June 22, 2020

COVID 19 Community Resources - Health, Housing, Finances and Food

by UNHP

The UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center is committed to bringing needed resources to our Bronx community. That commitment is renewed as we face this ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We know people need information about health, food, financial and housing resources at this time. UNHP is answering our phones M-F 9 am until 5 pm at (718) 933-2539. UNHP is offering our free housing and financial services by phone, email, and through our YouTube series, Hard Times Smart Money. Para leer este documento en español por favor haga clic aquí. Below are city and nonprofit resources available to the public that will be updated as new information comes to light:

Updated Information regarding COVID Rent Relief, Housing Connect Changes, and UNHP’s Video Series; Click on our July Newsletter COVID RENT RELIEF has been Extended Until August 6th! En Español aquí

FINANCES

Tax Preparation

  • The IRS and the NYS Department of Taxation (Federal and State) have extended this year’s filing and payment deadline to July 15th. Click this link for sites and organizations helping with free tax prep. ARIVA can help you file from home and respond to tax questions by phone M-Friday 9-5 pm. 718-292-2983
  • Remember if you do not owe taxes you can wait until next year to file without penalty.

Financial Coaching

UNHP’s Financial Education Mini-Video and Chat Series: Hard Times Smart Money

Short, smart financial education videos are available in English or Spanish on UNHP’s Youtube Channel: UNHP83 You can subscribe to our channel ( all free of course!) to get notifications as new videos are aired. Use this form to sign up to chat your questions and experiences with UNHP trained staff.

UNHP's Mini Financial Education Series: Hard Times Smart Money can be found on our Youtube Channel. Short smart videos to help you during these challenging financail times
UNHP’s Mini Financial Education Series: Hard Times Smart Money can be found on our Youtube Channel. Short smart videos to help you during these challenging financial times. Videos available in English and Spanish. Chat groups available as well!

Unemployment

  • Information about applying for unemployment benefits can be found on the NY State Department of Labor website. $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits will be made available to all New Yorkers; and the period covered by unemployment benefits is being extended for another 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks.
  • This link to the NYC 311 website has good information about assistance available to unemployed individuals.

COVID Rental Relief

NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal has a new rental relief program. Act Now! There is a short window to apply - due date EXTENDED UNTIL August 6th!

If you meet all the following guidelines, you may be eligible to apply:

  • You are a renter
  • You paid more than 30% of your income towards rent before COVID-19
  • You lost income related to COVID-19
  • Your household income is below as of March 1, 2020 (less than $63,680 for one person, less than $90,960 for a family of four)
  • At least one member of your household is a citizen or has permanent residence, asylum or refugee status (including a child).

To prepare your application, start gathering:

  • Proof of identity
  • Lease or other proof of a contract
  • Proof of rent payments prior to March 1, 2020
  • Proof of household income, prior to March 1, 2020 (unemployment, paystubs, employer letters, tax returns)
  • Proof of household’s current income (unemployment, paystubs, employment letters, tax returns)

Information about this and other eviction prevention NYC programs can be found at this link. The NYS DCR site has both the online application and a download link for the paper application as well as a video and answers to common questions. You can also call 311 and ask for tenants’ support for more help.

Economic Stimulus Checks

  • The Federal Government has distributed stimulus checks to the public. It seems like everyone who has a Social Security number and earns under $90,000 will qualify. For most people there is nothing to do - If you have yet to file, the IRS is expected to issue the stimulus check to the same bank account or mail it to the home address used on your 2018 tax return. Those who receive Social Security, SSD, SSI, Veteran, or Railroad benefits and don’t normally file taxes, the stimulus will be delivered to you the same way you receive your benefits. If you are required to file taxes and you haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 return – try to utilize a free option to file. The stimulus will remain available through the end of 2020.
  • For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
  • The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible. The payments also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.
  • Updated details are expected here: stimulus payment check


For most people, you do not have to do anything to get the economic stimulus. If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, receive social security,SSA or SSI or federal disability benefits (SSD) you will receive the stimulus in the same method that you received your refund of benefit.


Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB is an agency under the US Government and was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The purpose of the CFPB is to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services. Their website located here - has clear, and up-to-date information about COVID 19 resources, taxes, economic stimulus, and consumer scams.

Other Resource Guides

NYC has an up-to-date portal for all COVID19 resources.

NYC has added a resource guide for businesses and the community by zip code in multiple languages https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-businesses-and-facilities.page

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FOOD PICK-UP AND DELIVERY

NYC 311, New York City’s Official Website( or call 311 to access by phone), has a lot of city resources currently listed. The following are specifically for meal delivery and pick-up:

Grab and Go Meals

Everyone can pick up free meals Monday through Friday at meal hub locations across the City. You don’t need to register or show any ID or documents.

You can find a list of locations online. You can also text “NYC FOOD” or “NYC COMIDA” along with your zip code to 877-877 to find a free meals location near you. Standard text messaging rates may apply.

Free Food Delivery for Seniors and Those with Health Problems

If you don’t have anyone who can get food for you, are a senior citizen or health compromised and can’t afford delivery from a restaurant or a grocery store, you may be eligible for meal delivery from GetFoodNYC. This is a link to the NYC Food Delivery Assistance program. It will outline the restrictions. If you need help filling out this web form call 311 or UNHP at (718) 933-2539.

Local Bronx Organizations offering Food and other Resources

  • Part of the Solution (POTS) has a food pantry and meals for pick up as well as other resources such as job help by phone. View those resources here.
  • Mosholu Montefiore Community Center also has a food pantry plus other services like childcare and workforce development. View the resources here

HEALTH

NYS is on PAUSE and moving through different phases to combat the CoronaVirus. Information here

The CDC has information about what to do if you are sick on their website.

Bronx Testing Sites

An updated list of Bronx and NYC testing sites can be found at this link.

NYC has an updated COVID-19 portal with information on free testing and other resources: COVID 19 Citywide Portal

Sites are subject to be changed or new locations may be coming in the near future. Text COVID to 692-692 to get regular updates or text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.

Wellness Resources

During these uncertain times, it’s important to maintain your emotional and mental well being. Below are some resources to safeguard your mental health.

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HOUSING

For updated information call 311 or Visit The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants at this link: https://www1.nyc.gov/content/tenantprotection/pages/covid19-home-quarantine

  • All pending evictions orders are suspended until further notice, as ordered by Chief Administrative Judge Marks.
  • No tenant may be evicted at this time until there is a change to the order of the court.
    • Under new state legislation, tenants who have suffered a financial hardship during the period between March 7 and the date that all COVID-related safety restrictions are lifted in the region may not be evicted for failing to pay rent first owed during that period.
    • Tenants who live in public housing, have a Section 8 rental voucher, or live in a building that has federally backed mortgages or funding may not be evicted for nonpayment of rent until at least July 24, 2020

  • NYC Housing Court will accept new eviction filings effective June 20, 2020. Landlords will only be permitted to file new eviction cases by mailing in to the housing court. Tenants who are served with papers for an eviction case do not need to visit the courthouse to respond. Nevertheless, unrepresented landlords or tenants who come to the courthouse to file a case or answer will be assisted.
  • Any tenant who receives court papers for a Housing Court case does not need to go to the courthouse to respond in person. New eviction petitions are required to include a notice that includes information about how a tenant can respond to the petition by phone and share the phone number for Housing Court Answers. Housing Court Answers provides callers with basic legal information and connection with free legal services through HRA’s Office of Civil Justice.
  • Your landlord cannot evict you without going to court and getting an order from a judge. If you receive a Notice of Eviction, you might be able to stay in your home. Call 311 and say “Tenant Helpline” to be connected with assistance.
  • The court will not default tenants who do not respond to an eviction petition.


UNHP can connect you with a bilingual Tenant Support Specialist to assist with landlord harassment, overcharge issues and eviction prevention. Call UNHP at (718)933-2539 to arrange a phone session. POTS is offering a remote legal clinic. Legal Clinic: Clients seeking assistance may contact the clinic directly to schedule a phone meeting at 718-220-4892×111 or 117. No meetings are being held on-site at this time.

Housing Connect by Phone

Housing Connect is the NYC online affordable housing lottery. Lotteries are open at this time. As of July 21, there were 5 Bronx lotteries and 3 senior citizen (62+) lotteries

  • For UNHP program users with existing accounts: call UNHP at (718) 933-2539 to apply for new lotteries, update your information or ask a question. UNHP can also connect you to a Financial Counselor to address credit and budget issues that may affect your housing application.
  • · For users without accounts: UNHP is currently unable to hold face-to-face appointments to create Housing Connect accounts. Clients that feel comfortable with computers can create their own accounts at home. Call UNHP if you have questions about creating an account on your personal computer. This video explains how to create an account on your own. Remember you can also request an application by mail if necessary.
HOUSING CONNECT 2.0 Changes
NYC HPD has created a new version of Housing Connect called Housing Connect 2.0. It is supposed to be easier to use. If you have an existing Housing Connect account - you can apply to the lotteries that are currently available using your existing account. Sometime in August, all new lotteries will be posted in Housing Connect 2.0 and all users will have to create a NEW profile and use the Housing Connect 2.0 program. Here is the link to the Housing Connect 2.0 site and you can create your new profile there and click on the learn tab for informational videos.

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2020 CENSUS

If you haven’t yet - please remember to submit the census to ensure you and everyone in your household get counted. COVID19 is making a lot of things obvious. Like planning for the future. Clearly, we need to be prepared. The Bronx needs health, education and financial resources - now and in the future. A full Bronx Count is going to make a difference to you and your loved ones!

UNHP will continue to bring the most updated resource information during this pandemic. Call UNHP at (718)933-2539 if you need help. To get the most up-to-date information, check our website, this blog post which will be updated and follow one of our social media pages:

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