As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact our communities, the Iowa Department of Human Rights remains committed to helping vulnerable Iowans who are facing greater challenges during this uncertain time. Our staff is working remotely certain days of the week, but we are still here to serve our communities and our partners. We can be reached at 1-800-351-4659 or 515-242-5655, or through the Contact Us Form.
Information is rapidly changing, and we want to help you be prepared. Below are some information and resources to help Iowans stay informed to protect themselves and their families and get the help they need. Please visit the websites, call, and follow social media outlets to stay up to date. This page will be updated regularly, so please check back often. This information is to educate and inform Iowans and does not constitute legal advice.
Where can I get reliable health information on the coronavirus?
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, and local health agencies provide important information to help prepare for and protect against the coronavirus. Public health officials have issued guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus: stay home if you're sick, wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer if a sink is not available, disinfect surface areas, practice social distancing, and stay in touch with your doctor.
- Iowa Department of Public Health
- State of Iowa Website-Coronavirus
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Local Public Health Agencies
- Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Is there information in languages other than English?
Resources are available in print, video, captioned, and translated materials. Topics include health and safety, emergency preparedness, and travel, among others. Please visit our Language Access page as more resources are added.
- CDC Resources in Languages other than English
- Iowa Department of Public Health-English Language Learners
- Iowa Department of Public Health-Translated Health Education Materials
- Embarc (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center)
- American Sign Language-CDC Youtube Videos
DocumentSpanish-Information for Undocumented Iowans.pdf (128.98 KB)DocumentInformation for Undocumented Iowans.pdf (120.72 KB)
DocumentCOVID-19 Public Fact Sheet_Spanish.pdf (101.7 KB)
- LULAC's COVID-19 Information And Resources for the Community in Spanish
Where can I call with questions about the coronavirus?
- Vaccine information and resources: vaccinate.iowa.gov and vaccines.gov
- Iowans may call the coronavirus hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431 to speak with someone 24/7.
- For deaf and hard-of-hearing Iowans, dial 7-1-1 first for the Telecommunications Relay Service to reach the 2-1-1 hotline.
DocumentMultilingual Hotline COVID-19 (157.08 KB)
- Spanish Help Line 515-344-3936
What special considerations are there for underserved populations?
Some populations are more at risk for coronavirus or impacts of social distancing. These communities include persons with disabilities, caregivers, elderly, youth, and households with mixed or undocumented status. The Iowa Department of Public Health has compiled some resources and information for people facing additional risk.
- Iowa Department of Public Health-Resources for Underserved Populations (use the google translate button to view in other languages)
Where can I get help if I can’t pay my utility bill?
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps individuals and families meet the partial cost of home heating through a one-time payment made directly to the utility or heating vendor. The Department of Human Rights administers this program through its network of local community action agencies. Applications are being accepted through June 30, 2020. If you are facing disconnection or need assistance with your home energy bill, contact your local community action agency for eligibility guidelines.
- Your local community action has other types of help available such as food and clothing pantries, emergency assistance, and other services.
- You may also contact your utility company to discuss a payment plan if you are unable to pay your bills.
Can I be evicted if I can't pay my rent?
CDC Eviction Moratorium
For information about the CDC's eviction moratorium and extensions, please visit https://www.cdc.gov and their FAQ page. (1/21/21)
Where can I get assistance if I am facing eviction or foreclosure? (May 29, 2020) (updated 7/31/20) (updated 2/5/21)
- Iowa Finance Authority Housing Assistance Programs
1-855-300-5885; 515-348-8813 (English and Spanish)
- Des Moines Residents: Rental/Mortgage Assistance program provides one-time or short-term emergency payments. For eligibility requirements and program details, call IMPACT Community Action Agency 515-274-9496.
- West Des Moines Residents: West Des Moines Human Services offers emergency financial assistance with rent, utilities, fuel, and other help. Call 515-222-3660.
- Eviction Rights, translated flyers
Where can I go for legal advice?
Iowa Legal Aid, in partnership with the Iowa State Bar Association and Polk County Bar Association's Volunteer Lawyers Project, has a hotline dedicated to answer questions related to coronavirus such as evictions, unemployment, protective orders, and access to courts. If you are experiencing legal problems due to the pandemic, call the hotline below and leave a voicemail. A representative will contact you for additional information and connect you to an attorney. Please visit Iowa Legal Aid's website for additional topics and guidance.
- Iowa Legal Aid-Coronavirus Information (also available in Spanish) Call 1-800-332-0419
- Iowa State Bar Association - Find a Lawyer
I have been laid off from work. How do I file for unemployment? (Updated April 6, 2020)
If you are laid off due to COVID-19 or have to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, you can receive unemployment benefits, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements. Work search requirements will be waived. More specific explanation of benefit eligibility can be found on the Iowa Workforce Development's Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook. Claimants can expect to receive payment within 7-10 days after the claim is filed. Under the federal CARES Act, individuals who are already eligible for unemployment benefits, will receive $600 per week, in addition to their regular unemployment benefits. The first week a claimant can be compensated on this benefit is the week beginning March 29, 2020, and the last week is the week ending July 25, 2020. .
- You may visit the Iowa Work Development's website to review eligibility guidelines for unemployment, application process, and updates. Information is available in other languages. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-239-0843.
- Iowa Workforce Development Outlines Cares Act Benefits and Implementation (4/6/20)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and State Extended Benefits (5/29/20)
- Iowa Workforce Development-Youtube Videos
I don't have health insurance. What help is available? (6/8/20) (updated 7/31/20)
Iowa Department of Human Services - Iowans who do not have health coverage and wish to be tested for COVID-19 may complete an application for COVID-19 Testing Coverage. Uninsured Iowans may also apply for full medical benefits to cover services other than testing.
TeleMobile Clinic Website The University of Iowa Telemobile Clinic offers free telemedicine appointments for patients who are uninsured. The Telemobile Clinic can help with chronic diseases and medications, acute minor medical illnesses, mental health, and signing up for insurance. Text or call 319-535-2684; Telemobile Clinic, Multilingual Videos
Primary Health Care (PHC) Respiratory Clinic, 2401 SE 14th St., Des Moines, Iowa. Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00. Call 515-248-1400
- Broadlawns Medical Center - Symptomatic patients may go to Broadlawns Urgent Care at the hospital. 1801 Hickman Rd., Des Moines, Iowa. Monday-Friday, 8 am -8 pm, Saturday 9 am - 3 pm.
How do I report my experience in racism or discrimination?
- Anyone experiencing a hate crime should call the police.
- Iowa Department of Public Safety-Report Hate Crimes 515-281-5138
- Iowa Attorney General’s Office/Victim’s Assistance Programs 1-800-373-5044
- 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 email@example.com or call 1-800-457-4416.
DocumentU.S. Department of Justice (150.39 KB)
How can I tell if information is a scam, rumor, or incorrect?
It is important to obtain information from trusted resources like the CDC, state, and local government. The Iowa Department of Public Health is the leading public health agency in Iowa. Call the official sources to verify information. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis. Watch out for fake tests, cures, price gouging, insurance fraud, and requests (in-person or otherwise) for money and personal information. At this time, there are no cures, home tests, vaccines, drugs, or products to treat or prevent the virus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Price gouging is when prices for needed goods or services are substantially raised, and it is illegal. Beware of emails that claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or experts; don't click on links from sources you don't know. Do your homework when it comes to charities and donations.
- Click on our Myth Busters page for more information.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-Rumor Control
- Iowa Attorney General Consumer Alert 1-888-77-4590
- Federal Trade Commission - Avoid Coronavirus Scams
- World Health Organization - Myth Busters
Who can I talk to when I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed?
It is important to maintain your well-being during stressful times. There are things you can do to support yourself such as staying healthy, eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, connecting with others, and taking breaks. The Iowa Department of Public Health and Department of Human Services have resources on coping with stressful situations.
- Call 2-1-1 for crisis help or service referrals
- Your Life Iowa -Chat live, call 1-855-581-8111, text 1-855-895-8398
- COVID Recovery Iowa offers free virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans affected by COVID-19.
- Iowa Concern line 800-447-1985; Spanish line 531-800-3687
- COVID Recovery Iowa Flyers: English, Spanish, Spanish Parents, Spanish Teen, Spanish Pre-Teen, Swahili
- Iowa Department of Human Services-Disaster Assistance Hotline 1-800-447-1985
- CDC-Managing Stress and Coping
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (English) (Spanish)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAM)/Iowa
Where can I find food assistance? (updated 4/13/20)
The State of Iowa and community organizations have programs to provide food assistance based on your situation.
- Local community action agencies have various types of help available such as food and clothing pantries, emergency assistance, and other services. Contact the local agency to see what type of assistance is available in your area.
- Local Food Bank - (English) (Spanish)
- Food Pantries - View the list of food pantries and requirements for assistance (photo ID, household information, etc.). Call 2-1-1 for a food pantry locations.
- Department on Aging - Local agencies provide delivered or drive-through meals and emergency nutrition services for Iowans age 60 and over. Lifelong Links hotline 1-866-468-7887
- Department of Education -
- USDA Find a meal site when schools are closed; call 2-1-1 or 1-866-3HUNGRY; or text "FOOD" or "COMIDA" to 877-877.
- Iowa Department of Human Services - Apply for Food Assistance
- Iowa Department of Public Health - Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Volunteer Iowa - Learn more about foods banks and pantries and volunteer opportunities.
For more state agencies and resources, please visit https://coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Office of the Governor of Iowa (press releases, proclamations)
Iowa Department on Aging (resources, tools, and support for seniors)
Iowa Attorney General's Office (consumer protection, crimes, victim assistance, legal assistance)
Iowa Economic Development Authority (business guidance)
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) (family services, assistance programs, Medicaid)
Iowa DHS Childcare Availability Map (availability of childcare providers)
Iowa Legal Aid- Information available in Spanish (evictions, foreclosures, civil cases, housing, domestic violence, employment issues)
Iowa Department of Revenue (taxes)
Iowa Workforce Development (unemployment benefits)