Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

July 8, 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.

Summer Cooling Assistance

Iowa Community Action Agencies' LIHEAP crisis assistance program offers cooling assistance to eligible households. Eligibility depends on household income, household size, and other factors.  Cooling assistance may include a window air conditioner, fan, or repair of a central air conditioning unit up to $500.  Assistance may also be available for help with past-due electric bills to prevent disconnection of service, or restore service if disconnection has already occurred. 

To apply for crisis assistance, contact your local community action agency

Disaster Assistance

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation for Emmet, Hancock, O'Brien, and Winnebago counties in response to severe weather on July 5.  The governor's proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to, and recover from, the effects of this severe weather.  
In addition, the proclamation activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program, for the four counties.  The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program offers grants to families whose household annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level.  Each qualifying household may receive up to $5,000.00.  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 agency

Serve on Boards and Commissions

Are you interested in serving in a decision-making role in government?  Would you like to play an important role in culture, education, the environment, the economy, health or any other aspect of life in our state?  If so, a good place to start is the Iowa Talent Bank.  Housed at the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the Iowa Talent Bank is the online portal to share your qualifications and interests, and where you go to apply to serve on specific boards and commissions for the State of Iowa. You may also sign up to be a mentor or mentee.  Visit the Iowa Talent Bank website at,  View video on how to set up a Talent Bank account: Watch Video

Talent Bank

Seeking Youth Input on Volunteerism

Congratulations to DHR's youth program participants and AmeriCorps staff for receiving the Governor's Volunteer Award, and thank you for your valuable contributions!  

Youth volunteerism promotes personal growth, fosters civic engagement, and strengthens communities. 

Are you interested in helping the state advance volunteerism? 

Volunteer Iowa, the state agency that promotes volunteerism and service, is in the process of creating the State Service Plan.  The agency is looking for youth to provide their perspective on volunteering.  It is a great opportunity to have your voice heard at a statewide level regarding youth volunteerism.  This one-hour youth focus group can count towards silver-cord hours. Sign up for the session from 4-5 pm on July 12 here: 

Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Free at-home COVID-19 tests are now available for people who are blind or have low vision.  The tests work with a compatible Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and free app to provide users with audible instructions and audible test results.

Tests may be ordered online through the US. Post Office or by calling 1-800-232-0233.  

If you need more assistance, the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) can provide assistance with ordering tests, instructions, and resources.  Call 888-677-1199 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern) or email

COVID-19 Vaccine Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL)

The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is  available to help people with disabilities get vaccinated and access COVID-19 tests and other resources.

DIAL accepts calls from anyone.

DIAL’s staff are trained to work with people of various communications abilities and will spend as much time as needed to ensure effective communication. . 

Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers using relay services can dial 888-677-1199. (People who use TTY relay can first dial 7-1-1, and then relay the 888-677-1199 number). 

To connect directly to an agent in American Sign Language using ASL Now, click ASL Now  (or call 888-677-1199 from your videophone). 


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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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