Cedar Rapids Area 

low income resources 

Other useful pages 

Student discounts & general shopping  list  I also setup a page on Free Stuff. 

Low Income Help Hub

I set this page up as a general guide and resource 

You can also call 211 on your phone and they can give you more info on this too.

 Budget guideline

  budget somewhere between 10-12k a year to live on so then you could put some in savings and take care of additional expenses

Yearly budget of $16,800 or $1400 a month  I was going to call this How to live on less than 17k a year because your income needs to stay below that to stay on Medicaid 

With low rent, no car or medical expenses, a single person could live adequately on $1k per month.

I have three main categories. First is your health if you're not healthy and you're sick and dying what really matters? Second is housing. It's always good to have a roof over your head. The third would be food and everything else that follows. Basically it's Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Health care & Insurance 

What got me interested in this topic is the way my health declined. I had trouble working and then ended up on Medicaid  I appreciate that 

Medicaid was expanded in Iowa. Almost everyone should have some sort of health insurance in Iowa. I think it's better for people to have Medicaid so they can get a lot of preventative care is that's a lot cheaper than emergency room and ICU  care. It's one in four people in the state of Iowa that are covered by Medicaid. You can get your eyes checked out by a doctor but no glasses or contacts are covered and dental care is totally out of your pocket.  you can apply at www.Heathcare.gov


Health insurance:  Iowa Health Link (Medicaid) - Amerigroup: 1-800-600-4441


https://www.medicalert.org/ $50 a year membership with  bracelet

Free  Smoke  Fire Alarms 


Vision insurance



Vision:  Miller Family EyeCare, 576 Boyson Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Phone: (319) 373-3737 https://www.millerfamilyeyecare.com/ 

CPAP & supplies:   AeroCare / Community Medical Supply, 729 N Center Point Road, Hiawatha, IA 52233  (319) 356-0202

Ramps and Wheelchair Ramp Accessibility Program (WRAP)

I had some family that needed to get a ramp from there house these guys were great we had to pay $600 for materials but they offer grants too and the labor was free and they did a great job.  https://wrapiowa.org/


I feel that housing and healthcare are really the top two costs associated with life. If you can handle these two costs then you should be able to handle everything else. With housing what worked for me is owner-occupying a duplex and renting the other half out. Another approach that would be cost-effective is renting an affordable apartment or house and just having roommates and living in that. I feel that a fourth to half of all income could fall under the housing utilities category.


Also 1st time home buyer program is helpful I had a friend that got a home with only 2k down with this program and the monthly cost was about the same as the rent they paid before. 



Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) & Weatherization program 

Helps low income people cut their electric and gas bill 





Internet discount 

$30 off new plan 


old plan 

Can get $50 off your bill 



The Lifeline Assistance Program provides free government phones to people on food stamps and other reasons.  It was initiated by the US government to help millions of Americans who don’t have access. This FCC-mandated program mandates several service companies to provide devices with mobile plans which include minutes and text every month. For example, Verizon usually includes 250 minutes or more of calls, text allowances, and some even offer data allocation.  AT&T only offers a discounted rate on voice minutes.


Another option

Red pocket prepaid a year of service and Google Voice 35 a year 

he Red Pocket Wireless phone is $32 or so a year for 200 minutes of talk, 200 of data and 1000 text messages each month but for $30 a year!

Television & Media etc

Over the air signal that has no ongoing cost. You can also buy a streaming device such as a Roku or fire stick.

Libraries and education 

I feel that the Cedar Rapids area has quite an extensive library system. Especially the public libraries you can get so much different media there from DVDs to books meeting space and other community assets.

for I have a student discount page predominantly for Kirkwood students.

I put some links for University of Iowa students here too. I also have a philosophical page on non-commercial values and they're important in society. 

Gym and fitness  


Low income under 20k a year $26.60 a month or $300 a year. 



City Bus $20 a month or   $240 a year.

When on Medicaid or other low income program you get it at the discounted rate. All bus rides are free right now because of covid. http://www.cedar-rapids.org/residents/city_buses/half_fare_qualifications.php 

additional information can be found on this page 

Guide living in Cedar Rapids without A car.

Elder help 

Aging Services

UnityPoint Health - AbbeHealth Services - Aging Services enhances the lives of older adults by providing services and resources to assist them in remaining independent  Phone (319) 398-3647 Website 

Heritage Area Agency On Aging

Heritage Area Agency on Aging is a non-profit organization providing innovative services and access to local resources that improve the quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers.  Phone: (319) 398-5559  https://www.heritageaaa.org/ 

Tax Help 

The volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) Trained and certified volunteers provide free tax preparation for individuals

and families you may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so not only is this free but it could get you money back and help with Medicaid or ACA discount.   Here is the local website   https://www.uweci.org/what-we-do/our-programs/vita/ 

Additional links 

Linn County has https://www.linncounty.org/130/Community-Resources  this page with a lot of local information