How to Apply for General Assistance

To apply for assistance, fill out an online application or a paper application and bring it to the General Assistance office.  You can also apply by phone by calling (515) 286-2088 or by sending an e-mail to In most cases, an interview will take 15-20 minutes to complete. 

The first step of the application process is to present a valid photo i.d., social security card and verification of all household income and expenses from the last 30 days.  A social worker will determine your eligibility and/or help you seek additional resources.  


Applying for Rent? 

  • A properly completed Landlord Statement

Applying for Utility Assistance? 

  • A Disconnect Notice 
  • 12 month billing and payment history from utility company 

Applying for Other Services? 

  • Statement of cost from vendor for needed services/items
  • Agreement from vendor that they will accept a payment voucher from Polk County 


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 Health Care, 1200 University Avenue, Suite 120, Des Moines (515-248-1500) the following day to see if there are other services they may be eligible for.  


General Assistance
2309 Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Telephone: (515) 286-2088

Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM