COVID-19 Update & Resources
Massachusetts 7th Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic
To the Massachusetts 7th Community,
Thank you for turning to our office for support and resources. My team and I are working with federal, state, local officials and with community leaders to provide assistance and connect you to information about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
We have compiled the resources below and will continue to update this page in real time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office with questions (617) 850-0040.
Member of Congress
The Latest Updates (11/16/20)
- Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new stay-at-home advisory and mask order, in response to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts. For more information about the new restrictions, visit https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-targeted-measures-to-curb-rising-covid-19-cases.
- Effective October 22nd, all BPS students were moved to remoted learning until public health data shows a downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases.
- On October 17th, the eviction moratorium signed into law by Governor Baker expired.
- Massachusetts residents who receive SNAP benefits can use their EBT card to buy food online from Amazon and Walmart. Visit https://www.mass.gov/snap-online-purchasing-program for more information.
Follow CDC guidelines on steps to prevent illness and keep our community safe, COVID19 symptoms, and what to do if you are sick. CDC recommends wearing a face mask at all times in public.
- Telehealth and telemedicine are covered with relaxed regulations.
- Check local public school website for updates on school closures, remote learning, and reopening plans for the fall, as some districts have longer closure periods and are beginning to release new policies:
- Boston: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/
- Cambridge: https://www.cpsd.us/
- Chelsea: https://www.chelseaschools.com/
- Everett: https://www.everettpublicschools.org/
- Milton: https://www.miltonps.org/
- Randolph: https://www.randolph.k12.ma.us/
- Somerville: https://somerville.k12.ma.us/
TESTING, TREATMENT, AND MORE HEALTH INFORMATION
For information about COVID-19, symptoms, and healthcare referrals: dial 2-1-1. This hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are free and confidential. Interpreter services are available in multiple languages.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health 24-hour Emergency Hotline: 617-983-6800
Get help with health insurance questions and complaints by contacting Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s Health Care Division at 1-888-830-6277.
The City of Boston’s Tracker of COVID-19 Cases can be found at this website.
Foodsource Hotline: To find food resources in your community, call the FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 (TTY: 1-800-377-1292). Open Monday-Friday 8:00am-7:00pm and Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm. Project Bread staff are available to answer any questions in 160 languages.
Greater Boston Food Bank Food Assistance Program locator: GBFB.org/need-food
Catholic Charities Yawkey Center, 185 Columbia Road, Dorchester: 617-506-6600 Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Bring a photo ID.)
Catholic Charities at Somerville 270 Washington Street, Somerville : 617-625-1920 Monday through Thursday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, and Friday, 10:00am – 1:00pm. (Bring a photo ID.)
Find your local YMCA branch for food resources: https://ymcaboston.org/branches
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps, ensures that individuals receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. To apply for SNAP benefits, visit the Massachusetts SNAP Office website or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services regional office near you. Online SNAP purchasing is now available at Walmart and Amazon. Visit https://www.mass.gov/snap-online-purchasing-program for more information.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC): WIC provides access to nutritious foods for low-income pregnant women or mothers. To see if you are eligible for benefits, visit the WIC PReScreening Tool and visit the WIC website to apply or contact the Massachusetts WIC Office for additional support.
Massachusetts children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will receive additional support to purchase food during school closures associated with COVID-19. Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) provides households an EBT card with the value of free school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for the days that schools are closed to help them purchase groceries. Like a debit card, the P-EBT card can be used to purchase food at grocery stores. Anyone needing information about P-EBT can learn more from Project Bread at www.projectbread.org/covid19
Use this map to search free food for students by town.
Find Pick Up Times and Locations for Free Meals Through Your Public School System:
- Boston Public Schools: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/8098
- Cambridge Public Schools: https://www.cpsd.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=3042869&pageId=69483708
- Randolph Public Schools:https://www.randolph.k12.ma.us/Page/2375
- Milton Public Schools: https://www.miltonps.org/
- Everett Public Schools: https://www.everettsd.org/Page/31175
- Chelsea Public Schools: https://www.chelseaschools.com/cms/lib/MA50000536/Centricity/domain/1339/central%20office/Emergencyfoodprogramflyer.pdf
- Somerville Public Schools: https://somerville.k12.ma.us/district-departments/food-nutrition-services
Federal student loan payments have been suspended until December 31, 2020. For up to date guidance on student loans and financial aid during the pandemic, visit https://www.studentaidpandemic.org/
The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care has posted a listing of drop-in child care programs open to provide emergency, back-up, drop-in child care for vulnerable families and members of essential workforces who have no other option. https://eeclead.force.com/apex/EEC_ChildCareEmergencyProcedure
To support virtual learning, the City of Boston has provided a list of special offers for low-income residents for internet access. Learn more at https://www.boston.gov/news/internet-connectivity-and-technology-supports-during-covid-19-response.
UNEMPLOYMENT, HOUSING & UTILITIES
If you have become unemployed during the pandemic, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. The one week waiting period to file for unemployment benefits has been waived. Visit www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.
Información de desempleo de Massachusetts sobre el virus COVID-19 en español: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/informacion-de-desempleo-de-massachusetts-sobre-el-virus-covid-19
If you are newly eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you can apply at www.mass.gov/pua. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a program open to the following individuals:
- Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors
- Those seeking part-time employment
- Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits
- And claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law
Some local authorities have updated guidance that support residents in paying their bills during the pandemic:
- The US Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend certain foreclosures and evictions during the pandemic.
- The Boston Housing Authority has made changes to evictions and inspections policy.
- The Massachusetts Division of Banks has issued new guidance to Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders, outlining the steps the state expects them to take in order to provide relief to borrowers. Those steps include postponing foreclosures for 60 days and refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies for at least 60 days.
- The MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has suspended the disconnection of utility services for nonpayment during this state of emergency.
A new Boston Rental Relief Fund will provide a $3 million fund to assist Bostonians who are at risk of losing their rental housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will help income-eligible tenants in the City of Boston achieve housing stability by providing direct financial relief to assist with rental payments. To learn more about eligibility and apply, visit https://www.boston.gov/departments/neighborhood-development/office-housing-stability/rental-relief-fund
National Rental Assistance Program Resources Guide: https://www.rentassistance.us/
Eviction Prevention Hotline: 857-415-2900
Housing Court Information: Greater Boston Legal Services, provides free civil (non-criminal) legal assistance to low income individuals and families in and around Boston https://www.gbls.org/covid-19-information
Defer Mortgage Payment Contact: Boston Home Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-635-4663 and press 3 for help Making Home Affordable or call 888-995-4673 to find a housing counselor
The Massachusetts Division of Rental Assistance has issued guidance to administering agencies on rent recertification, a right for any tenant using the following rental vouchers: MRVP, AHVP, and federal vouchers within DHCD’s portfolio. If you have experienced a loss of income, and utilize one of these vouchers, you can apply at any time to have your rent contribution re-calculated by your administering agency.
The COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition, or RAFT will assist households of all sizes with financial assistance up to $4,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing. Explore the following:
- Community Teamwork Inc.: www.commteam.org
- Way Finders: www.wayfindersma.org
- Metro Housing Boston: www.metrohousingboston.org
- RCAP Solutions: www.rcapsolutions.org
- NeighborWorks Housing Solutions: www.nhsmass.org
The United Way has launched a family support fund to aid hourly and low-wage workers who may need financial help with rent, food, or childcare. For more information, visit https://unitedwaymassbay.org/get-involved/covid-19-family-fund/
For additional support with Rent and Utilities, see pages 27-28 of District Attorney Rachel Rollins’ resources packet.
SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released guidance and loan resources for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. For more information about SBA resources and to read the full guidance, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation is providing PPP technical assistance and multilingual translation and has created a COVID-19 Loan Fund to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses. To learn more, visit https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/resources/covid-19-small-business-resources
Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 can ask for a 60 day grace period for their quarterly reports and pay contributions. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employers-
Public transportation will run on a reduced service to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. All riders and employees are required to wear face coverings while riding the T. Check the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for updates: https://www.mbta.com/covid19
For traffic alerts, visit https://mass511.com
For Massport and Logan Airport alerts, visit http://www.massport.com/massport/
LEGAL SUPPORT WITH TRAVEL REFUND AND CONSUMER PROTECTION
Beware of scams related to COVID-19:
Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 to con people into giving up their money via Social Security, bank account, credit card, Medicare ID, or driver’s license numbers. To report scammers, speak with a Consumer Specialist in the Attorney General’s Office at (617) 727-8400 at 10:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Beware of the following:
- Scams offering COVID-19 vaccine, cure, air filters, testing
- Fake COVID-19-related charity scams
- “Person in need” scams where scammers pose as a grandchild, relative, or friend who claims to be ill
- Scams targeting your Social Security benefits
- For more information on scams, visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/beware-coronavirus-related-scams/
OTHER REPUTABLE SOURCES
For more information on COVID-19, visit the websites of these government agencies: