UPDATE: United Neighbors suspends rental assistance program; November rent checks withheld

unitedneighbors

UPDATE-

The Iowa Finance Authority confirmed Wednesday it is conducting a deeper investigation into the rental assistance program offered at United Neighbors.

An agency spokesperson told TV-6 Investigates citizen complaints prompted the IFA to send an inspector on a compliance visit on Friday, Oct. 21st.

The IFA decided to suspend further payments to United Neighbors as a result of the compliance visit. The review also started a deeper investigation into United Neighbors.

The spokesperson said it was too soon to say whether this investigation will be turned over to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

DAVENPORT, Iowa. (KWQC) — Over 100 local renters will have to do without their rent assistance checks for November. Viewers brought this story to our attention. United Neighbors chose to suspend its “No limits, poverty to prosperity” program. The program serves families with a portion of their monthly rent.

United Neighbors said it must re-verify everyone’s eligibility in the program. The news shocked renters in the program who contacted TV-6 with their concerns. United Neighbors sent out a letter Friday saying it cannot cut next month’s rental assistance checks. For many, November’s rent is due on November 1st.

At the United Neighbors office the front door is dead-bolted shut and there’s a handwritten sign on the door that says it is not taking new applications for the rental assistance program. Executive Director Evelyn Nelson said they’re trying to process income re-verifications as quickly as they can.

Federal rules require United Neighbors to get I.D. and income information from everyone living in a rental property getting assistance. That means a tenant has to report any income earned by children, and spouses, as well as any public assistance they’re receiving as well.

United Neighbors said it has not received the money from the State of Iowa to pay the assistance because of the re-verification requirement. That’s why United Neighbors said it chose to suspend the program, to prevent it from having to repay any assistance if it was given to ineligible people.

Nelson said, “We knew that we needed to re-verify but we didn’t know that we needed to suspend the program until re-verification took place.”

“I feel really bad about it, of course, we are people serving people and that’s nothing that we like to see happen.”

United Neighbors hopes to have the program up and running again in December. Nelson said renters can only receive the money for one year so there will be some recipients whose assistance will end. She said impacted renters can apply for other assistance with United Neighbors if they can’t make up the rental assistance shortfall.

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