Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

April 2, 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.

COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring an end to the pandemic. Vaccines have shown to be effective at helping protect people from getting the virus. When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, your family & your community.

Do you have questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness? Here's what you need to know:  CDC website. (CDC website available in multiple languages).  

Beginning April 5, 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all eligible Iowans. Iowans 16 and older can receive a Pfizer vaccine.  Iowans 18 and older can get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  The vaccine is free regardless of insurance or immigration status.  If you do not have insurance or photo ID, you can still be vaccinated.  If you have health insurance, vaccine providers may charge an administration fee to your insurance, but the vaccine will always be provided at no cost. Check with the vaccine provider on what to bring to the appointment. Iowans can receive the vaccine in any Iowa county regardless of their home address. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Websites

The State of Iowa has a website dedicated to the COVID-19 vaccine information. Visit to locate a provider and for resources.  The website is available in multiple languages.

The website helps people find information about providers who offer select vaccines. VaccineFinder shows you locations that have available COVID-19 vaccines. VaccineFinder will provide you with a link to schedule the appointment through the location’s website or with a phone number to call to make an appointment.

CDC Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines in Multiple Languages


Iowans with barriers to scheduling an appointment who are 65 and older, or 16-64 with underlying health conditions, can call 211 or 1-800-244-7431 for assistance to schedule an appointment. The call center is open 7 days a week 8 am - 5 pm (not available on Sunday, April 4).  Language assistance is available for the 211 services. 

The multilingual hotline can also help schedule appointments for English Language Learners.  Call 1-877-558-2609 Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. 

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Rent and Utility Assistance, Mortgage Assistance

Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program

The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program may provide eligible Iowans with assistance for a period of up to 12 months.  For details and eligibility, visit or call the Housing Recovery Help Line 855-300-5885 or 515-348-8813.

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 or call 515-518-4770.

COVID-19 Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program 

Mortgage payment assistance is available for income-eligible homeowners impacted by COVID-19 who are at risk of foreclosure.  The program may provide mortgage assistance up to four months (this can include up to two months in arrears) beginning with April 1, 2020 mortgage payment, ($3,600 maximum).  For more information and eligibility, visit or call the Housing Recovery Help Line 855-300-5885 or 515-348-8813.

CDC Eviction Moratorium Extended through June 30, 2021

The CDC has extended its eviction moratorium to further prevent the eviction of tenants who are unable to make rental payments. The moratorium that was scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021, is now extended through June 30, 2021. 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. 

FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is an FCC program that provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.  The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

The FCC expects the program to be open to eligible households before the end of April 2021.  For updates, eligibility, benefits, and information, visit

Federal and State Tax Filing and Payment Deadline for Individuals Extended 

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.

The deadline for filing the 2020 Iowa income tax returns has been extended through June 1, 2021

The Iowa Department of Revenue states that because Iowa is a state that automatically conforms with the Internal Revenue Code, certain unemployment compensation will not be included in Iowa income. Based on the federal legislation, the first $10,200 of unemployment compensation income is excluded from taxation for qualifying taxpayers. Click here for more information. 

U.S. Department of Labor Launches Website for Victims of Unemployment Fraud

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website (available in Spanish) for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims. 

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources. Site developers recruited actual victims of unemployment benefit theft to test the site and confirm its instructions were clear and easy-to-understand.  

2021 Special Enrollment Period Access Extended to August 15 on for Marketplace Coverage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) until August 15, 2021.  Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums, can visit or to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area:

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 Hate Crimes  (multiple languages)
  • 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

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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