for the good old days of a government actually doing things to help them. So while the $35 million is great, what happens when that money's gone?
A Pandemic That's Only Worsening
That's the real point with this issue here: After the money's gone, most people who need rental assistance now are still going to need it in a few months. The economy isn't going to just magically get better. Now, with the threat of a looming world war in the works, most economic experts predict that the Dollar is going to weaken even more, and that inflation is going to rise even more. So, the people who were already having trouble paying their rent are going to still have more trouble paying their rent. This isn't something that's just going to stop at random.
The government cannot realistically keep printing money to have the Treasury Department hand it out to struggling communities. At some point, there needs to be a return to a sort of economic equilibrium in America, or more people are going to end up homeless than ever before.
Half Measures for Votes
A lot of cynical people have pointed out that these sorts of promises made to voters, and this sort of behavior by politicians is strictly part of a campaign for the midterm elections. As stated by one user on social media, regarding Iowa's current rental issue, "None of our representatives had a word to say about rental rates until the campaign posters started to go up. Now it's a race to see who can pretend to help the most before the votes roll in." The issue here, for many, is that Iowa's politicians seem to just toss money at the issue every time it rears its head, rather than dealing with the cause of the issue.
For people in the county who are falling short on their rent, this $35 million is great news. Though if they end up needing more in another few months, no one really knows what will happen.