General Assistance

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide temporary assistance to low income Linn County residents who are ineligible for or awaiting approval from federal or state assistance programs according to Linn County Ordinance 

We serve individuals and families in Linn County who are experiencing a financial crisis and can help with: 

  1. Rent or Mortgage Interest (up to $350) 
  2. Utility Bills, if the remainder of the bill can be paid
    - Water (up to $100)
    - Electricity (up to $98)
    - Gas (up to $45) 
  3. Burial Assistance (up to $1,000) 
When you receive either rent, mortgage interest or utility assistance, you may also receive a voucher for food and non-food items at Hy-Vee, Fareway, or Save-a-lot or a 1-month bus pass for the City of Cedar Rapids Transit.

General Assistance can assist temporarily or provide ongoing assistance depending on the situation. Please refer to the FAQ’s section for more information. 

 Who can apply for assistance?

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of Linn County 
  2. Earn below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line
    • $1,012 for a single adult
    • $1,378 for a two adult household 
  3. Cannot be receiving other assistance such as Social Security (can be in the process of applying for assistance!) or the Family Investment Program (FIP)  
  4. Cannot have quit your place of employment within the last 60 days. Unless it is the result of a documented health issue!
  5. Cannot be a full-time student 
Think you might be eligible but aren’t quite sure? Call our office Monday – Friday 7:30 – 4:00 PM at 319-892-5850

Requesting Rent, Mortgage Interest, and/ or Utility Assistance

First Step: Complete screening form

There are two ways to complete the screening form: 
  1. Complete the screening form in-person:
    • Complete a screening form at our office, M - F 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM, no appointment needed
    • You will need to provide
      • Picture ID
      • Social Security card for all household members
  2. Complete and submit the screening form online
    • Click here to download and complete the screening form online. 
    • Click here to submit the screening form
    • The submitted screening form will only be valid for 10 business days (or two weeks) from the time you submit your screening form online to come into our office to complete the process. You will need to provide
      • Picture ID
      • Social Security card for all household member

Second Step: Set Appointment with Income Maintenance Worker

If it appears from the screening form that the applicant may be eligible, the following steps will need to be taken:
  1. Schedule appointment with Income Maintenance Worker, usually about 2 weeks after the first step is completed
  2. Complete the application packet
    • Household Information 
    • Read and sign a Release of Information 
    • All GA applicants required to apply for food assistance at DHS.  Households with children must apply for FIP. Applications for DHS assistance can be completed online here
    • Landlord Verification Form
    • Read and sign the Good Tenants Rules 
  3. Complete other forms as necessary for your application which may include: 
    • Employer Statement, if starting or ending employment within the last 60 days
    • Incapacity Report, if unable to work due to a health concern

Third Step: Set Appointment with Income Maintenance Worker

  1. Provide the following documentation (listed in application packet): 
    • Photo ID 
    • Social Security card for all household members
    • Income verification for eligible household members for previous 30 days
    • Most recent Bank Statement
    • November – April must apply for Low-income Heat Energy Assistance Program (LiHEAP) at HACAP
    • Copy of Lease for rental unit
    • Utility bill if applying for utility assistance
    • If unable to work, a signed Incapacity Report Form from medical provider
    • If applying for Social Security benefits, must provide verification
  2. If at the end of your appointment you are still deemed eligible for services, vouchers will be issued: 
    • Rent, mortgage interest  assistance,  and utility assistance is paid by voucher directly to landlord, lending institution or utility company
    • Food/ non-food or transportation vouchers will be issued during the appointment for immediate use 

Requesting Burial Assistance 

Applicants requesting burial assistance should come directly into our offices to start the application process. Applicants are taken as soon as possible. Please provide as much information as possible including: 
  • Proof if identification (Photo ID & Social Security Card or other documentation with social security number) 
  • Income verification for previous 30 days
  • Recent Bank Statements 
  • Funeral Home Bill for $1,000

Stil in need of assistance? 

Community Resource Sheets

The community resource sheets can be accessed online.  The resource sheets are updated annually and provide a starting point to help individuals and families attain the assistance they need to stabilize their situations and ultimately become more self-sufficient.  Many of the programs and services listed have eligibility guidelines or criteria.  Anyone using the resource sheets is encouraged to read the service description before contacting the organization.

United Way 2-1-1

The United Way of East Central Iowa's 2-1-1 is a call service and an online website that is available to provide individuals with resources and information.  Individuals have the option of dialing 2-1-1 (319-739-4211 or 866-469-2211, toll-free) or searching the United Way 2-1-1 website. Some features of the website are: 
  • An up-to-date database with over 840 agencies and resources
  • Easy search; search by keyword or browse by topic
  • Save your search; if you need to come back to your search, you can easily save the search

Requesting Rent, Mortgage Interest, and/ or Utility Assistance

First Step: Complete screening form