Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

July 22, 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.

We are Hiring!

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is seeking to fill two AmeriCorps positions to work with youth.  For details and how to apply, click the links below:

People You Should Know 

PYSK - A Baum

Our People You Should Know series introduces you to Iowans who give their skills, talents and knowledge to make a real difference in Human Rights in Iowa. This month we feature Alex Baum, Director of Initiatives of Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

Learn about Alex Baum and other People You Should Know by following us on Youtube. 

Do you know someone who should be highlighted in "People You Should Know"? Nominate them here!

32nd Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

The Iowa Department of Human Rights is proud to support the 32nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  On July 26, we celebrate this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Did you know?

Did you know that the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office of Persons with Disabilities is knowledgeable about ADA accessibility of facilities and grounds?  If you are interested in learning more about structural accessibility requirements, call 1-888-219-0471.

Client Assistance Program

If you are an Iowan with a disability, the Client Assistance Program is your source for referrals, information, or advice about how to overcome obstacles you may encounter by way of living a healthy, independent, productive life--with a particular emphasis on employment.   The program assists individuals who encounter conflicts with programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act which include:

  • Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  • Iowa Department for the Blind
  • Centers for Independent Living
  • Other agencies funded under the Rehabilitation Act

The Client Assistance Program helps people with disabilities receive quality services by advocating for their interests and helping them identify resources, understand procedures, resolve problems, and protect their rights in the rehabilitation process, employment, and independent living services.  To help resolve conflicts, the Client Assistance Program advocate may use negotiation, mediation, conflict resolution, and at times, legal means.

The Client Assistance Program is operated by the Iowa Department of Human Rights' Office of Persons with Disabilities.  For more information, and to watch a video on the Client Assistance Program, visit

Recreation Area Planned for All Ages and Abilities

We celebrate with Polk County Conservation in its plans to build a recreation area that will offer access to people of all ages and abilities. The North Shore Recreation Area at Easter Lake Park plans to open in the Spring of 2024.  According to Polk County's website, the planned accessible amenities will include ADA accessible pontoon boats; quiet, de-escalation rooms for people with sensory input disorders; extra-wide concrete paths for wheelchairs and walkers; and more.  For more information, visit

Weather Safety Information for Iowans Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Many of us are familiar with outdoor warning sirens that alert us to severe weather threats such as tornadoes and flash floods.  These types of audible alerts present challenges to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing during an emergency.  There are devices that are available to help individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing stay safe and informed.  There is equipment with visual alarms such as flashing lights, text readouts, and some with vibration or a shaking component such as bed shakers.   

For more information on weather radios and other devices, visit the links below. 

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

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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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