Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

April 15, 2022

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.

Disaster Assistance

Governor Kim Reynolds recently issued a disaster proclamation for seven counties in response to the April 12 severe weather. The governor's proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to, and recover from, the effects of this severe weather in Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Humboldt, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Winneshiek and Worth counties.  
In addition, the proclamation activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program, for the aforementioned seven counties. The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website at Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim. 
The Disaster Case Management Program addresses serious needs related to disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse conditions. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice, and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor's proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit

American Sign Language Day and Hearing Loss Awareness Month

The Office of Deaf Services and Commission of Deaf Services are a proud part of the Iowa Department of Human Rights that help Deaf and Hard of Hearing Iowans succeed. In April, we celebrate and honor American Sign Language Day (April 15), and Hearing Loss Awareness Month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of Iowans who are Hard of Hearing.  Thank you to Governor Reynolds for issuing the proclamation below. 

Proclamation, ASL, Hearing Loss

Des Moines Playhouse offers ASL-Interpreted Performances

The Des Moines Playhouse offers ASL-interpreted performances of all shows. Upcoming performances include 

  • Pippi Longstocking, 1:00 PM, Sunday, May 1, 2022; 
  • Calendar Girls, 2:00 PM, Sunday, June 19, 2022; and 
  • Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical, 2:00 PM, Sunday, July 24, 2022.

You can read more about these shows at

In addition, The Playhouse has a telecoil hearing loop.  If your hearing aid has a T-coil, you can toggle to that setting to receive the audio signal directly without any headset or other equipment needed.  For those without T-coil, The Playhouse offers listening devices.

For more information on The Des Moines Playhouse, ASL-interpreted performances, and listening devices or to purchase tickets, please contact The Playhouse ticket office at 515.277.6261. Ticket office hours are noon-5:00 PM, Tuesdays through Fridays, and 90 minutes prior to shows on evenings and weekends.

Pippi Longstocking2

Photo credit: The Playhouse

988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022. 

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

The Lifeline’s network of over 180 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005, and has been proven to be effective. It’s the counselors at these local crisis centers who answer the contacts the Lifeline receives every day. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor. Read more (link to The Lifeline) ...

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a number of resources, including resources for Spanish speakers, Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, LGBTQ+, youth, veterans, and Native Americans. 

Juvenile Delinquency Prevention -
Pre-Charge Diversion Funding Opportunity

The Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning was awarded Juvenile Delinquency Prevention discretionary grant funding from the federal Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Iowa Juvenile Justice Advisory Council, state advisory group, has invested additional funds, which will be distributed through this competitive award process. The focus for the funding is for communities to implement or expand pre-charge diversion programs for juveniles over the next five years. For detailed information, please visit

Apply for DHR Youth Programs

Iowa Youth Congress

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 term of Iowa Youth Congress program. Iowa Youth Congress is a diverse and dynamic group made of up to 100 high school aged youth who will get hands-on experience, training, and knowledge in the areas of state government, leadership, advocacy, and civic engagement. Applications are due June 3, 2022. 

To learn more about IYC:

To Apply:

State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 term of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC). SIYAC is a statutory council composed of 21 youth from across Iowa, ages 14-20. Members advocate for youth issues with state and local leaders through advocacy, service, and public awareness. The application and 2 letters of recommendation are due June 3, 2022.

For more information about SIYAC:

To apply:

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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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