Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

February 5, 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.

February is Black History Month

February is Black History month, a federally recognized celebration of the history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans to our state and our country. 

Here are some resources on ways to celebrate and learn about Black History Month:

Additionally, the State Data Center of Iowa and the Department of Human Rights' Commission on the Status of African Americans provide a snap shot of the status of African Americans in Iowa in 2020.  Click image below for additional information. 

AA profile 2020

Click on image for additional pages.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The State of Iowa coronavirus website has a tool where you can find a vaccine provider near you.  Iowa has begun Phase 1B with tiered priority groups, but there continues to be a limited supply of vaccine in Iowa. For details and to locate a provider, visit:

In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced a one-time allocation of unused vaccine for Iowans 65 years old and over.  Appointments can be scheduled at select Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in certain counties.  

For general questions about the vaccine, you may call 2-1-1.  

Marketplace Special Enrollment Period February 15-May 15

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a special enrollment period from February 15 - May 15 through for Marketplace-eligible individuals who are submitting a new application or updating an existing application. The 2021 Special Enrollment Period provides access to health coverage during the pandemic.  Some consumers may already be eligible for other existing Special Enrollment Periods, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and can visit now to find out if they can enroll in the meantime. Starting February 15, consumers seeking to take advantage of the new Special Enrollment Period can find out if they are eligible by visiting Consumers can find local help at or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Assistance is available in 150 languages. The call is free.  Read more...

Tax Season to begin February 12, 2021

The IRS and the Iowa Department of Revenue will begin processing tax returns on February 12, 2021.  Here are some important dates:   

  • February 12. Federal and state individual tax returns start being accepted and processing begins.
  • April 15. Due date for filing federal 2020 tax returns or requesting extension of time to file.
  • April 30. Due date for filing Iowa tax returns.

To read more about the 2021 tax filing season, visit the IRS website. It also contains information on how to claim a recovery rebate credit for people who did not receive or only received partial payment of their stimulus payments. 

The Iowa Department of Revenue website has forms, resources, and answers to tax questions.  

Legislative Session

The Iowa legislature is in session. Legislators are meeting in person and have put in place some protocols for 2021.  The legislature's website has information on legislators, bills, schedules, committee meetings, and how the public can participate and submit comments.  Visit  

Language Access

The U.S. healthcare system can be hard to navigate, especially for newcomers.  CORE Resettlement Support Center has compiled some COVID-19 related resources in multiple languages. Languages include Amharic, Burmese, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, Ukranian, and more.  Fact sheets, videos, and podcasts are also available. 

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)

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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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