Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

October 16, 2020

We are here to help.

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.

Are You Voter Ready?

Voting Rights

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. 

Iowans who have completed their felony sentences and have had their rights restored by the Governor, including by Executive Order, may be eligible to vote.The Iowa Secretary of State has created a website,, that includes an FAQ, resources, and a video on the voting process. 

Additional information about early voting, voting and homelessness, voting and domestic violence, voting with a disability, voting as college students, and voting for Iowa military and overseas voters is available on the the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

IRS Extends Economic Impact Payment Registration Deadline to November 21 for Non-filers

The IRS has extended the deadline from October 15 to November 21 for non-filers applying for federal stimulus payment. The deadline applies to those who don't typically file a tax return and haven't registered and received an Economic Impact Payment.  They are urged to register as quickly as possible using the Non-Filers: Enter Info Here tool on, which will not be available after November 21.

The Non-Filers tool is secure. It is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles who could not be claimed as a dependent by someone else. This includes couples and individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

Utility Assistance Programs

There are two state-administered programs available to assist Iowans with utilities. 

1) Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay for a portion of their primary heating costs for the winter heating season. The assistance is based on household income, household size, type of fuel, and type of housing. View eligibility guidelines.

The program began accepting applications October 1, 2020, for households that have a member who is at least 60 years of age, or disabled, or where disconnection is imminent.  All others may apply November 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021. Customers who qualify for LIHEAP are protected from having their natural gas and electric utilities disconnected from November 1 to April 1.

Applications are taken at your local community action agency.  Anyone facing disconnection at any time should contact their local community action agency for assistance.

To find your local agency, you may call 2-1-1-, visit, or contact the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) at (515) 242-5655 or 1-800-351-4659. LIHEAP information is available in multiple languages on the DHR's website.  

2) Residential Utility Disruption Program

The COVID-19 Residential Utility Disruption Program will provide eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. The last day to apply is November 20. For details, visit

Refugee Summit

RACI Refugee Summit

State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council Members Announced

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is proud to announce the members of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) for the 2020-2021 term. These young leaders  will use their skills and perspectives to lift up youth voice, to advocate for youth issues in Iowa, and to improve their communities through volunteerism.

  State Capitol

The 2020-2021 SIYAC members and their home communities are:

                         Name                        Year    City

                         Achinteya Jayaram   1st       Bettendorf    

                         Alex Drahos              2nd     Cedar Rapids          

                         Ava Moorlach           1st       Indianola      

                         Blythe Kelly               2nd     Urbandale    

                         Isabel Hanson*         3rd      Norwalk        

                         James Piazza           1st       West Des Moines    

                         Kameron Jones        1st       Ottumwa       

                         Kanyon Huntington   1st       Afton 

                         Kendall Jones           1st       Ottumwa       

                         Klaertje Hesselink     1st       Cedar Falls  

                         Koro Castillo             1st       Cedar Falls              

                         Kunal Chugh*           3rd       Asbury

                         Lily Glenn                  2nd     Ottumwa

                         Lulu Roarick             1st       Iowa City

                         Paras Bassuk           1st       Iowa City

                         Sam Wilson              2nd     Carlisle

                         Soomin Koh              1st       Iowa City

                         Stacia Drey               2nd     Marion

                         Tyler Loudon             2nd     Creston

                         Vidya Iyer                  2nd     West Des Moines

                         Will Keck** (Chair)    4th      Waukee

*Isabel Hanson and Kunal Chugh are serving their 1st year of their 2nd terms (3rd year overall in the council).

**Will Keck is serving his 2nd year of his 2nd term (4th year overall in the council).

Additional information about SIYAC and its members can be found on the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ website at

Safer Halloween

This year, traditional trick or treating and other Halloween activities can pose risks for spreading COVID-19. The CDC offers guidance on how to have a safe Halloween such as avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters, wearing a cloth mask that is not part of the costume, washing hands, and other ideas to lower the risks. 

CDC Halloween Activities

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

Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa  

Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Testing (Spanish available)

Previous Newsletters

October 2, 2020

September 18, 2020

September 4, 2020


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

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here or navigate to the "Manage Subscriptions" section below.

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
Contact Us Form