Resources for Coping with the Impact of COVID-19

 

We are living in challenging times. We understand that the ongoing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are having a direct, negative effect on each of us.

At NHSSF, we want to let you know that you are not alone, whether you are an individual, a family, or a small business.

We came up with a list of online resources to help Miami-Dade and Broward residents to cope with this crisis.

I have lost my income

If you lost your income, you must apply for cash assistance from the reemployment program immediately. The Reemployment Assistance Program (formerly known as "unemployment assistance") provides help to workers who have either had their hours reduced, been furloughed or laid off.

Prepare the following documentation before you apply:

  • Driver's license or state ID
  • Social Security number
  • Employment details for the last 18 months (name of the company, the reason for not working now, earnings, and dates of work)
  • Work authorization (if not a US citizen)
  • DD-214 Member 2,3,4,5,6,7, or 8 (if a military employee)
  • SF 8 or SF 50 (if a federal employee)

If you have questions, you can reach the program office at 1-800-681-8102.

Creole and Spanish speakers can call the Contact Center at 1-800-204-2418.

 

Capital Good Fund is a nonprofit, certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that helps people fix their finances. CDFI is currently offering three small loan programs for individuals as well as personalized financial and health coaching to families in Florida and other states across the U.S.

You can find more information about the Crisis Relief, Immigration, and Vehicle Purchase or Refinance loan programs here.

 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) launched a new, mobile-friendly online application platform for those seeking reemployment assistance. Follow this link to the new, available application.

 

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I can’t pay the rent

“Right now, there are several protections in place to prevent evictions (of renters and mortgage foreclosures) in Florida and across the country.

As of April 2, there is a forty-five statewide moratorium in effect across Florida. On a national scale, a federal moratorium on certain evictions began on March 27 and will remain in place through July 24. You can find more information concerning state and federal eviction moratoriums here.

In the meantime, even when some counties in the state of Florida are changing their eviction policies to protect renters, the Community Justice Project is keeping track of these policy changes and sharing them here.”

Homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic now have access to the latest information on housing assistance on the new pagehttps://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development created the page to help affected homeowners and renters through the relief process by consolidating CARES Act mortgage relief information, protections for renters, resources for additional help, and information on how to avoid COVID-19 related scams into one central location. This new website also has tools for homeowners to determine if their mortgage is federally backed -and renters can find out if their rental units are financed- by FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.

 

Miami-Dade Police Department and Broward's Sheriff's Office has suspended all eviction activities until further notice. All eviction activities are frozen (e.g., eviction order processing, serving court papers to tenants, or assisting landlords in removing tenants).

 

The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami are offering assistance and appropriate referrals to individuals and families in MD, Broward, and Monroe counties aimed at preventing homelessness.

If you need assistance or information, contact them at newlife@ccadm.org305-573-3333 (for Miami-Dade residents); nembree@ccadm.org / 954-630-9793 (for Broward County residents); monroe@ccadm.org / 305-292-9790 (for Monroe residents).

 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) launched a new, mobile-friendly online application platform for those seeking reemployment assistance. Follow this link to the new, available application.

 

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I can't pay the mortgage

Homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic now have access to the latest information on housing assistance on the new pagehttps://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/

 

If Fannie Mae owns your loan, they’ve created a loan lookup tool with which you can check if you qualify for programs providing payment relief due to COVID-19, like a forbearance plan or loan modification program.

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development created the page to help affected homeowners and renters through the relief process by consolidating CARES Act mortgage relief information, protections for renters, resources for additional help, and information on how to avoid COVID-19 related scams into one central location. This new website also has tools for homeowners to determine if their mortgage is federally backed -and renters can find out if their rental units are financed- by FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.

Citibank's individual and Small Business customers impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for the following assistance, effective Monday, March 9, 2020, for an initial 30 days:

  • Retail Bank: Fee waivers on monthly service fees; waived penalties for early CD withdrawal.
  • For eligible Credit Card Customers: Credit line increases and collection forbearance programs
  • For eligible Mortgage Customers: A range of hardship programs through our service provider, Cenlar FSB.

Click here for more info.

 

Wells Fargo's response to COVID19 is offering their clients assistance with their mortgage payments too.

 

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I can't pay my utility bills

Once the “Safer at home” ordinance was put in place, energy and public service companies announced the temporary suspension of any services disconnection for non-payment (water, sewer, or power light).

 

Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department
https://www.miamidade.gov/releases/2020-03-12-wasd-mayors-statement.asp

Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department is also offering payment assistance to Miami residents unable to pay their water bills.
For more information, call 305-665-7477.

Broward County Water and Sewer Department
https://www.broward.org/WaterServices/Pages/Default.aspx

 

Florida Power and Light
https://www.fpl.com/coronavirus.html

 

Internet Essentials is providing discounted Internet service to low-income families within the Comcast service area. Follow this link for more information or dial 855-848-8376.

 

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I have children and need assistance for my family

Low-income families with children can get financial help from the state's cash assistance program, formerly known as welfare. The Temporary Cash Assistance program provides short-term financial aid to families with children under the age of 18, including single moms and dads as well as pregnant women. The program mandates self-sufficiency, i. e., job training, work requirements, and other objectives must be met.

The ACCESS Florida program is available online and also by phone at 1-850-300-4323, ext. 4323.

The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade WIC program provides healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and family resources to women, infants, children, and families in Miami-Dade County. Pregnant or recently postpartum women or caretakers of children under age 5 are eligible to apply, by appointment only.
Call 786-336-1300 for more info.

New Horizons provides medication maintenance to income-eligible Miami-area residents. Call 305-635-7444 or visit www.newhorizonscmhc.org. 

Camillus Health Concern is providing medication at no cost for Miami-area residents who have no other resources or are homeless. Call 305-577-4840 or visit http://camillushealth.org/.

 

Register your dependents if you are a benefit recipient who doesn't file a tax return

The Economic Impact Payments for several groups of federal benefit recipients will be issued soon. For those benefit recipients with dependents who aren't required to file a tax return, IRS is requesting and extra step to be taken. To add the $500 per eligible child amount to their $1,200 payments, those benefit recipients need to register their dependents through the special non-filers tool by noon ET, Wednesday, April 22.

As a recent IRS press release announces, "those receiving federal benefits – including Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Administration benefits – who have with children and who weren't required file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 should visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool on IRS.gov.

By quickly taking steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they can receive the $500 per dependent child payment automatically in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020."

As for the rest of SSA, SSI, RRB, and VA recipients, they will receive the automatic $1,200 payments in the following weeks, either by direct deposit, DE debit card or by paper check. In any case, just as they would typically receive their benefits and with no action needed from their end.

Remember, if you are a benefit recipient who doesn't file a tax return and have dependents, you are requested to REGISTER YOUR DEPENDENT INFORMATION BEFORE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 12 PM EASTERN TIME. Go to Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool on IRS.gov and don't miss that plus push.

For more info, click here.

 

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I need food (for my family and myself)

If you need to secure food for you or your family, you should apply for the Food Assistance Program (SNAP) immediately. The food assistance provided can be used for buying bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy, among other products. New customers are welcome to apply (people with or whose dependents have now reduced pay/hours). If you apply for SNAP online, you can access multiple benefits in one application. Customer call center is available at 850-300-4323.

Besides, the larger food banks in South Florida are directly distributing fresh food to those who need it most. Below you will find links to Feeding South Florida and Farm Share distribution calendars for April.

 

The Salvation Army of Miami offers bags of food to Miami-area residents in need every week during the COVID-19 outbreak. Food assistance is available by appointment only. To find a Community Center near you, visit https://salvationarmyflorida.org/miami-ac/#about-us.

Finally, Miami-Dade County is providing free meals for the elderly through its program Meals on Wheels. Eligible Meals on Wheels participants receive seven free frozen meals each week at their residence, along with fresh fruit, milk, and other food items. The meals are delivered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. For more info, please call 786-469-4707 or visit Meals for the Elderly

 

To support local farmers faced with a surplus of fresh produce and provide meals to residents in need during the Coronavirus pandemic, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces (Miami-Dade County Parks) has announced the establishment of a food distribution site at:

Location: Tropical Park

Address: 7900 SW 40th St.

                 Miami, FL 33155

Time:       9:00 a.m.

Starting on Saturday, April 18, and then every Tuesday, until further notice – donations will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to anyone in need. There are no age or income requirements.

For more information, you can visit: https://www.miamidade.gov/releases/2020-04-17-parks-food-bank.asp

 

Food distribution across South Florida

Many cities and counties across South Florida continue providing food distribution for the weeks to come. If you need fresh groceries or a grab-and-go meal, check the information provided here:

Miami-Dade

North Miami

Opa-Locka

Broward

 

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I am seeking assistance for students

Broward County Public Schools is providing free breakfast and lunch for students and families, from March 30 to April 15. Access the schools' list/schedule here.

Miami-Dade Public Schools have several assistance programs available for all MD students. Among them a grab-and-go meal distribution at their 31 school locations across the county. Click here for more information.

 

Finally, the CARES Act recently signed includes a relief package to approximately 95% of all federal student loans. Borrowers should receive relief information associated with their loans via mail. Students should check with the provider servicing the loan for details on specific options. More details: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus#borrower-questions

 

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I need support for my business

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here for more information.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is providing loans of up to $50,000 with 1-year terms to small businesses with two to 100 employees.

On the other hand, as part of the CARES Act, the U.S. SBA is providing forgivable loans of up to $10 million per company to provide cash-flow assistance to employers, to help them maintain their payroll during the pandemic: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp. Only participating lenders (such as SBA 7(a) lender, federally insured institutions or farm credit system institution) can process the applications. Your bank might be participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, so check with them first. If you need help or additional info, contact SBA South Florida District at SouthFlorida_DO@sba.gov or call 305-536-5521.

Legal Services of Greater Miami and the Florida Community Development Legal Project are offering FREE legal assistance for nonprofits and small business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the pdf for more info or apply online here.

Download PDF: COVID-19 Small  Business Assistance Information

 

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How to make a mask / Additional support

New CDC guidelines recommended the use of a mask when an individual goes out in public, as an additional prevention measure to social distancing and hand-washing. At the same time, CDC asked that surgical masks and respirators should be saved for health-care workers, who need them the most.

There is still a way to follow both health officials’ recommendations and have a mask on hand whenever you need to go out: Do a mask for yourself.

The Washington Post proposes the following design/fabrics:

Click Here to Watch a Video Tutorial

But if you find the tutorial “How to sew a face mask” too complicated, CDC has a few patterns for you to follow, and there’s even a video from General Jerome Adams showing him making a mask out of cloth and rubber bands only.

 

Help from pastors and emotional care workers is now available through a support hotline launched by the Salvation Army USA.

The hotline number is 1-844-458-HOPE (4673). Workers will be on duty from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Counselors are available for callers who speak English and Spanish. People can leave a message after hours. You can visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray and request a pastor to call.

 

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