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General Assistance

Shelby County General Assistance aids residents of Shelby County who are poor or needy and is administered within the scope of monies appropriated. General Assistance is understood to be "the payer of last resort" when all other means of assistance have been exhausted. It is not intended to be, nor shall it be, an ongoing support.


As defined in the Shelby County General Assistance Program Ordinance, a "needy person" is a person or household who needs immediate, temporary assistance due to circumstances not attributable to that person. A "poor person" is a person or household that is at or below 100 percent (100%) of the current Federal Poverty Guideline.


Assistance may be provided for rent, utilities, prescription medication, cremation, and inurnment of remains. An application must be completed; those applications are available at the Community Services office. Shelby County General Assistance is a loan program. All recipients of General Assistance shall agree to reimburse the County for assistance received. Every applicant denied assistance is informed in writing of the right to appeal such decision to the Board of Supervisors.


  1. General Relief Ordinance
  2. Shelby County Notice of Privacy Practices HIPAA

Contact Information

Shelby County Courthouse
612 Court Street
Harlan, Iowa 51537