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Beyond unemployment: programs and resources that can help

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Beyond unemployment: programs and resources that can help

By Kai Dickerson Community Specialist

This is an incredibly challenging time. So many of us are facing #unemployment, waiting for benefits to kick-in, or a relief check to arrive. To make matters even harder – we are in the middle of historic economic and social unrest. While we are looking for work, and trying to regain our lives, we wanted to share some options for additional help that may be available to you.

Help with rent

Here’s a list of organizations that can help on a short term basis. 

  • Catholic Charities has emergency assistance to help you pay your rent. Scroll down and look up your local church for more information
  • Local Housing Authorities are a good source of short term housing assistance
  • Modest Needs offers grants of up to $1,000 to cover one emergency expense
  • The Salvation Army offers special one-time assistance to help you pay your rent
  • 211.org is a phone hotline and website, run by the United Way, where you can speak directly with someone to get help with your rent (and other needs)

Help with food

Food insecurity is a real problem in our country during normal times, and in the face of #Coronavirus , the effects of this issue are felt even more broadly. Fortunately, federal and local programs have ramped up available resources to residents. Food pantries can be a good resource in tough times. Don’t go hungry. A food pantry may be able to help is an article that explains how they work. If you want to find a local food pantry, and see if you qualify, visit the Food Pantries website, and use the drop down to select your state.

Help with utilities

Most basic utility providers: oil, gas, electric, and water, are pledging to avoid cutting off service for nonpayment. Contact your local utility provider (contact information will be on your bill) for details on the programs and options they may be offering. 

Many internet companies have agreed not to disconnect residential or small business customers who can’t pay their bills and some are even offering free internet for families with school-aged children at home. 

  • AT&T offers relief for both regular and pre-paid accounts, and also allows for certain fees to be waived
  • Comcast has a free Internet Essentials package for new customers and number of programs and select fee waivers
  • Cox has a payment relief program if you can’t pay due to COVID
  • RCN is committed to helping its customers with bills if they can’t pay due to Coronavirus
  • Sprint is expanding some of it’s services (for free) and waiving some fees 
  • T-Mobile is waiving certain fees and offering payment plans for people who are experiencing financial difficulties 
  • Verizon is protecting customers with financial hardship from select fees and shutoffs 

A full list of companies who have commit to keep Americans connected is available on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) site.

Please note: some companies may want customers to call, or submit a form to request these programs, some require proof of reduced income, and some automatically offer it to everyone. 

Health Insurance

If you lack health insurance coverage, you may be able to get subsidized insurance. To check if your state has opened health care exchanges Google your state and review the available plans and programs. Be sure to click on the result that is from the state – it will have a web address that ends in “.gov”.

Money for expenses

According to a recent survey by Credit Karma, more than 80% of Americans are not aware of what financial help is available to them during the Coronavirus. And the longer this continues, the more we are in need of help.

Many local governments have received federal money to help residents with funds to cover basic expenses, like Florida’s Brevard County, which has pledged $4.4 million to help support locals in meeting their needs. To find more information about your local government’s support resources during this time perform a Google search with the following: “{Name of your locality} help and resources for Coronavirus”. This will bring up search results that you will provide you with helpful resources. To avoid scams be sure to only click on links that end in .gov or are from reputable news sources. 

Many local and national nonprofits are supporting Americans with rapid grants to cover everything from basic expenses to internet access — check this list of resources for some of the latest emergency grant opportunities for individuals and small businesses. Most require a simple online form application, making the process straightforward and easy.

Read this original article here

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