Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

October 15, 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.

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame

The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs invites you to celebrate the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Class of 2021. Six outstanding Latino/Latina/Latinx leaders and advocates will be honored and recognized for their contributions to making significant advances in the fields of social and racial justice, communications, fair wages, journalism, and human rights.

The virtual celebration will be broadcasted via the Iowa Department of Human Rights Facebook page:, on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.  Learn more about the honorees by clicking here:  Biographies

New Low-Income Household Water Program

As part of an ongoing effort to address the financial impact of COVID-19, Iowa has received over $10 million in federal aid to help households that have fallen behind in water bills and are facing disconnection of service or have already been disconnected.

What is Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)? 

The new federal Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) will provide assistance in the form of benefit payments made directly to water vendors on behalf of households for past-due charges, fees, and taxes for drinking and wastewater services.  The program will be administered by the Iowa Department of Human Rights and locally through Iowa’s Community Action Agencies that serve all 99 counties.

What is the application process? 

The application period began October 8, 2021.  Iowans may apply by contacting their local Community Action Agency. To locate the agency nearest you, please visit or call the Iowa Department of Human Rights at 515-281-3861.

Program eligibility mirrors that of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), meaning applicants must qualify to receive federal LIHEAP benefits, total household income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, and a current water crisis must be present. 

When will the program end?

The application period is open year-round.  LIHWAP will run through September 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted. 

To learn more about LIHWAP, visit or contact your local community action agency

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

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 assistance is based on household income, household size, type of fuel, and type of housing. View eligibility guidelines.

The program began accepting applications on October 1, 2021, for households who have a member that is at least 60 years of age, or disabled, or where disconnection is imminent.  All others may apply beginning November 1, 2021.  The last day to apply is April 30, 2022.

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, you may call 2-1-1 or visit, or contact:

     Iowa Department of Human Rights
     321 E. 12th St.
     Des Moines, IA  50319
     515-281-3861 or 1-800-351-4659

An applicant may initiate an appeal if the application was denied, or incorrect facts or improper procedures were used to determine eligibility, assistance amounts, or services. For more information on appeal and hearing procedure in multiple languages, visit Appeal & Hearing Procedure.

Weatherization Assistance Program

Households applying for LIHEAP will also be applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program.  Weatherization is a federal grant program established to help reduce the heating and cooling costs for low income persons, particularly the elderly, disabled, and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, thereby reducing the households’ energy bills. The program also improves the health and safety of low-income homes. 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the many contributions of people with disabilities to the workplace and economy and educates about disability employment issues. Led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We can all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where everyone is recognized for their abilities.

Learn more about Iowans with disabilities:  2020


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Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit November 20, 2021

The Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit’s mission is to bring businesses of diverse backgrounds together to share, learn, and celebrate the immigrant entrepreneurship experience and contribution to the overall community.

The Summit exhibits the success stories of immigrant entrepreneurs. The event strives to create true understanding among different ethnic groups, and business growth tips are shared among immigrant business owners. Keys to success are shared in a creative, competitive, and supportive environment.

     November 20, 2021 8:30am - 5:30pm

     FFA Enrichment Center
     1055 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy
     Ankeny, IA 50023

     Register here: 

Thank you to DHR Director San Wong for being a part of the planning team! 

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 Test Kits 

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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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