Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

January 8, 2021

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.

Join DHR for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Celebration January 18, 2021 

MLK Flyer

Fair Housing - Know Your Rights

In a partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), a federal housing assistance program agency, whose mission is to end discrimination in Iowa through enforcement of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, has produced fair housing education and outreach materials in languages predominantly spoken and read by refugees in Iowa. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

The US Housing and Urban Development Department awarded ICRC $48,682 to partner with the Iowa Department of Human Rights, EMBARC, and the Genesis Youth Foundation to produce COVID-19-related fair housing information to Iowa’s refugee communities adversely affected by the virus.

The partnership produced ten educational videos featuring refugees sharing their experiences in their own words: Arabic, English, French, Hakha Chin, Karen, Karenni, Kinyarwanda, Krahn, Kunama, and Swahili. Ten translated fair housing brochures are now available in Arabic, Burmese, Hakha Chin, Karen, Karenni, Kinyarwanda, Kunama, French, Somali, and Swahili. The videos were created to educate immigrants and refugees in Iowa on what housing discrimination looks like. This is especially timely because these populations face increased discrimination by landlords because of the misconception that they are more susceptible to COVID-19 due to their race and national origin. All videos and brochures may be accessed on ICRC’s website: 

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Second COVID Relief Package 

On December 27, 2020, the President signed a second COVID relief legislation that extends certain programs and benefits.

CDC Eviction Moratorium

The legislation extends the CDC eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021.  

The moratorium 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. 

Unemployment Benefits

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) has been extended.  Read the U.S. Department of Labor's full press release for eligibility, guidance, dollar amounts, and important dates.  Continue to monitor information and updates on Iowa Workforce Development's website.  

Stimulus Payment

Generally, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return are eligible for this second round of payment.  Eligible individuals will automatically receive a stimulus payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child.  Generally, if you have adjusted gross income for 2019 up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, you will receive the full amount of the second payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced. More information can be found at the IRS website (available in multiple languages).   

If you or someone you love is in an assisted living or long-term care facility, the stimulus payment belongs to the resident, not the facility.  If you suspect that the facility is taking the resident's stimulus payment, contact the Iowa Attorney General's Office or the Federal Trade Commission

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application Deadline Extended through December 31, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to December 31, 2021.  T

To date, the SBA has approved $197 billion in low-interest loans which provide working capital funds to small businesses, non-profits and agricultural businesses to help make it through this challenging time. 

EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. Every eligible small business and nonprofit are encouraged to apply to get the resources they need.

Mental Health Resources

As we start off the new year in 2021, people are thinking about ways to better themselves like improving their physical health. Resolving to take care of your mental health is important as well. Living through a pandemic is causing stress, anxiety, and fatigue.  If you're struggling with mental health, consider reaching out for help.  Know that you are not alone.  Here are some resources to help manage stress, get counseling, and improve your well-being. 

  • COVID Recovery Iowa offers free, confidential virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans affected by COVID-19.  Language interpretation is available.    
    • Warm Line 1-844-775-9276
    • Iowa Concern Line 1-800-1985 
    • Spanish Line 531-800-3687
  • Your Life Iowa - Free, confidential support and resources for problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health. Call 1-855-581-8111, text 1-855-895-8398, or chat at   Language assistance is available. 
  • How Right Now has resources for specific populations and categories of need.  

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.  

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

December 23, 2020

December 11, 2020

November 25, 2020

November 13, 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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