Welcome to the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island

At the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI), our work is to ensure that our region is a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone to live. We can set the standard for what an equitable region looks like. That means safe communities, decent, affordable housing, healthy food, access to care and an opportunity to thrive. In our quest for improvements and systemic change, we face a unique set of obstacles. In fact, the poverty rate today is at its highest since 1959. Given the current assault on the country’s most vulnerable communities, our work is more important than ever.

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Recent News

April 6, 2020

Census Day 2020 comes with a new reality because of coronavirus

Newsday is opening this story to all readers so Long Islanders have access to important information about the coronavirus outbreak. All readers can learn the latest news at newsday.com/LiveUpdates.
Wednesday is Census Day, when the U.S. Census Bureau wants the nation to respond to the 2020 census, either online, by phone or by mail, telling the bureau where they live and other information about themselves and their families. But this Census Day comes with a new reality because of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the bureau, and its many "partners" around the country, to make adjustments. The bureau has delayed fieldwork by census takers from April 1 to April 15 and has turned to collecting administrative records from some facilities in light of the disruptions caused by the virus. Meanwhile, local groups and governments seeking to promote 2020 census participation have turned to online communication instead of public gatherings. Jeff Behler, the bureau's New York regional director, said in an interview Tuesday that the delayed fieldwork involved two operations: sending census takers to remote areas — Alaska, Northern Maine and to tribal lands — to conduct the actual census. The other involved going to communities that only use post office boxes, where census takers would "leave the census packet at the doorstep." Behler said the bureau also can obtain administrative records from facilities for its census of "group quarters," such as college dorms, nursing homes and prisons. In the meantime, Behler said, "We're still collecting information online." Behler said that from April 8 through April 16, the bureau will be "mailing out the paper questionnaire to every address that has yet to respond to the census." "Self-response" rates to the 2020 census can be tracked on the bureau's 2020census.gov website. New York State's rate was 31.1% Tuesday, lower than the national rate of 36.2%. Nassau County's rate was 36.6%, and Suffolk County's was 33.9%. Behler said while officials would like the response rates to be higher, he noted the "challenges" the coronavirus posed, particularly in New York. "We understand the current environment we're in." He praised bureau "partners" with coming up with creative ways to engage with the public. One such partner, Rebecca Sanin, president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, which coordinates the Island's Complete Count Committee, said the council is "still convening 11 subcommittee meetings remotely" and "pivoting our strategy," noting the virus "is creating a new and uncertain normal for all of us." She said the strategy involves "strengthening social media platforms," inviting people to go on Facebook and choosing frames for the profile pictures that have census slogans, such as "Be Home. Be Safe. Be Counted." Another program is putting flyers promoting the census in "grab and go meals" and food deliveries that various nonprofits are doing. Sanin said, "April 1 being Census Day, from my perspective, it’s a call to action to our neighbors on Long Island … That by completing the 2020 census, they will impact funding for our region for the next 10 years, which now more than ever are dollars Long Island is going to need to be resilient and recover" from the coronavirus crisis.

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April 6, 2020

Time to be counted: Pandemic won’t stop 2020 Census

News 12 Time to be counted: Pandemic won’t stop 2020 Census

It's time to be counted – Wednesday, April 1 is National Census Day, and pandemic or not, officials are urging everyone to fill out the 2020 Census form. The federal government uses that information to determine how many seats in Congress each state should have. If a state loses population, it might lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. If its population is growing, it might gain a seat Census numbers also help decide how to divvy up more than $675 billion in federal money each year. Those funds help states and communities build roads, schools, hospitals and fire departments.

Programs, including Head Start and food assistance for low-income people, also rely on the Census to direct funds to where they are needed most.

Rebecca Sanin, of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, says the COVID-19 pandemic makes this Census more important. be so critical during this time of economic recession that we know is following this public health emergency,” she says. Officials have tried to simplify this year's process. For the first time, responses can be made online, as well as by phone and mail. It will determine funding for the next 10 years, until the 2030 Census. “This is something you can do that will have a very meaningful impact on the future of Long Island,” says Sanin. To help people who speak little or no English, officials have guides available in 60 languages, plus Braille for the blind.

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March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Resource Guide

COVID-19 Resource Guide   Food Resources

  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)- The Department of Social Services will continue to process SNAP applications and assist clients. Local districts are reminded of the requirement to grant good cause when a participant’s failure to meet program requirements is due to factors beyond the participant’s control. However, in an effort to assist in the restriction of spreading COVID-19 SNAP offices will conduct phone interviews (including application and recertification interviews). Please click here for more information. Moreover, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18, includes a temporary nationwide suspension of the ABAWD 3-month time limit rule that will go into effect on April 1. For that reason, local districts in NYS will grant good cause to any ABAWD unable to meet the time-limit work requirement during the month of March. 
  • SNAP/EBT can be used for online grocery purchases in NY and other participating states-Current participating retailers include Amazon, Walmart and ShopRite. Amazon is available statewide; Walmart and ShopRite participate in specific zip codes. SNAP/EBT cards can be used as a payment method on Amazon.com. You will receive access to Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh once a SNAP/EBT card is added to your account. To receive access to Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh selection or to pay using SNAP EBT, simply add a valid SNAP EBT card issued by a participating state to your account as a payment method. Please click here for more information.
  • WIC (Women, Infants & Children)- Most WIC clinics are still open. However, some WIC clinics will close temporarily to protect the health of WIC participants and staff. Your local WIC clinic will contact clients if they are closing. WIC appointments can be done over the phone if clients. Please click here for more information.
  • Schools Meals- The summer nutrition programs (the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the National School Lunch Program) are available to provide meals during school closures. For more information, please click here.
  • Food-delivery App Carriers- Uber-Eats, Doordash, and Postmates will still operate and deliver food. Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on all applicable orders from local restaurants. Please click here for more information.
  Housing & Utility Resources
  • Mortgage Payments- Governor Cuomo announced he will be implementing a 90-day relief on mortgage payments amid the coronavirus pandemic.This relief plan will waive mortgage payments based on financial hardship and will allow a grace period for loan modifications.
  • PSEG Long Island- PSEG Long Island is temporarily suspending shut-offs of electric service to residential customers for non-payment. This policy is effective immediately.PSEG Long Island customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of issues related to the coronavirus should contact PSEG Long Island via My Account (https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount) or by calling 800-490-0025 to enter into a deferred payment arrangement. This policy will be in place through the end of April.
  • National Grid- National Grid has a variety of programs that can help Long Islanders both in the short term and in extended circumstances. Whether it’s a homeowner, renter, or landlord, they can take control of their monthly gas bills through these programs and services. Please click here for more information.
  • Project Warmth- Anyone in need of emergency heating assistance, please call United Way’s 2-1-1 Long Island information and referral call center by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-888-774-7633) 7 days a week, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, for referrals to an intake site. In lieu of the current circumstances, Project Warmth applications can be taken over the phone.
  • Home Internet Access- Altice USA is committed to helping schools and students stay connected during this unprecedented time. For households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access, Altice will offer an Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution for free for 60 days to any new customer household within their footprint. Eligible households can call 1-866-200-9522 to enroll in the optimum region. Please click here for more information.
  Senior Resources
  • Long Island Senior Centers-Some senior centers on Long Island are delivering meals or food packages to senior members. However, some services are limited due to a lack of volunteers. Please call your local town or visit their websites for more information. Are there any general numbers to get information for both Nassau and Suffolk County?
  • Grocery Stores- Stop & Shop will be opening earlier at 6 am exclusively for seniors to shop in a less crowded environment. Use this link to obtain further information.
  • Medicare Telehealth Services- Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency. These services expand the current telehealth covered services, to help consumers have access from more places (including their home), with a wider range of communication tools (including smartphones), to interact with a range of providers (such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers).Please visit Medicare.gov for more information.
  Healthcare Resources
  • Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers- the NY State of Health, together with the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), made a Special Enrollment Period available to New Yorkers during which eligible individuals will be able to enroll in insurance coverage through NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan Marketplace, and directly through insurers. Individuals who enroll in Qualified Health Plans through NY State of Health or directly through insurers between March 16 and April 15, 2020, will have coverage effective starting April 1, 2020.  Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs – Medicaid, Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus – can enroll year-round. consumers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health on-line at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 855-355-5777, and working with enrollment assistors.
  • COVID-19 Testing Cost-Sharing- a new directive by the State Department of Financial Services requiring New York health insurers to waive cost-sharing associated with testing for novel coronavirus including emergency room, urgent care, and office visits. New Yorkers receiving Medicaid coverage will not be expected to pay a copay for any testing related to COVID-19. Please click here for more information.
  • Medicare Resources- Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. Medicare consumers pay no out-of-pocket costs. Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations; this includes COVID-19 diagnosis. At this time, there's no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D). If consumers have a Medicare Advantage Plan, they have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits beyond the ones described below. Please advise clients to check with their plan about coverage and costs. Please visit Medicare.gov for more information. 
  Resources for People with Disabilities? Mental Health Resources
  • Peer Support Services- In response to this need, MHAW will be offering extended hours for their Peer Support Line and Healing Connections Peer Support Groups to Suffolk County residents. These services are staffed by trained and experienced Certified Peer Specialists. New operating hours for the Peer Support Line: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm Saturday, 5:00pm-10:00pm Sunday, 2:00pm-7:00pm
The Peer Support Line can be accessed by calling 631-471-7242 ext. 1217. Online Peer Support Groups can be accessed through this link: http://mhaw.org/programs/online-peer-support-groups
  • Disaster Distress Helpline- Contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 that provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Stress and Coping Resources- The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Please visit this link to access resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  Other Resources
  • Child Care-Any families in need of Child Care, please call the following numbers: Child Care Council of Nassau: (516) 358-9250
For emergency responders who need Child Care: (516) 727-0331 Child Care Council of Suffolk: (631) 462-0303.
  • Student Loans- the White House waived interest on federal student loans. Anyone affected by COVID-19 directly or indirectly and need of support has options to reduce or postpone payments by applying for a deferment, forbearance and/or by changing their repayment plans. Please click here for more information
  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits- NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines. Please click here for more information. 
Filing a new Unemployment Insurance claim?  The day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name.  Last names starting with A - F, file on Monday.  Last names starting with G - N, file on Tuesday.  Last names starting with O - Z, file on Wednesday.  If you missed your filing day, file on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim; all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan: Upon a request received from a state’s Governor, the SBA has announced it will issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for that state. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will make low-interest loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by COVID-19. Once the SBA has approved New York State’s request, information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available at SBA.gov/disaster. For more information, please see the SBA fact sheet.

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Established in 1947, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) is a regional, nonprofit umbrella organization for health and human service providers. We are dedicated to improving the lives of Long Island’s most vulnerable residents by responding to their needs through the promotion and development of public policies and direct services.

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We've Moved! 110 Walt Whitman Road, Suite 101, Huntington Station, NY 11746

Phone: 516-483-1110

Fax: 516-483-4794

E-mail: connect@hwcli.com

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@HWCLI RT @SuffolkCoHealth: Today is April 1st, CENSUS DAY 2020!! This means that by now you should have heard from the Census Bureau inviting you…
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