Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

March 19, 2021

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 Accepting Applications from Youth 

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is accepting applications for the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) and Iowa Youth Congress (IYC) for the 2021-2022 membership term. There is no cost to apply or participate. Applications are due June 4. 

State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC)

The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) is comprised of 21 youth members from across Iowa between the ages of 14-20. SIYAC is a statutory council that provides input to the Governor, legislature, and communities about important issues that affect youth. 
   To learn more: 
   To apply:  
   Letter of recommendation:

                           Hear from SIYAC member Kunal Chugh (1)

"The Iowa Department of Human Rights is currently looking for passionate, motivated, and
dedicated youth from across Iowa to apply for appointment to SIYAC. Youth participation in all levels of government can be a powerful way to be part of the decision-making process."  Read full article by Kunal.  

Iowa Youth Congress           

The Iowa Youth Congress program provides an opportunity for a diverse group of up to 100 Iowa high school-aged youth to learn about the legislative process, leadership skills, civic engagement, and advocacy. 
   To learn more about IYC: 
   To apply: 

Resources for victims of crime or discrimination

With the increase in reports of racially motivated crime and discrimination nationally, it is important to know that there are resources and supports available. The stressful experience of crime, mistreatment, and discrimination can cause psychological, emotional, and physical effects. It affects individuals in different ways, whether it happens to you or someone in your community.  Resources are available to help you navigate and receive services.   

  • Get medical help as necessary.  
  • Anyone experiencing a hate crime or or other violent crimes should call the police and 911 as soon as possible.
  • FBI: After reporting to the local police, if you have information concerning the commission of violent acts or threats due to race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected class, contact your local FBI field office. You can find a list of field offices at FBI online tip form:
  • Coping with Crime Victimization and additional resources (FBI) 
  • U.S. Department of Justice: If you believe you are a victim of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected classes, you can find information about how to file a complaint at  Complaints of employment discrimination can be filed with the EEOC at  You can also contact the Civil

    Rights Division at toll-free 855-856-1247 or 202-514-3827. In addition, the Division provides resources at (disability-related topics) and (language access information).

  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission: The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit, public, accommodations, and education. Discrimination, or different treatment, is illegal if based on race, color, creed, national original, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, age, and credit. For more information or to file a complaint, you may contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission at or call 1-800-457-4416. 
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness( NAMI) Identity and Cultural Dimensions

Iowa Utilities Board Working with 211 to resolve dialing 

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) and 211 Iowa are partnering to address concerns that some Iowa residents are experiencing difficulty in connecting with 211 Iowa services.  211 Iowa is a free, comprehensive information and referral system linking Iowa residents to health and human service programs, community services, disaster services and governmental programs. The 211 service is also providing 211 Vaccine Navigator services to assist qualified Iowans seeking to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Some residents in Marion County and the 319 area code have reported issues when dialing 211 from their landline phone. Calls have failed to connect or result in an automated message that the number has been disconnected. Although the cause of the issue is still being investigated, it may be associated with local phone carriers and the IUB is working to identify the source of the issue.

Residents who are experiencing difficulties connecting to 211 Iowa are encouraged to contact the IUB Customer Service toll-free at 877-565-4450. IUB Customer Service staff is available to assist Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The IUB will seek customer information to track down the issue with the customer’s phone carrier and connect the customer to 211. Any Iowa resident can also call 211 Iowa’s toll-free line at 800-244-7431 to speak with a trained and certified 211 operator and access any of the services provided by 211.

CMS Updates Nursing Home Visitation Guidance 

On March 10, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued updated guidance for nursing homes to safely expand visitation options during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency (PHE). The State of Iowa will be issuing an updated guidance document. View the fact sheet: CMS Nursing Home Guidance with Revised Visitation Recommendations.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.  FEMA is working to provide finance assistance in April. 

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

FEMA is working dedicating a toll-free number to be used.  For more information, updates, and how to apply, visit

Rent and Utility Assistance

The CDC eviction moratorium is scheduled to end March 31, 2021.  Although the moratorium has not been extended, help may be available through the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. The program may provide eligible Iowans with assistance for a period of up to 12 months. The full application is anticipated to be available in late March. Eligibility precheck is now available. Visit

Note: Polk County and the City of Des Moines will be administering the program locally. Therefore, Iowans residing in either Polk County or the City of Des Moines will be ineligible to apply for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program. More information on the program that may assist Polk County and City of Des Moines residents is available at IMPACT Community Action Partnership

Federal Tax Filing and Payment Deadline for Individuals Extended to May 17

The federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.  The IRS will provide formal guidance in the coming days. Read the IRS full press release for more details and other applicable dates.

Iowa income tax returns are due on April 30, 2021

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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