Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

November 13, 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.

Governor Kim Reynolds Extends Public Health Disaster Emergency

On November 10, 2020, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency for another 30 days. The proclamation imposes a number of additional public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These new measures became effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11 and will continue to 11:59 p.m. on November 30, 2020. 

The proclamation continues the requirements that those attending any social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting gathering must maintain six feet distancing from other groups. But it now also requires that those groups are limited to 8 people unless the entire group is from the same household. Additionally, all these gatherings that occur indoors with more than 25 people, or outdoors with more than 100 people, are prohibited unless all participants over 2 years old wear masks excepts when eating and drinking. In addition to these distancing and masking requirements, at an indoor youth sporting or recreational gathering, only two spectators are permitted for each youth athlete. 

Customers and employees are also now required to wear masks at salons, barbershops, massage therapy establishments, tattoo establishments, tanning facilities, and other establishments providing personal services.  Read full press release. 

To view a summary of additional enhanced mitigation measures, click here

Information, data, and resources about the coronavirus in Iowa can be found at

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing appointments at Test Iowa locations are filling up. Before heading to a Test Iowa site, complete the assessment first at and schedule an appointment to be tested at any location. Call Test Iowa with questions about testing: 515-575-2131 or 844-844-1561 (toll free), 8 am - 8 pm seven days a week (except Holidays).  

In addition to Test Iowa locations, coronavirus tests are available at Hy-Vee, select pharmacies like Walgreens, and some medical/health centers.  Call ahead or visit their websites for more information and to make an appointment. 

CDC Thanksgiving Guidelines

Thanksgiving this year will be different than in past years as the coronavirus pandemic continues.  The CDC has guidance on how to be safe before traveling or gathering for Thanksgiving.  Precautions include wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, and get a flu shot. The CDC recommends that if you are attending a gathering, take these additional steps: 

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Nonfilers need to register for stimulus payment by November 21

Eligible people who don’t normally file a tax return need to sign up by 3 p.m. ET on November 21, 2020, for their Economic Impact Payment. They can use our Non-Filers: Enter Info Here tool, which is free and secure. 


Know Your Rights During Medicare Enrollment

Medicare annual open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7.  Medicare beneficiaries can get help comparing Medicare plans and choose the plans that are best for them. The Federal Trade Commission advises that once you’ve picked the plan that’s right for you, be sure you get all the details in writing before signing up. Take your time to read all information and verify details. Be aware of scammers who call and pretend to be Medicare representatives or agents in an attempt to steal your Medicare number and personal information.

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Reuniting Residents and Families

What to Look for and Questions to Ask as You Resume Visits in a Long-Term Care Facility

From the National Consumer Voice: Residents of long-term care have been subject to strict visitation policies for months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  These policies have had a significant effect on the health and well-being of residents.  Find information and resources on the latest federal guidance on visitation, things to look for as visitors begin to be permitted into facilities, voting resources, and how to advocate for long-term care residents. Continue reading...

This flyer provides suggestions of what to look for, questions to ask, and what you can do if you have concerns about their condition. 

Recognizing and Respecting the Diversity of Older People

"When Ageism Meets the Other Isms: Recognizing and Respecting the Diversity of Older People" is a five-part webinar series presented by the Iowa Law and Services Team (ILAST) — Iowa’s Abuse in Later Life and the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team. The Iowa Department of Human Rights is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with CCR and the Iowa Attorney General's Office to participate in some of the webinars. Topics include aging in the communities of Latinos, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and persons with disabilities.

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November is Native American Heritage Month in Iowa

There was an estimated 17,060 Native Americans and Alaska Natives in Iowa in 2019. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates an 89.8% increase in population between 2000 and 2019.

Thank you to Timothy Perkins, member of DHR's Commission of Native American Affairs, for providing an overview of Native American Heritage Month. To read Commissioner Perkins' piece, visit the Greater Des Moines Partnership's website to learn about the culture, history, and contributions of Native Americans..  

Did you know that Iowa is named after the Ioway tribe?

Flag Display

In November 2019, the Commission of Native American Affairs installed the Iowa Native Nations Flag Display at the State Capitol honoring many Native tribes.

The Indians of Iowa - A Virtual Conversation

Join in the virtual discussion about Iowa’s indigenous communities.Thank you, Commissioner Timothy Perkins, for being a panelist!

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The Indians of Iowa

COVID-19 Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program-Application Deadline December 4, 2020

The last day to apply for the the State's Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program is December 4, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.  The program will provide short-term relief to income-eligible renters and homeowners who are at risk of eviction or foreclosure.

Available assistance include

  • Rental assistance  for up to four months. This can include up to two months in arrears, beginning with April 1 rent ($3,200 maximum).  
    • includes manufactures home rent and lot rent
  • Mortgage payment assistance (this can include up to two months in arrears, beginning with April 1 rent) ($3,000 maximum) 

For more information and required documentation, visit or call 1-855-300-5885. View the eviction education flyer and legal resources.

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 application period is 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, 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.  

Thank you to Christine Taylor, DHR's LIHEAP Bureau Chief, for participating in The Gazette's Iowa Ideas Diversity and Inclusion Track.  Learn more about energy assistance programs by watching this video:

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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

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 30, 2020

October 16, 2020

October 2, 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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