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 weekly 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.

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.

Resources last updated 5/6/2020

Guidance for Frontline Staff

Frontline Staff Support & Self Care

Household Assessments

Communications Tools for Staff

  • Leading Age's Helping Residents Stay Connected During the Pandemic” provides examples of how their members are helping residents/clients connect with families and friends.
  • CommonBond developed a Virtual Programming Policy for Staff
     
  • Digital Platforms Being Used by Staff to Connect with One Another and with Residents
    • Free Video Conferencing Tools
      Microsoft Teams
      Zoom       (Easy-to-follow guide developed by Senior Planet)
    • Individual Video Chat Tools
      Skype

      FaceTime 
      Duo
    • Texting Message Programs
      Remind App - Free and Paid Subscription Options (Initial Setup Guidance)
      Yardi Rent Cafe - Text Message Program available through Yardi's Property Management System
    • Integrated Messaging Services
      Ring Central (Paid Subscription - team messaging, call forwarding through cloud system, online meetings)

    • Automated Broadcasting Service
      One Call Now
      (Paid Subscription)

    • Programming/Program Support
      Google Classrooms (Out of School Time/Virtual Classroom)
      i-Ready (Out of School Time - Paid Subscription Required - minimum number of licenses)
      Seasaw App (Out of school Time/Virtual Learning)
      DocuSign (Facilitates ability to get electronic signatures from multiple parties)
      Box.com (File Sharing between teams and partners)
      SmartSheet - Create and deploy custom Mobile Apps  - practitioner used this platform to deploy a Rental Assistance Program Application

    • Training
      Tech Soup is offering free training courses (in response to COVID-19) to support nonprofits pivot to virtual work.

       

COVID-19 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)

  • 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 5/13/20

Low Cost Devices

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. 
    • 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 – 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 for 60 days. 
    • 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:  http://www.comcastcorporation.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-Mo and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for 60 days, 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, Starting soon, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers will have an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data for the next 60 days.

    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 (and reduced rates thereafter)
    COVID-19 response:  For a limited time, the first month of service will be free, $9.95/month thereafter. 

    For other information and other offers go to: https://newsroom.cox.com/cox_internet_changes_to_assist_students_-_remote_workers

     
  • Charter Communications/Spectrum - is offering free Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with students
    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 within last 30 days
    • 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
    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
     
  • Verizon - is offering highspeed 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 Leifeline services as of 3/20/20). NOTE: This offer only applies in parts of Verizon service territory where FIOS is available.
     
  • Lifeline - has postponed annual re-certification requirements by 60 days
    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 for 60 days 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.

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.

Health Resources

Resources last updated 4/3/2020

  • 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
  • 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 5/4/2020

Income Supports

Resources last updated 5/1/2020

  • 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 4/25/2020

 

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’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.

  • 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,