Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

October 30, 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.

DHR Job Opening-Latinos CAN Coalition Coordinator

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is seeking to fill the position of Latinos CAN Coalition (LCAN) Coordinator (Clerk Specialist). LCAN is a grant funded program focused on reducing the Latino post-secondary educational attainment gap in Iowa. The Coalition is a broad partnership of stakeholders representing secondary and post-secondary educators, community partners, Iowa College Student Aid, and other state agencies.

For details on the job posting, visit the State of Iowa Careers website.

Are You Ready to Vote? 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  Don't forget to take one of the following valid forms of ID when you go to the polls: 

Voter Ready
  • Iowa Voter Identification Card
  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • Iowa Non-Operator ID
  • U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Tribal ID Card/Document

A voter without one of the above forms of ID may have the voter’s identity attested to by another registered voter in the precinct or may prove identity and residence using Election Day Registration documents.  The voter may also cast a provisional ballot and follow the instructions. View the Iowa Secretary of State's FAQ on voter ID and voter ID requirements

In addition to learning the requirements and options for voting, remember to wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, and wash your hands to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

Iowa Stops Hunger Virtual Panel Discussion

Hy-Vee presents Iowa Stops Hunger, a Business Publications Corporation Initiative to raise awareness, education, and inspire action around hunger and food insecurity in Iowa. The Iowa Stops Hunger Initiative will hold a virtual event on November 4, 2020, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm.  Discussion will include policies related to poverty, health and agriculture, and the role that government can play in ensuring that no Iowan has to be food insecure. 

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In case you missed it, watch the #IowaStopsHunger video in which DHR Director San Wong and other community leaders participated in raising awareness about hunger and food insecurity in Iowa.  

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Recognizing and Respecting the Diversity of Older People Webinar

The Iowa Abuse in Later Life Coordinated Community Response Team, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR), is presenting a webinar featuring a panel discussion about the experiences of the Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and African American communities living and aging in Iowa. The panel discussion will be facilitated by DHR Deputy Director Monica Stone.  The webinar will be held on November 5, 2020, 9:00 - 10:30 am via Zoom. To register, contact Mary Peterson/Iowa Attorney General's Office at or 515-281-7688. 


  • Karen Mackey, Chair, Iowa Commission of Native American Affairs, enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, Executive Director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission
  • Lisa Ung, Asian and Pacific Islander Community Advocate
  • Janice Edmunds-Wells, MSW, CPH, BS, founder and Executive Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Iowa Department of Health (retired)

Information and details on webinars, workshops, and resources focused on older adults in Iowa can be found on the Iowa Law and Services Together (ILAST) Facebook page:

Did you know that the Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division of Community Advocacy and Services has Offices and Commissions on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, Deaf Services, Latino Affairs, Native American Affairs, Persons with Disabilities, Status of African Americans, and Status of Women?  They work to improve the economic, social, and cultural life for Iowa's underserved communities.

Advance Directives Webinar

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Advance directives are legal documents related to health care/medical treatment that can be helpful in planning how you and your family members' medical wishes should be honored.  Join the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council and Disability Rights Iowa for a webinar on advance directives on November 5, 2020, 12:00-12:30 pm.

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Multicultural Small Business Institute

The Multicultural Small Business Institute is partnering with NewBo City Market to host Black-Owned Business guest vendors to sell their services and products.  Products range from clothing and baked goods to jewelry and home decor and more  In case you missed the first one, you can attend the next event on Saturday, November 14, 2020, 10 am - 4 pm, at NewBo City Market, 1100 34rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Thanks to DHR Board Member LaSheila Yates and NewBo City Market for facilitating this project! 

NAMI Iowa Virtual Conference

Join the National Alliance on Mental Health-NAMI Iowa for their 2020 virtual Annual Conference on Friday, November 20, 2020, 8:30 am - 4:35 pm. The Annual Conference will provide educational opportunities for individuals living with mental illnesses, their loved ones, and mental health professionals. The conference will offer a variety of plenary and breakout sessions, allowing each attendee to customize the event to match their interests.

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Mental Health Resources for Black/African Americans

Stress and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, racial strife, natural disasters, and other issues are taking their toll. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), facing racism, discrimination and inequity can significantly affect a person’s mental health. Members of the Black community face additional challenges accessing the care and treatment they need. When a person is experiencing challenges with their mental health, it is essential for them to receive quality and culturally competent care. NAMI provides a variety of mental health resources available for people of color. Examples of some resources include self care, black wellness, articles, videos, and treatment finders.

Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit 

Thanks to DHR Director San Wong for being part of the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit (IES) Planning Team!  IES brings businesses of diverse backgrounds together to share, learn, and celebrate the immigrant entrepreneurship experience and contribution to the overall community.  Congratulations to Kiu Chieng and Peggy La, owners of Hong Kong Supermarket in Sioux City, Iowa, for receiving the IES Immigrant Spriit Award.  Peggy is a member of DHR's Iowa Commission of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. 

The Iowa Immigrant Entrepreneur Summit will be held on November 21, 2020.  

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HHS/CDC Temporary Halt of COVID-19 Eviction

Living in a safe, stable home is important to personal health and well-being.  On September 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/CDC issued a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the further Spread of COVID-19. The Order temporarily stops residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent through December 31, 2020.  The Order protects renters who meet certain requirements and who sign a declaration form and give it to the landlord. 

Please note that evictions can take place if certain terms of the lease are broken.  Late fees can still be charged, and the obligation to pay rent remains. The process and requirements around the moratorium and evictions can be complex. For information on how to take advantage of the moratorium, visit Iowa Legal Aid's website

If you are unable to pay your rent, here are some resources on rental assistance, housing, and other help. 

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

Prevent Identity Theft of Deceased

After someone you love passes away, it could be a time of difficulty, loss, and confusion. Scammers are taking advantage of this time to commit "ghosting".  "Ghosting" is when scammers use a deceased person's personal information to commit fraud such as credit card fraud, tax fraud, social security fraud, identity theft, and more. You can protect yourself and your loved ones after they have passed. The Iowa Attorney General's Office offers some steps to take to such as notifying financial, government, insurance, credit, and other institutions about the death.  Limit personal and private information that is shared publicly. Other advice and how to report identity theft can be found here: Steps Following the Death of  Loved One.

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 16, 2020

October 2, 2020

September 18, 2020

September 4, 2020


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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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