The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted today, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, to establish the eligibility, selection, and requirements for the Direct Assistance Program funded with Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The Board of Supervisors recognizes that the pandemic caused a wide range of impacts which affected many households across Johnson County. The Direct Assistance Program will provide relief to residents who faced severe economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a robust, resilient, and equitable recovery for Johnson County.
Johnson County has invested $2 million of Local Fiscal Recovery Funds in the Direct Assistance Program. The Iowa City City Council has discussed contributing additional ARPA funds to Johnson County’s program.
The Johnson County Direct Assistance Program provides a one-time, $1,400 payment to eligible Johnson County residents who experienced a negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Supervisors acknowledges that the number of applicants may exceed available funds and prioritizes equity through the application process. Therefore, the Board has decided to utilize random selection—a precise, scientific procedure whereby each individual in a population has an equal chance of selection for inclusion—to determine which eligible applicants receive assistance.
To be eligible to apply for the program, residents need to demonstrate:
- Residency in Johnson County since March 1, 2020,
- Low- to moderate- annual income.
- At least one of the following COVID-19 impact(s):
- Unemployment or reduction in work hours,
- Food insecurity,
- Housing insecurity,
- Exclusion from federal stimulus payment(s) and/or expanded unemployment benefits,
- Enrollment in eligible federal programs.
Program details, including required documentation, application timelines, and FAQs will be released soon. Additional information is available at https://www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/direct-assistance-program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in our community, and some people have experienced more economic hardship than others,” said Royceann Porter, Chairperson. “Over the last two years, people in our community have lost their jobs or were unable to work; were unable to pay for rent, utilities and childcare; were unable to feed their families. The Board of Supervisors is committed to doing what is best for those Johnson County residents who were most negatively affected by the pandemic.”
Johnson County is committed to utilizing ARPA funds 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 through online surveys and outreach tools, and hosted six public input sessions throughout the County.
More information about ARPA and how it impacts Johnson County is available at https://www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/arpa.