Over 36,000 low-income households in the state of Iowa depend on rental assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rental programs are crucially important for the financial security of Iowans who are able to receive benefits. However, 3 of 4 households qualifying for rental assistance are unable to access them due to funding constraints. A proposal from the Trump Administration and a House bill proposed by Rep Dennis Ross seek to further stifle this shrinking program.
Iowans projected to be affected by housing proposals
By congressional district (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
In Iowa, the average income of households using rental assistance is just over $12,000. Ninety-seven percent of Iowans using rental assistance fit the category of very low income, meaning they earn 50 percent of the local median income or less. Housing affordability is an issue in both rural and urban areas — 18,700 of Iowa households using rental assistance are in non-metropolitan areas.
The HUD proposal seeks to increase the percentage of a household’s income that they must contribute to rent from 30 to 35 percent. That 17 percent increase is on average a $55 monthly rent increase for families. The changes proposed by the Trump Administration would impact 65,400 Iowans, including 24,600 children. The plan also stands to triple minimum rents for households with a non-elderly or disabled member and eliminate deductions used by the elderly and disabled, and by working families for childcare expenses.
The Ross bill also would eliminate income deductions for eligibility and increase rents for Iowa’s elderly and disabled rental assistance recipients. The bill would impact over 24,400 Iowa households receiving rental assistance; with a 41 percent monthly rent increase for recipients.
Rental assistance encourages work by freeing up household income for work-enabling basic needs such as food, transportation and child care. Secure housing has tremendous impacts on child development including social and emotional well-being, and physical health. These two proposals threaten to destabilize housing for many working low-income households with children, as well as for the elderly and disabled all across the state of Iowa.
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of 2016 HUD administrative microdata
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Policy Basics: Federal Rental Assistance.” November 2017. https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/policy-basics-federal-rental-assistance
 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Assisted Housing: National and Local Dataset.” 2017. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/assthsg.html#2009-2017_query
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Trump Plan Would Raise Rents on Working Families, Elderly, People with Disabilities.” April 2018. https://www.cbpp.org/blog/trump-plan-would-raise-rents-on-working-families-elderly-people-with-disabilities
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Trump Plan to Raise Minimum Rents Would Put Nearly a Million Children at Risk of Homelessness.” April 2018. https://www.cbpp.org/blog/trump-plan-to-raise-minimum-rents-would-put-nearly-a-million-children-at-risk-of-homelessness-0
 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “House Bill Would Allow Sharp Rent Increases on Struggling Low-Income People.” May 2018. https://www.cbpp.org/blog/house-bill-would-allow-sharp-rent-increases-on-struggling-low-income-people
 Research and Practice, “US Housing Insecurity and the Health of Very Young Children.” August 2011. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300139