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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Need snow removal assistance? Here's who can help

Elderly Iowans and those with disabilities may not be able to remove snow on their own. Take a look at a few of the services available in the metro.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Many Iowa cities have rules in place that allow them to fine folks who don't clear snow from sidewalks within a day or two after a snowstorm: a daunting task for individuals with disabilities and the elderly. 

REMEMBER: Fire hydrants must be cleared of snow. Do not blow snow or cover up hydrants in any way.

There are several resources for these folks to use within the Des Moines metro. 


In Ankeny, the Senior Citizen Snow Removal Program assists senior citizens 65 years and older, as well as those with disabilities whose annual household income is less than 300% of federal poverty guidelines. 

The city will contract to remove snow accumulations of two or more inches from public sidewalks adjacent to homes for those who qualify.

It is the property owner's responsibility to clear snow from all sidewalks on or adjacent to their property within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling in Ankeny. Fines may be issued for violations. 

Ankeny residents can apply by signing a hold harmless agreement or by calling 515-963-3520 to request a paper copy.

Des Monies/United Way

The City of Des Moines suggests calling United Way of Central Iowa at 211 for assistance. 

United Way officials then refers individuals to Central Iowa Center for Independent Living or Aging Resources of Central Iowa

United Way does not have a set resource for these services, but caseworkers figure out arrangements for those who need assistance. 

The city requires residents to remove snow and ice from sidewalks within 48 hours following the end of snowfall. 

Those who don't follow the requirement are subject to a $75 administrative penalty for a first offense and larger penalties for repeated violations. 

West Des Moines

The City of West Des Moines has their own program to assist residents with snow removal. The Handyman Program assists with snow removal and lawn mowing for those who are unable to do so due to physical constraints. 

Residents must verify that their income is 185% below the federal poverty guidelines and fit within the following parameters to be eligible for the program: 

  • Individuals must be at least 70 years old OR have a disability (verified by a physician) that impedes their ability to cut grass or remove snow.
  • Services will only be available to households that have no other able-bodied individuals residing in the home
  • The size of the property must be 0.35 acres or less
  • The residence must not be a multiple dwelling unit
  • Mow areas must be free of lawn ornamentation, debris and feces to receive this service
  • Service is not available to those who use a lawn service for fertilization, weed control, etc. 
  • Hardship mowing or snow removal is available on a limited-time basis for extraordinary circumstances, such as a surgery
  • No lawn or snow removal services are provided on weekends
  • Snow will only be removed when a snow event measures at least two inches
  • Grass or aggregate driveways will receive minimal snow removal to protect driveway and removal equipment
  • The Handyman will do a site check of property before starting services
  • Handyman services are not provided to a residence in which the owner or tenant is absent for more than two weeks
  • The Handyman is not allowed to enter anyone's home

In West Des Moines, all sidewalks adjacent to private property are the responsibility of the property owner. Snow must be removed within 24 hours after the end of a snowstorm.

The City is responsible for removing snow on the streets to keep traffic flowing. 

"Due to the location of some sidewalks and the volume of snow being moved, there will be occasions where the plowing operation may deposit additional snow onto the sidewalks," the city's website says. "It is still the responsibility of the property owner to remove all snow from their sidewalk."