PCF HEZ Resources for Residents During COVID-19

This health crisis has pushed our community to the limits, but HEZ collaborative partners are working with state agencies to get resources to people in need. Following is a collection of important services available to our community. We will update information on an ongoing basis, so if you have additional resources that would be valuable to our communities, please forward the information to Robyn Hall at LISC Rhode Island. Robyn is available at rhall @ lisc.org.

Resources below by topic:

1. Food Access
2. To Apply for Unemployment, TDI, & TCI
3. Small Business Assistance and Other CARES Benefits
4. Transportation
5. Childcare, Distance Learning, & Learning/Creativity Resources
6. Health Insurance & Medicaid
7. Housing and Eviction Protection
8. Safety and Support
9. Wireless and Utilities Resources
10. Wellness Resources

 

1. Food Access

Several community partners are providing resources for neighbors looking for food. Call for an appointment.
• Progreso Latino – 401-728-5920 x301.  https://progresolatino.org/food-pantry.
• Central Falls Residents – call: 401-727-7474
• Blackstone Valley Community Action Program — (401) 723-4520 Call for an appointment. http://bvcap.org/emergency-services/

In addition, the following organizations operate food pantries. Please call for available times.

• Bethany Baptist Church (Pawtucket) – 401-724-5520
• St Leo the Great (Pawtucket) – 401-335-3894
• Living Hope Assembly of God (Pawtucket) – 401-723-2039
• First Baptist Church of Pawtucket (Pawtucket) – 401-725-7225
• Covenant Congregational Church (Pawtucket) – 401-724-8546
• Church of the Good Shepherd (Pawtucket) – 401-723-0408
• Blackstone Valley Emergency Food Center (Pawtucket) – 401-724-7170
• Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (Pawtucket) – 401-723-4520
• St John the Baptist Food Pantry (Pawtucket) – 401-722-9054
• Salvation Army of Pawtucket Pantry (Pawtucket) – 401-723-9533
• Holy Family Parish (Pawtucket) – 401-724-9190
• Darlington Congregation Church (Pawtucket) – 401-725-6324
• St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry (Pawtucket) – 401-723-5632
• St. George Episcopal Pantry (Central Falls) – 401-722-9449

RIDelivers: The Governor has recently announced a program to help Rhode Islanders find food to be delivered. If currently under quarantine or isolation due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), RI Delivers can help you access food. For more information, visit http://oha.ri.gov/deliveryoptions/, call 2-1-1 or call the POINT at 401-462-4444.

“Grab and Go” School lunch programs for breakfast and lunch:  Due to the closure of schools, free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. A complete searchable database of food sites for children can be found on the RI Department of Health website: “https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/about/foodsites/

In Pawtucket: breakfast is available from 8–9:30 a.m., lunch from 11–12:30 p.m. For questions, call 401-729-6299.

• Jenks Middle School –350 Division St. Pawtucket, RI
• Goff Middle School –974 Newport Ave. Pawtucket, RI
• Slater Middle School – 281 Mineral Spring Ave. Pawtucket, RI
• Tolman High School –150 Exchange St. Pawtucket, RI
• Shea High School – 485 East Ave. Pawtucket, RI
• Fallon Elementary School – 62 Lincoln Ave. Pawtucket, RI
• Curtis Elementary School – 582 Benefit St. Pawtucket, RI
• Baldwin Elementary School – 50 Whitman St. Pawtucket, RI

Central Falls School District:. For more information: www.centralfallsri.us/coronavirus

• Central Falls High School – 24 Summer St., Central Falls M, W, F 10-12
• Ella Risk – 949 Dexter St., Central Falls M, W, F 10-12
• Segue Institute for Learning – 325 Cowden St., Central Falls M, W, F 8-10
• Learning Community Charter School – 21 Lincoln Ave, Central Falls M, W, F 10-12
• Captain Hunt School – 112 Kendall St., Central Falls M, W, F 10-1

2.  Unemployment Benefits

There are three levels of benefits currently available if you find yourself out of work. Two new categories that are specifically related to COVID-19, as well as the standard unemployment insurance for Rhode Island. In all cases, please apply through the online portal and ensure all of the questions are accurately answered. This will streamline the process and ensure you are getting benefits quickly. With many people accessing the system, patience may be required. Questions for DLT can be emailed to dlt.covid19@dlt.ri.gov or by calling (401) 462-2020.

1. The standard unemployment insurance available to Rhode Islanders who have been laid off from their work is available at: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/fileclaim2.htm or at https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/UIClaims2013/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes This is the standard Internet Claims System for the state benefits. When you apply for this benefit, you will automatically receive an additional $600 each week from the federal benefit created by the CARES Act. This additional benefit is available for 39 weeks beginning April 4 and will not impact income eligibility for SNAP or health insurance like Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In addition, the $600 federal benefit will continue to be paid for the 39 weeks even if you have exhausted your state benefit.

2. For those people who have been laid off as the direct result of the COVID-19 crisis — such as a restaurant or retail shop employee — or are a contract worker, Uber driver, small business owner, worker for higher, self-employed, a hair stylist, and many other professions, you are now able to apply for unemployment insurance through a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and can apply for emergency unemployment insurance benefits. This method will allow you to access the federal benefit of $600 a week for 39 weeks. See here for additional information and the link to apply: https://covidemergencyuibenefits.dlt.ri.gov/

3. The third category available for unemployment insurance is available if your place of business remains open, but you are unable to work because of COVID-19. This benefit is available for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and unable to work, your doctor has recommended you not work because you are high-risk, or you are the sole caregiver for someone who has no place to receive care and cannot stay home alone. This benefit will be rigorously verified and subject to DLT’s Fraud and Eligibility policies.

In addition, there is standard Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) or Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) available for Rhode Islanders. This benefit is available to people who are unable to work as the result of illness, or due to taking care of children or other family members during the crisis. Use this link to apply: https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/TDIReserve/Home/Index.

3. Help for Small Businesses:

The Federal Small Business Administration has made available a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to help small businesses weather the Coronavirus outbreak. These loans are available for businesses, including non-profits, with fewer than 500 employees, sole proprietorships and independent contractors. Certain restrictions apply. Click here for more information: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
• As part of the CARES Act, the federal government has created the Payroll Protection Program designed to help businesses retain employees. It is available for small businesses and non-profits and accessed through your small business lender. The loan is forgivable if certain conditions are met, including retaining employees on the payroll for two months. The program is fully subscribed, but Congress is currently negotiating an extension to this benefit.

4. Transportation:

RIPTA

• To prevent the spread of COVID-19, transit should be used for essential travel only. Passengers are expected to wear cloth face masks while riding the bus, and no more than 15 passengers will be allowed on at a time.
• Both Kennedy Plaza and the Pawtucket Transit center have been closed. Please check here for announcements about reopening.
• To purchase a fare ticket, you can buy online at https://www.ripta/fares-passes. Shipping and handling fees have been waived during this crisis. RIPTA has extended the expiration deadline by at least a month.
• If you’ve lost your reduced or no fare bus pass, you can call RIPTA’s customer service department at 781-9400 and you will receive a temporary card valid through May 31, 2020. Once the photo ID office reopens, you will need to go to RIPTA for a replacement card and pay the $20 replacement fee.
• Currently, regular bus service is running, on regular schedules.
• More information can be found at: https://www.ripta.com/covid-19

RIde Program for People with Disabilities

● The RIde Program is for people with disabilities that prevent the use of fixed-route buses, RIPTA offers paratransit service through the RIde Program, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This service can help riders get to grocery stores and appointments. ADA Paratransit provides door-to-door service and requires advance reservations. Click here for more information: https://www.ripta.com/reduced-fare-bus-pass-program-for-low-income-seniors-and-people-with-disabilities, or call (401) 461-9760 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 pm from Monday through Friday, and between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

• MTM, a national transportation provider contracted with the Rhode Island, is available for non-emergency medical transportation from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. with 24-hour notice. This service is free for eligible Rhode Islanders including Medicaid recipients, non-medical enrollees who qualify for Elderly Transportation, and those currently receiving TANF benefits. In addition, participants in RI Works can receive monthly bus passes to pursue employment opportunities. More information call 1-855-330-9131, or check here: https://www.mtm-inc.net/rhode-island/

5. Child Care, Distance Learning and Learning Resources

• The Governor has closed childcare centers due to the coronavirus, but the state has set up a Rhode Island link on the Care.com website for frontline workers to find private day-care options, and elder-care providers, including volunteers: http://www.care.com/rineed. “Premium” access to the website is free for 90 days.
● Distance learning has been extended until Friday, May 1 and the Governor is expected to make an additional announcement this week on the possibility of continuing through the rest of the school year.
● Rhode Islanders with a smartphone cellular data plan can get unlimited, free data through their phones through May 13th. This will enable students to establish a personal hotspot to help with access to zoom classes and research materials. Click here for additional information on technology resources available: https://www.ride.ri.gov/InsideRIDE/AdditionalInformation/COVID-19TechnologyInformation.aspx
● Cox Communications is also providing two free months of in-home internet for qualifying families. Information on that program is available here: https://www.cox.com/residential/internet/connect2compete/covid-19-response.html
● Verizon is also providing free short-term internet access for qualifying families. Information can be found here: https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/lifeline-link-up-faqs/
● For families struggling with tech concerns or access to the internet, there are volunteers being recruited that will help walk people through set up and troubleshooting. Call 2-1-1 for more information.
● The Pawtucket School Department website has resources on distance learning, links to low cost internet options, and updated information for “grab and go” programs. Those resources can be reached here: https://sites.google.com/psdri.net/pawtucket-disance-learning/home
● The Central Falls School District web site has updates on distance learning resources, technology questions, and meal sites. These resources are available at: https://www.cfschools.net/
● Central Falls School District has a technology hotline available Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. For questions regarding the laptop, internet access or access to Google Drive, call 401-721-2897.
● The Providence Public Schools web page has up-to-date info: https://www.providenceschools.org/. The Distance Learning Hotline phone number is 1-401-456-0686.

6. Health Insurance

HealthSourceRI has extended the limited-time Special Enrollment Period that was created in response to COVID-19. Rhode Islanders can now apply for coverage through April 30, 2020. Coverage will begin on the first of the month following the application. Visit HealthSourceRI.com to enroll; you also can use the web chat or call customer support between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-855-840-4774. Coverage will be retroactive for coronavirus testing or treatment.
• In addition, if you have lost your employee-sponsored health coverage, or got married, had a baby, turned 26 or recently moved to Rhode Island, you are eligible for enrollment for up to 60 days after the qualifying event.
• Because of the state of emergency, health plans issued in RI are now providing temporary additional benefits including expanded access to tele-medicine services, early refills for necessary prescriptions and medical supplies, and free COVID-19 testing. For more information, click here http://www.ohic.ri.gov/documents/2020/April/COVID/Updated%20Consumer%20FAQs.pdf

Medicaid: 
● Rhode Island Medicaid will be suspending all quarterly income verifications and program terminations during this emergency.

7. Housing and Eviction Protection

● The Rhode Island Supreme Court has extended the eviction moratorium until May 17, 2020. If you are unable to pay your rent because of loss of income related to the coronavirus outbreak, it is recommended that you talk to your building manager or landlord, and negotiate a partial payment, if possible.
● For Pawtucket Housing Authority residents, the office will remain closed in accordance with state guidelines, but can be reached by telephone and email. The office is still completing maintenance on a case-by-case basis. Call 401-721-6000 for updates. PHA will continue to post COVID-19 related updates at: https://www.pawthousing.org/public-notice-covid-19
● The Central Falls Housing Authority will also remain closed for in-person visits, but will conduct business over the phone and by email. They will update their COVID-19 response here: http://cfhousing.org/documents/COVID-19.pdf
● On March 18, 2020, the federal government placed a 60-day moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for single-family homeowners who have government-sponsored mortgages (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA-insured). Most mortgages fall into one of these categories.

8. Safety and Support

● BH Link – is a behavioral health facility designed to provide immediate help to a person in crisis. They provide confidential support and a connection to care. bhlink.org/covid19. They can be reached through the hotline at 414-LINK (414-5465), or if you are under 18, call 855-5465.
● Statewide Helpline for Domestic Violence Victims and Survivors 1-800-494-8100 and through chat on the web: www.bvadvocacycenter.org and click “We’re here to Help”; Available 24 Hours a day.
● Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, 401-723-3057: Albion, Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, Manville, and Pawtucket
● If you or someone you know needs help with an addiction, CODAC continues to provide support remotely. To access care call 401-490-0716. For counseling support, call 401-477-0041.
● You can also get confidential support and get connected to care at www.bhlink.org or by calling 401-414-5465. General resources for coping during this crisis can be accessed at www.bhlink.org/covid19.
● Central Falls City: http://www.centralfallsri.us/
● Pawtucket City: http://www.pawtucketri.com/

9. Wireless and Utilities Resources

• Through April 15, the RI Public Utilities Commission) will not allow shut-off service for electric, gas, water, and wastewater utility service for non-payment of bills. This may be extended. Check here for the latest update from the Public Utilities Commission: http://www.ripuc.ri.gov/
• National Grid is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections and penalties for late payments, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has on customers through the end of April. Please note that regular billing and payment schedule will continue for all customers. Customers needing help with paying their bills can go to www.ngrid.com/RICOVID for more information.
• Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint customers with a smart phone and WiFi hot-spot feature can use it for free to access the internet on a computer or tablet with no extra overage fees.
• Cox, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and many other internet and WiFi providers have committed to not shutting off service as a result of a lack of payment and also waiving all late fees during the coronavirus emergency. (Please note that all bills will eventually need to be paid.) For more info and a list of providers: https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.
• Cox Communications is offering Connect2Compete service with the first two months free (and $9.95/month thereafter). To qualify, you must not be an existing Cox internet customer, and your household must: 1) have at least one K- 12 student, 2) participate in the National School Lunch Program, SNAP, and/or TANF, 3) receive Tenant-Based Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers or Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA); and/or live in public housing. For more information: bit.ly/Connect2CompeteCOVID

10. Wellness

• Shri Yoga – Free Online classes for military, educators, first responders, individuals in recovery, and Pawtucket and Central Falls Residents http://shriyoga.org/home.html

• Volunteer Opportunities – If you are interested in volunteering in Central Falls contact Catherine Hidalgo 401-727-7400; United Way also has volunteer opportunities listed. http://volunteer.uwri.org/need/

11.  Accurate Information about COVID-19/Coronavirus

  • Governor Raimondo provides a daily 1 p.m. press conference that is available on local public radio (https://thepublicsradio.org) and streaming online at local news station websites.
  • The RI Department of Health’s COVID-19 page contains accurate and up-to-date information: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/. You can also ask questions by calling the COVID-19 Helpflineat 401-222-8022 or emailing COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 is another resource for accurate, up-to-date information https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
  • Currently individuals experiencing symptoms are encouraged to be tested. This may require a referral or scheduling an online appointment. Please see the Health Department’s page on current testing availability and requirements. https://health.ri.gov/covid/testing/