Polk County Community, Family & Youth Services

General Assistance Program


General Assistance provides temporary assistance with basic and special needs to eligible Polk County residents. Individuals and families who are at risk due to a temporary crisis and/or a mental or physical incapacity and who meet income guidelines may be assisted.

Quick Links
Services for Basic Needs
Services for Special Needs
Are You Eligible?
How Do You Apply?
How to Contact Us
After Hours Assistance
General Assistance Ordinance
General Assistance Program Manual
Online Application
Appeal Form
What Services Can You Benefit From?

The General Assistance office provides the following services:

Services for Basic Needs
Food Utility Payments
Rental Assistance  
Household/Personal Items  
Services for Special Needs
Clothing Traveler's Aid
Furniture Cremation
Health Supplies  
Property Tax Assistance  
Are You Eligible?

We assess an applicant’s eligibility mainly based on:

  • Polk County residency
  • Income guidelines
  • Applicant’s circumstances

If you are a veteran please contact Veteran Affairs @ 515.286.3670.

How Do You Apply?

To apply for assistance fill out an online application, fill out a printable application and bring it to the General Assistance office or to find out more about our services call us at 286-2088 or visit us, and a social worker will determine your eligibility and/or help you seek additional resources.

The first step in any application is to present a valid picture I.D., social security card and verification of all household income and expenses in the last 30 days.

For Rent
  • Landlord statement properly completed
For Utilities Assistance
  • Disconnect notice
  • 12-month billing and payment history from utility company
For Other Services
  • Statement of cost from vendor of needed service/items
  • Agreement from vendor to accept payment voucher
Phone Interview

To apply for assistance over the phone, please call (515) 286-2088 or send an e-mail to GA.Intake@polkcountyiowa.gov  In most cases, an interview will take 15-20 minutes to complete. 


To apply for financial assistance for cremation, bring a completed application to our office or call 286-2088 for further information.

Property Tax Assistance 

For information on property tax assistance programs call 286-3133.

How to Contact Us

General Assistance
2309 Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Telephone: (515) 286-2088
Hours: Monday - Friday   7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
After Hours Assistance

If all of the family shelters are full, General Assistance will provide a one night stay in a motel to families with minor children. Please contact United Way by calling 2-1-1. 

The family must go to Primary Helath Care, 1200 University Avenue, Suite 120, Des Moines (phone: 515-248-1500) the following day to see what other services they may be eligible for.  

For forms frequently used by General Assistance visit the forms page.

Contact Us

Community & Family Division
Polk County River Place
2309 Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310

Youth Services Division
Juvenile Detention 515-286-3344
Centralized Intake 515-286-3350
1548 Hull Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50316