Resources to Help Deal with Difficult Problems

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid LSC Funded

Many Iowans are facing hard times.  There are resources all over Iowa to help people deal with difficult problems.  Here is a list of resources to help with problems most are facing.  While there is no guarantee that these organizations can help you, call to find out if you qualify.  If you need more options, you can search for more services at:

United Way Resource Hotline – 211

Tell the operator what you need and they will give a list of resources in your area.

Iowa Department of Human Rights

Call 515-242-5655, or go online to
In their FAQ section, they list organizations and links to websites to help with many areas that help low-income Iowans, from how to apply for benefits to where to look for help with a problem.

Emergency Help

Food Pantries/Banks

Provides a certain number of days’ worth of food

Call 211 or check with local churches for food programs

Women Infants and Children (WIC)

Provides information, food, diapers and necessities.

Contact the local DHS office to find the location in your area. 

Community Action Agencies

Provides emergency rent and utility payments. 

They can also help with winter energy assistance called “LIHEAP.”  

Call 211 to find the agency in your area.

General Relief/Assistance

Provides emergency rent and utility assistance.  

Call 211 to find the local county office.

Iowa Utilities Board

Contact: 1-877-565-4450,

Takes complaints about regulated utilities, like electricity and natural gas.


City and County Housing Authorities

Provides a voucher to pay some or all of the rent.

Check with 211 for their contact information

Section 8/HUD

Provides some or all of the rent to those who cannot afford to pay on their own.

Check with 211 for the contact information in your area


Provides temporary shelter to those who are homeless.

Check with 211 for the local shelters in your area.

Transitional Housing

Provides temporary housing for those who are homeless.

Check with 211 to see if this is in your area.


Iowa Mediation Hotline


Call for help working with your mortgage lender if you are or are about to be behind on payments.


Iowa Workforce Development

Helps with unemployment benefits,

Helps people attend school while unemployed,

Retrains those laid off.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Helps disabled adults gain skills and employment. for the contact information for your local office.

Family Law

Domestic Violence Statewide Hotline

Call 1-800-942-0333

Use this to talk to a domestic violence advocate about safety, open 24/7.

Child Abuse Hotline


Use this to report child abuse or neglect anonymously, open 24/7.

Child Support Recovery Unit

1-888-229-9223, information and answers questions about child support cases.


National Runaway Switchboard


Helps teens at risk of running away,

Has information for parents and children,

Can work with families to work through home life problems.

United Action for Youth


Helps children find a safe place if they have runaway, helps those considering running away

Anonymous to call, open 24/7

For these counties only: Johnson, Cedar, Iowa, Washington.


US Department of Education

Iowa Department of Education

School policies and procedures

Most school districts have information about registration, special education needs, etc. on the county’s school district website.


Department of Human Services


To get health insurance, you can apply for programs like:



Medicaid and waiver programs.

Local Free Clinics

List of Free/Low-Cost/Sliding Scale Clinics in Iowa:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance


This organization helps find programs for those without drug coverage so people can get their prescribed medication.

Suicide Hotline – 1-800- 273-8255

Visiting Nurses Association


Provides health help in the community and at the disabled person’s home.


Iowa Civil Rights Commission


Takes complaints about discrimination anywhere in Iowa. 

This covers discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit applications.

Local Human Rights Commission

Takes local complaints about discrimination in the community.

Go to to find the office in your area.

HUD Discrimination Hotline


Takes complaints about discrimination while on federal housing assistance.

Consumer Issues

Iowa Attorney General Consumer Protection


This office handles complaints from consumers who believe they are getting scammed on repairs, concerned about business practices, etc.

Iowa State University Extension Office

515-294-8644 or 515-294-5215

Helps with budgeting, debt management and credit issues.

Bankruptcy Courts:

Northern District of Iowa -

Southern District of Iowa –

Disaster Services


1-800- 621-3362,

Red Cross

1-866- 438-4636

Help to get emergency assistance with groceries, clothing, medicine or transportation during a disaster.

Iowa Insurance Division, Consumer Affairs Bureau


Takes complaints from consumers about how insurance claims were handled, whether claims were denied or too low to help.

Last Review and Update: Jun 18, 2013

Contacting the LiveHelp service...