Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

July 10, 2020

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Disaster Assistance for Black Hawk, Fayette, and Van Buren Counties

Governor Kim Reynolds issued disaster proclamations for the counties of Black Hawk, 6/25/20), Fayette, and Van Buren (6/29/20).

The governor's proclamations allow state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of this severe weather and activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program.

Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program 

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $43,440 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.  You may also contact your local community action agency for other ways to apply. Visit

Iowa Legal Aid's website also has more information on the program (available in Spanish).

Iowa Disaster Case Management

Disaster Case Management is a program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor's proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action agency or visit

Iowa Disaster Crisis Counseling 

Iowa Department of Human Services Disaster Assistance and Resources
Iowa Concern Hotline 1-800-447-1985

Community Action Agencies

Thank you to Community Action of Eastern Iowa for offering $25 to help families buy school supplies

Due to COVID-19, the Community Action of Eastern Iowa is not distributing school supplies this year. Instead, it is offering $25 Walmart gift cards to help families buy school supplies.  Funding is provided by the community, as well as the Iowa Department of Human Rights through the federal Community Services Block Grant.  For income and eligibility guidelines and application, visit  

Many community action agencies offer assistance such as food banks, food delivery initiatives, clothing, diapers, and addressing other emergency needs. There is a network of 17 community action agencies that serves all of Iowa's 99 counties. To find a community action agency near you, you may also visit the Iowa Department of Human Rights' website.  

Free Tax Prep 


The deadline to file and pay 2019 federal income taxes is July 15, 2020Iowa tax returns are due July 31, 2020.

MyFreeTaxes is a partnership between United Way and H&R Block that offers free online tax preparation to every household with a simple return.  Learn more at

The federal IRS website has resources to help you choose a Free File offer to file your taxes for free online. Learn more at

COVID-19 Related Legal Information 

The Iowa Bar Association, Polk County Bar Association, and Iowa Legal is hosting the People's Law School: COVID-19 Related Legal Information (Part II).  The webinar is for the public and is free.  It will be held on July 21, 2020, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.  To register, click here

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Minority Mental Health Month

The U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health notes that according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, minorities are less likely to receive diagnosis and treatment for their mental illness, have less access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of mental health care. National Mental Health Awareness Month (July) is a time to raise awareness of mental illness and improve access to mental health treatment and services for underrepresented communities. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), our culture, beliefs, sexual identity, values, race and language all affect how we perceive and experience mental health conditions. Cultural differences can influence what treatments, coping mechanisms and supports work for us.

The coronavirus pandemic can cause additional stress, anxiety, financial distress, and feelings of isolation.  It is important to practice self-care and get help when you need it. 

Get immediate help in a crisis

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

Other Resources

Videos on Mental Health in Multiple Languages

COVID-19 Test Iowa Sites/Schedules

Before heading to a Test Iowa location, you must first complete an online assessment at the Test Iowa website at  You will then receive instructions on your scheduled appointment and location. The test is free and available to Iowans wishing to get tested, regardless of symptoms or potential exposure.  Information about the COVID-19 Test Iowa locations and schedules is available at the State's website

Did you know that Iowa has conducted 100,000 tests since the first test site opened on April 25? See Governor Kim Reynolds' press release here

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations

Congolese Health Partnership Videos

Coronavirus, State Website

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpine 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609
(Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa and partners)

Test Iowa-COVID-19 Testing (Spanish available)

Previous Newsletters

June 26, 2020

June 19, 2020

June 12, 2020

June 6, 2020


Are there other resources we should know about? Let us know.

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Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
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