COVID-19 Resources

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting households across the country, and having disproportionate economic and health impacts for low income families and seniors. This crisis underscores the foundational role of quality housing in our health.  Stable, quality housing is essential to overcome this crisis and restore and sustain our collective health and wellbeing. 

Residents are facing growing financial hardships, increased food insecurity, increased social isolation, and an acute need for virtual health options. CORES is compiling a selection of resources to support resident services practitioners – both to support an immediate response to COVID-19; and to support organizations as they shift from their emergency response, to stabilizing families, properties, and communities, and to planning for a more resilient future. We have also included a selection of resources on public health and rental property operations shared by trusted institutions and partners towards the bottom of this page.

We will be updating this page every few weeks with additional resources, templates, and capacity building tools. Please contact us if you have any resources/tools your organization has developed or external resources that you think could be helpful to your peers.

You can also sign up for our newsletter to learn about new resources and tools, upcoming trainings/webinars, and other industry updates.

Resources last updated 10/8/2020

Tools for Frontline Staff

This is a selection of resources including (1) guidance for frontline staff working in communities impacted by Coronavirus, (2) resources and toolkits that focus on individual interventions as well as organizational strategies to promote self-care for staff, (3) sample household assessment tools that can be used by frontline staff as they work with residents in this crisis, and (4) communications tools being used by frontline staff. 

Resources that practitioners have provided are shared in the spirit of peer exchange, and are not intended as guidance or recommended as best practices.  As this health crisis evolves, and we get additional guidance from policymakers and regulators, organizations will continue to adapt their tools and policies.

 

Guidance for Frontline Staff

Frontline Staff Support & Self Care

Household Assessments

Communications Tools for Staff

Peer Exchange Recordings & Webinars

NeighborWorks America and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) have partnered to host a series of peer exchanges across their networks to support resident service practitioners during COVID-19. Please check back for additional webinar and peer exchange opportunities.

  • Responding to School Closures – Supporting Youth and Families (4/3/2020): Recording Link
    The event featured peers from the NeighborWorks and SAHF networks (The Community Builders and People's Self Help Housing), discussing how their organizations are addressing digital connection and communication issues, educational resources, and food distribution in their properties and communities.
  • Adjusting Resident Services Models - Supporting Seniors During the Covid-19 Crisis (4/16/2) Recording Link
    The webinar event featured sharing from members of the SAHF and NeighborWorks networks (Volunteers of America, St Mary Development Corporation, and National Church Residences), discussing how their organizations are addressing changes in staffing and program models, evolving communication strategies with residents, and balancing efforts to promote social distancing and to reduce senior isolation in their properties and communities.
  • Developing and Launching a Rental Assistance Program (5/4/20) Recording Link . The password to access the recording is 2v%&134m
    This webinar event featured Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership's initiative to support families during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis through the development of a rental assistance program. They walked through the development of their Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), the mechanics of how the program operates from both the resident and staff perspectives, and highlighted what they've learned during the process.


    Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership's Materials Shared in Presentation:
    - Sample ERAP Tenant Insert (included with late notices)
    - ERAP Flowchart
    - COVID Response ERAP Policy & Guidelines
    - Blank ERAP Contract (between Program Administrator & Property)
     
  • Eviction Prevention Programs during COVID-19(5/28/20) Recording Link
    This webinar provided an overview of financial counseling and eviction prevention program practices and highlighted some key strategies used to respond to COVID. The presentation slides can be downloaded here. Please also see the Eviction Prevention Tip Sheet, developed by NeighborWorks America  specifically for those providing eviction prevention services during COVID-19.

  • Summer Youth Programs (6/8/20)  Recording Link
    As states begin phasing in reopening plans, affordable housing owners and resident services practitioners are grappling with the best way to support families --  and particularly youth -- during the summer months. Many have made the difficult decision to suspend traditional in-person summer camps and youth programs this summer, but are developing alternative models for engaging and supporting youth. Mercy Housing California shared their new virtual initiative, “Mercy Housing Learning”, launched through Instagram and Operation Pathways/NHP Foundation shared their model for a virtual summer youth employment program.

    - Presentation Slides: Mercy Camp & Introductory Slides and Operation Pathways - Summer Youth Employment Slides
    - Handout: Mercy Youth Registration Form -  Summer Program
    - Handout: Mercy Curriculum Template
    - Handout: Mercy Ambassador Flyer
    - Handout: Mercy - Technology Loan Check-Out Forms

  • Digital Equity & Access in Affordable Housing (8/11/20) Recording Link
    While it is commonly understood that we increasingly live our lives “online,” the sweeping changes required by the COVID-19 crisis spotlight the essential nature of connectivity for health, stability, and economic well-being. With access to a high-speed internet connection and a fully capable device, many people were able to transition to remote work, education, socialization, and healthcare. But for millions of people of limited economic means, this transition has left them with greater disadvantages than before. Residents of affordable housing communities face steep barriers to the in-home connections that are essential to access healthcare, financial support, and social connection; and that help to reduce social isolation. Presenters offer framing on the state of the digital divide in the context of affordable housing, and share some pilot solutions and early learnings gained through interviews with practitioners, internet service providers, and partners working in the digital access space.


  • Additional Webinars

  • National Housing Resource Center hosted a webinar to break down Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the CARES Act. Learn about eligibility requirements, the unemployment insurance process (under CARES), and receive guidance on how to help residents navigate the application process. 4/22/2020
    Note: Detailed guidance starts around minute 18 in the recording.

Resources for Residents

In order to support resident services practitioners, we are collecting and highlighting resources to help address many of the critical needs identified by residents now andto help build a road to a more equitable recovery.

 

Digital Access Resources

Residents of affordable housing may be fortunate to be stably housed, but are facing growing financial hardships, increased food insecurity, increased social isolation for seniors, and an acute need for virtual health options. All of these challenges are made more difficult by the fact that so many low income Americans lack in-home affordable high-speed internet connections and devices that fully support educational, employment, and health needs.

Resources last updated 7/28/20

Low Cost Devices and Software

Reduced Rate Services and Free Hot Spots - Internet Plan Listings

Reduced Rate Services - Specific Internet Offers 

  • Comcast Internet Essentialsis offering 2 free months of service
    COVID-19 Response:  Internet Essentials will be free to new customers. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. UPDATED:
    New customers must apply before the end of 2020.

    • Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
    • Xfinity WiFi Free for Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free until the end of 2020 – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
    • Data overages will no longer apply until June 30th. 
    • Comcast's bad debt relief/amnesty program will be extended through June 30th.
    • No Disconnects or Late Fees: Comcast will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact them to let them know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Comcast care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions. 

      For more information and updates from Comcast related to Coronavirus, visit: 
      https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19

  • T Mobile - is halting Data Caps and offering Reduced Hot Spots
    COVID-19 Response: While T-Mobile does not have a low-cost offer, it has announced that starting now, all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data until June 30, excluding roaming. Most subscribers already have unlimited data, but now people who may be on an older plan with a data allotment have unlimited data.  Also, until June 30, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers have the ability to add 10GB of mobile hotspot data for the next two months (20GB total).

    For more information go to:  https://www.tmonews.com/2020/03/t-mobile-metro-unlimited-data-mobile-hotspot-coronavirus/

     
  • Cox is providing 1-month free internet for new customers through its Connect2Compete program. Through Connect2Compete new Cox customers get their first month of service free and pay $9.95/month thereafter

    • Connect2Compete offers download and upload speeds up to 50 Mpbs

    • Families with K-12 children are eligible if they qualify for SNAP, National School Lunch, and/or TANF; receive Tenant-Based Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance; and/or who live in public housing

    • Cox is available in 19 states - https://broadbandnow.com/Cox-Communications

  • Charter Communications/Spectrum - is offering high-speed internet access for students and seniors through Spectrum Internet Assist for $17.99/month.
    - Available for households with one or more recipients of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP of the NSLP, or SSI (for applicants age 65+)

    • Available for households with one or more recipients of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP, or SSI (for applicants age 65+)
    • Spectrum Internet Assist offers speeds at 30/4 Mbps and no data caps
    • This offer is not valid for current Spectrum internet subscribers or any former Spectrum customers with outstanding debt
    • They do not require a contract of any kind
    • For more information: https://www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist.html
    • To apply customers must submit a mail in application form, available online: https://www.spectrum.com/content/dam/spectrum/residential/en/pdfs/spectrum-internet-assist/Nov2019_SIA_Eligibility_Form_FINAL_REV.pdf

      COVID19 Response: Free 60-day broadband/free wifi offer for households with K-12 or college students is valid for non-customers and customers that may have just joined before June 30
      • If cable is not run to your house, the person I spoke with said that if you live in a  community served by Charter/Spectrum, they will do the install with no fee. (I find that hard to believe, but I asked him twice and he said "no installation fee") If you've been a Charter/Spectrum customer for TV or phone but not internet (or if you've added internet within 30 days), the offer is valid
      • Current customers adding free internet must have accounts "in good standing" Offer is not valid for those current or former customers with bad debt
      • They do not require a contract of any kind
      • To sign up, call 1-844-488-8395 or visit your local Charter/Spectrum office.
         
  • AT&T - is halting data caps until June 30
    COVID-19 response:  AT&T has committed waive data overage fees in response to Covid-19. In addition, AT&T’s “Access by AT&T” is available in 21 states. 

  • Sprint - is halting Data Caps and Offering free mobile hotspots

    COVID-19 Response: Until June 30, Sprint is halting data caps, providing free unlimited data to those with data allotments. Additionally, Sprint is providing up to 20 GB per month of free hotspot for customers with hotspot-capable devices.
     

  • Verizon - is offering high-speed internet through FIOS for $20+/month through the Lifeline Discount Program

  • COVID-19 response: Verizon is waiving billing charges for 60 days (customers must have had Lifeline services as of 3/20/20).
    NOTE: This offer only applies in parts of Verizon service territory where FIOS is available.
    Due to safety precautions, Verizon is limiting the numer of in-person installation technicians at this time, though some devices can be self-installed.
  • Lifeline - has postponed annual re-certification requirements until August 31
    COVID 19 Response:
    The Lifeline program provides a subsidy to HUD-assisted residents for phone and/or Internet service.  Annual recertification requirements have been postponed until August 31 by the FCC
    This program still has a limited number of minutes. Residents  have reported limiting their use of this phone to avoid running out of minutes.

  • Mediacom Communications is offering two months of free internet service to new customers with K-12 students in the household through the Connect2Compete program

    The first 60 days of internet service are free, $9.95 thereafter for customers that join before August 30 (UPDATED)
    Mediacom Communications is a network provider primarily based in the Midwest and Southeast
    Mediacom Communications is also pausing monthly data allowances across all Internet service tiers and providing complimentary access to all Medicom Xtream Wi-Fi hotspots until the end of August
    Starting duing the September billing cycle until the end of the year, Mediacom will provide an extra 100 gigabytes of data for any broadband customer that  exceeds their monthly data allowance
  • InternetFirst is offering two months of free internet service to new customers that qualify for public assistance programs.
    • Through InternetFirst, the first 60 days of internet service are free and $9.95 per month for 12 months thereafter
    • InternetFirst offers download speeds up to 25 Mbps, free installation, and no contract or credit check
    • InternetFirst is available in: California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington

TRAINING RESOURCES

  • Everyone On - a selection of tutorials and training resources for using computers, email basics, internet basics
  • Senior Planet has developed a number of trainings to tools to combat social isolation including: an easy-to-follow Zoom Conferencing Guide, an online banking curriculum "Ready Set Bank" (in partnership with Capital One) which features a demo banking site to help users get comfortable with an online interface, and a number of other online resources, trainings and events that seniors can take part in.
  • Tech Pals provides free tech support to help older adults.
  • Human-I-T offers a training course on Internet basics in both English and Spanish. The course is immediately available upon request
  • Tech for Learners has an online bank of free and low cost education tools, programs, and websites. They offer a variety of programs, categorized by grade level, content type, and product type.

  • Cyber Seniors has a number of trainings on tools and apps directed at increasing senior digital literacy. Webinars occur regularly in English, French, and Spanish. Viewers can enroll and attend the session live online or watch the webinar later on YouTube.

Health Resources

Resources last updated 9/15/2020

  • Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicaid Emergency Authority Tracker, which provides state-by-state information on approved Medicaid emergency authorities to address the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Heath & Human Services' Telehealth FAQ page can help patients navigate switching their care to virtual, including questions to ask providers and resources on finding telehealth options.
  • Department of Labor - Employee Benefits Security Administration's (EBSA) COVID-19 FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries of employer provided health plans has information on maintaining health coverage during furlough and job loss -- April 28, 2020
  • SAMHSAVirtual Recovery Resources, a list of resources that can be accessed virtually during mandated stay-at-home orders and quarantine periods to support recovery from mental/substance use disorders

Mental Health

Resources last updated 4/22/2020

  • SAHMSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline  - 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

    Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Helpline services are also available in Spanish and for the deaf and hard of hearing.

  • The Institute on Aging’s (IOA) 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line is the only accredited crisis line in the country for people aged 60 years and older, and adults living with disabilities.. Staffed with trained volunteers, the hotline offers a caring ear to older adults facing loneliness, depression, isolation, and/or suicidal thoughts. Call toll free 1(800) 871-0016 or (415) 750-4111 or (650) 424-1411 to connect with IOA.

  • SAMHSA’s Taking Care of Your Mental/ Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak

  • SAMHSA’s Tips for Talking with Children about/ During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

  • National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI) – COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

  • AARP's new online platform, AARP Connections, allows users to organize and find local volunteer groups to help pick up groceries, provide financial assistance or lend emotional support to neighbors, friends, and loved ones. In addition, AARP's Connect2Affect site provides a broad range of resources to reduce social isolation.

Eviction Prevention

Resources last updated 8/17/2020

Income Supports

Resources last updated 8/17/2020

  • IRS has developed several resources to help US Citizens to receive their Economic Impact Payment. You can download a flyer about the Non -Filers Tool to share with residents. Information in Spanish is also available on the IRS site.

  • National Housing Resource Center hosted a webinar to break down Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the CARES Act. Learn about eligibility requirements, the unemployment insurance process (under CARES), and receive guidance on how to help residents navigate the application process. 4/22/2020
    Note: Detailed guidance starts around minute 18 in the recording.

  • Community Foundations Public Awareness Initiative is keeping a list of community foundations that have created COVID-19 relief funds in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia to provide relief to local nonprofits, local governments, and health organizations.

  • Career OneStop – Learn how to file for unemployment benefits in your state. Through the Unemployment Benefits Finder.  As of March 30th – new federal law allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers, and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits.

  • AARP Social Security Resource Center - AARP Answers: Social Security and Coronavirus – the latest on monthly benefits and stimulus checks – 4/2/2020

  • AARPUnemployment and the Coronavirus – the latest on applying for benefits, eligibility, and additional stimulus benefits – 4/3/2020

  • Social Security Administration - The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration issued a warning about a new Social Security benefit suspension scam related to COVID-19 office closures - 3/20/20

  • Prosperity Now’s has launched a COVID 19 Resource Page featuring community tax prep resources, housing and homeownership assistance, and financial assistance information.

  • National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) -  Benefits Check Up allows you to enter in your zip code to identify benefit programs available.

  • The Washington Post has an online Stimulus Payment Calculator

Food Access

Resources last updated 5/8/2020

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers an online purchasing pilot program for eligible low-income families to purchase groceries, recently added 13 new states to the program while three additional states are pending approval.The pilot program is currently operational in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The latest expansion to the pilot program enables Americans to follow physical distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Once operational, more than 90% of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to purchase food online in 35 states and the District of Columbia

  • Expensify is going to temporarily redirect all of its charitable funds to Expensify.org/hunger. With its ability to reimburse volunteers directly in real-time, Expensify.org is uniquely positioned to help families in need immediately, and will be devoting these charitable funds to a new program: matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family.
  • USDA Food and Nutrition ServiceSNAP State Directory of Resources

  • AARP Supermarkets Offer Special Hours for Older Shoppers provides a listing of national Grocery Store Chain’s hours. 3/26/20

  • AARP Community Connections is a new online platform which allows users to organize and find local volunteer groups to help pick up groceries, provide financial assistance or lend emotional support to neighbors, friends, and loved ones.

  • National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) has launched a blog – Where to Get Food Help Now which provides a number of food resources for Seniors.

  • World Central Kitchen has launched a Covid-19 Initiative to distribute individually packaged fresh meals in communities that need support.  They have created a map to track school districts and restaurants offering meals to those in need.

  • No Kid Hungry is offering Emergency Grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations.

  • Feeding America’s Find Food resource page, which includes links to their food bank locator and FAQs about changes to food assistance programs and eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) developed a tip sheet for Navigating Emergency Food Organizations & Resources in Times of Crisis.

 

Aunt Bertha has launched a version of their website, Find Help, which allows users to search for a variety of resources by zip code (housing, food, transit, goods, health, financial, education, employment, and legal); and identifies resources that have specific COVID-19 responses. 

Coronavirus Public Health Information

Housing Operations Guidance

CORES is focusing on sharing resources to support resident services coordination. Resident services staff must partner and integrate its efforts with larger property operations. While CORES is not focusing specifically on property operations guidance, we have provided links to valued industry organizations that are maintaining robust lists of resources from a property operations perspective.

  • HUD released a memo on July 10th, outlining  plans to allocate the $10 million in Service Coordinator funding approved by the CARES Act at the end of March.
    The funds will support approximately 1,600 properties with grant-funded Service Coordinator programs. The agency said they plan to issue guidance for budget-funded Service Coordination and other COVID-related expenses soon. Grantees with an approved 2020 Service Coordinator grant extension will receive a one-time grant supplement; the amount will be directly proportionate to each grantee’s approved 2020 budget, resulting in an estimated 9% of each program operating budget. Properties will be required to use the supplemental funds to cover increased expenditures supporting program activities at properties impact by COVID-19 between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Because the CARES Act funds were enacted to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19, housing providers will have to individually respond to a HUD-prepared Notice of Award to accept the funds based on anticipated eligible cost increases during the 2020 performance year. Housing providers can also decline the supplemental funds if they do not anticipate increased costs due to COVID-19, or amend the amount they accepted at a later date. In the next 30 days, HUD will issue more information about eligible costs and other required documentation. HUD does not expect CARES Act reporting requirements to be triggered by the Service Coordinator supplementals.

  • HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing updated its Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ for Multifamily Stakeholders.

  • National Housing Conference has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center to respond to questions being faced by many stakeholders in the housing industry.

    • NHC has also compiled 20+ FAQs devoted exclusively to the new eviction moratorium, addressing some of the most pressing questions for renters and property managers (September 2020)

  • National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) has developed a COVID-19 Resource Page for Multifamily Housers.

  • National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has developed a COVID-19 Resource Page highlighting information, guidelines, and notices published thus far by the state HFAs, especially as they relate to monitoring LIHTC properties and other properties with financing from the HFA.

  • National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) has developed a COVID-19 Resource Page highlighting information related to affordable housing management,