COVID-19

COVID-19 RESPONSE

We have activated the  Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD) Coalition.  We have been in constant contact with the Suffolk and Nassau County DoH and OEM as well as our active VOAD members.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the VOAD is a coalition of government, nonprofit, and private sector partners who come together to collaboratively address disasters on Long Island. The situation is developing on a nearly hourly basis, and we recognize the critical and emergent need for a robust, and coordinated response across the nonprofit and government sectors for the health and safety of our region.
We are working tirelessly to ensure that the Long Island VOAD responds to your concerns as well as the needs of the community.

MEETINGS

Please fill out our Capacity Survey for all partners. This will provide an understanding of what services are currently being offered, and it may allow us to generate additional funding and resources. Your results will be public so that our network can rapidly access information and resources.    

Please complete this questionnaire to register your community needs/ questions for partners on the call.


FULL VOAD STANDING CALL Every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00am for updates, resources, and reports from our government and nonprofit partners.  

  • Please join from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 
  • https://www.gotomeet.me/HWCLI/covid-19  
  • You can also dial in using your phone. 
  • United States: +1 (408) 650-3123 
  • Access Code: 929-959-189 

Subcommittee Schedule & Registration

Mondays, 11:30AM – Behavioral Health calls

Mondays, 1:00PM – Philanthropic calls

Wednesdays, 3:00PM – Legal Concerns calls

Thursdays, 4:00PM – Family Violence calls

Sign-up forthcoming


VOAD Remote Convening Call Notes

Behavioral Health Subcommittee Call Notes

Emergency Food Subcommittee Call Notes

  • Forthcoming

Family Violence Subcommittee Call Notes

Legal Concerns Subcommittee Notes

Philanthropic Subcommittee Call Notes


PREVENTION, TESTING & PUBLIC SAFETY

For the testing hotline in Nassau & Suffolk Counties: 888 364 3065

 

Resources:

FOR REQUESTING EMERGENCY SUPPLIES:

Town/Village/Hamlet Information Pages
Several municipalities on Long Island have created COVID-19 specific pages:

HEALTHCARE RESOURCES

  • Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured New Yorkers– 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 is 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.

EMERGENCY FOOD RESOURCES

  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)– The Department of Social Services will continue to process SNAP applications and assist clients.
    • HWCLI continues to assist clients with SNAP Applications remotely- for more information on our service please call: (516) 505-4437, or you can apply directly here: Apply for Snap

 

  • 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.

 

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

 

  • Peer Support Services– In response to this need, the Association for Mental Health & Wellness (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, 9:00am-5:00pm
    • Saturday, 5:00pm-10:00pm
    • Sunday, 2:00pm-7:00pm

The Peer Support Line can be accessed by calling 631-471-7242 ext. 1217.

        If your situation is urgent, please call the 24/7                           Response Hotline at (631) 751-7500.

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.
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
    • Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
    • Spanish Speakers / En Español 
      • TTY 1-800-846-8517
      • Call 1-800-985-5990 and press “2”
      • From the 50 States, text Hablanos to 66746
      • From Puerto Rico, text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663
  • 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.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES

  • Long Island Against Domestic Violence– Provides a range of services that help over 14,000 Long Island adults and children each year to escape from abusive relationships and build new lives. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, LIADV’s Administrative office will be operating on a limited basis. However, they’re hotline will continue to be a free, confidential resource for survivors of domistic violence or secual assault and their loved ones. Call 631-666-8833 at any time.

 

  • The Safe Center Long Island–  The agency is maintaining emergency service responses at the Bethpage Office (Hotline and Child Advocacy Center) and Safe Home services during this time. In case of emergency call our Hotline at (516)542-0404.

All non-emergent client services will be provided remotely until further notice. In addition, all client meetings will be conducted by phone unless a staff member directs clients to come to the office.

CHILDCARE & CHILDREN-FOCUSED RESOURCES

We’re working hard to bring you more information. Please check back often as we are working to update content daily. If there are resources you’d like to contribute, please email them to us at voad@hwcli.com

LEGAL ISSUES & RESOURCES

FOR THOSE SEEKING LEGAL ADVICE/REPRESENTATION:

  • Empire Justice Center: The Empire Justice Center is a statewide non-profit law firm that focuses on poverty law and social policy. Our Long Island office provides advocacy and legal assistance at no cost to low income Long Islanders in Nassau and Suffolk, regardless of immigration status. We assist with matters related to public benefits, immigration, consumer fraud, housing (for tenants facing eviction), disability rights, language access, child support, and other non-criminal matters. We are available to provide technical assistance to other advocates and to accept calls from the community, as well as referrals. We will provide assistance in your language. Please call us at our main number at 631-650-2306 and we will return your call. You may also email ckeshner@empirejustice.org, especially if you have questions regarding public charge and immigrant access to benefits. For more info and to access our trainings and legal resources,  please see our webpage: https://empirejustice.org.

 

 

  • Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) is a nonprofit based in New York that provides free family law information and advice. LIFT is dedicated to enhancing access to justice for families involved in the New York Family Court system. Parents and caregivers seeking information about New York child support, custody, visitation, paternity, or Family Court procedure can call LIFT’s Helpline at 212-343-1122, Toll-free 800-696-8629 (Helpline hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm).  In addition to providing information over the Helpline, LIFT can arrange one-on-one consultations for legal advice on issues of paternity, child support, custody, and visitation. For legal advice outside of New York City, call LIFT’s Helpline for information about Family Legal Connection, a program that connects unrepresented litigants with pro bono attorneys by video-chat.  LIFT’s programs are free and open to all. LIFT does not provide full legal representation. Visit LIFT’s website for more resources including Legal Resource Guides explaining the basics of New York family law and the court process www.LIFTonline.org.

 

 

  • Touro Law Empire Justice Center: The Empire Justice Center is the only statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy non-profit law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low-income families live. With a focus on poverty law, Empire Justice undertakes research and training, acts as an informational clearinghouse and provides litigation backup to local legal services programs and community-based organizations. Please call (631) 650-2305.

 

  • Touro Senior Citizens Law Program at Touro Law Center, legal services provided by licensed attorneys, without charge, to Suffolk County residents only, ages 60+. Assistance with government benefit programs, consumer debt issues, landlord-tenant matters, durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills, home repair fraud, financial exploitation, institutional abuse, warranties, and contracts, and related matters. Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the New York State Office for the Aging through the Suffolk County Office for the Aging. For more information please call 631.761.7470 or click here.

CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
COURTS

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Please also see the “Domestic Violence” page

FEDERAL & STATE LAWS

HOUSING
Please also see the “Housing & Utility Resources” page

IMMIGRATION

LABOR, EMPLOYMENT & BENEFITS
Please also see the “Unemployment and Labor Resources” page

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCE GUIDES

Several organizations and firms have developed resource guides with information specifically for legal service providers or those seeking legal guidance on matters related to COVID-19.

If you are an attorney and are looking to volunteer, please email voad@hwcli.com.

HOUSING & UTILITY RESOURCES

Housing, Rent, Landlord/Tenant Issues, Evictions

Utilities

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, and will be reevaluated at that time.

 

  • 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 can 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, 9:00am-5:00pm. In light 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 CITIZENS RESOURCES

Senior Resources

  • Offices of the Aging: Nassau and Suffolk Offices for the Aging are Open, you can call them to find out about services near you:
Nassau County
Office for the Aging

Suffolk County
Office for the Aging

516-227-8900

631-853-8200

 

  • 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.
  • Municipal Meal Deliveries and Pick-ups: Many towns on Long Island are continuing to serve Seniors through deliveries and pick-up options. Check this list to see if your town has options for senior meals. 
  • 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.
  • Economic Impact Payments: Under the CARES Act, all recipients of Social Security are eligible to receive a one time Economic Impact Payment. Click here to learn more: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm967

FOR NONPROFITS

  • FEMA Public Assistance Reimbursement Program – The President’s Major Disaster Declaration authorizes FEMA’s Public Assistance program to fund Emergency Protective Measures. By applying to the Public Assistance (PA) Program, eligible nonprofit agencies may be reimbursed for eligible costs related to COVID-19.

NYS Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) helps to administer the Public Assistance program.

Potential eligible applicants include:

  1. Local governments and special districts
  2. Certain types of private nonprofit (PNP) organizations:
    1. Critical PNPs – PNPs that own or operate a facility that provides a critical service, e.g., hospitals and emergency care facilities, fire & rescue emergency services, educational facilities (including colleges both public or private), nursing homes, laboratories, and rehab centers that provide medical care.
    2. Non-critical but essential PNPs – PNPs that own or operate a facility that provides a non-critical, but essential social service AND provides those services to the general public, e.g., senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, community centers, child care facilities, food assistance programs, performing arts facilities, and houses of worship.

The New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) has links to the applicant briefing webinar slides, as well as relevant forms and eligibility guidelines. If you are planning to apply for Public Assistance, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you submit your Request for Public Assistance (RPA) as soon as possible.

 

FEDERAL LAW GUIDANCE

HOW CAN I HELP?

NASSAU COUNTY PPE DONATIONS
Donation Drop Off Location: Nassau County Public Safety Parking Lot, Field 3, Park Blvd, Eisenhower Park. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday through April 3.

Supplies requested include:

  • N95 Surgical Masks in unopened container/boxes
  • Eye protection such as goggles and face shields
  • Nitrile Gloves in unopened boxes that have not expired
  • Disposable medical gowns (paper which are fluid resistant or plastic)
  • Shoe cover/booties
  • No-Touch thermometers
  • Thermometer probe covers
  • HEPA filters for Ventilators / Anesthesia Machines
  • Antibacterial and disinfecting wipes – typically alcohol or bleach based
  • Disinfecting wipes (Clorox/Lysol)
  • Hand sanitizer

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY PPE DONATIONS
To help protect our medical professionals and first responders, a Suffolk County Supply Drive is being held to collect personal protective equipment. Residents can drop off supplies at the Suffolk County Fire Academy located at 102 East Avenue in Yaphank from Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

 

Suffolk County is partnering with the construction industry, building trades, and others in organized labor to solicit donations of N95 masks, earloop face masks, gowns, and gloves. The County is also looking to solicit donations of earloop masks and gloves from the personal service industry. For a large donation of supplies or a potential vendor of opportunity, residents can contact FRESfinance@suffolkcountyny.gov.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES

  • 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.

 

  • Additional guidance from NYS’ Empire State Development page, including an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) FAQ can be found here. Scroll to the bottom of the page for documents with additional information.

 

  • Tax Season-The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. HWCLI will reopen their VITA tax services when it’s permitted to return to our offices. If you are a current client and have a question about your in-progress return please call Lynn or Dedriah at 516 738 0447.

 

  • Student Loans– Interest on federal student loans has been waived at this time. 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 from StudentAid.gov.

 

  • How do I stop automatic payments from my bank accounts?: For those who need their scarce funds for food and have unaffordable payments coming out of their account, here is information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with sample letters.  Of course, the consumer will still owe the money and should be prepared to expect debt collection efforts.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION PAGES

Several municipalities on Long Island have created COVID-19 specific pages:

 

Town of Babylon COVID-19 Page

Town of Huntington COVID-19 Page

Town of Islip COVID-19 Page

Town of Oyster Bay COVID-19 Page

UNEMPLOYMENT & LABOR RESOURCES

  • 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.

 

  • The CARES Act was enacted on Friday, March 27, 2020. Please see the CARES Act web page for information about how the Act may affect UI benefits.

 

 

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.

 

A Claimant FAQ page can be found here.

 

IN SPANISH: A document with useful information in Spanish can be found here.

 

Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to submit an unemployment claim online.

 

Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus – What You Need to Know and Do About the CARES Act: The Department of Labor released helpful flowcharts on applying for Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

 

New York Paid Family Leave COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

OTHER RESOURCE GUIDES & SITES

Several partners, state agencies, and other entities have compiled COVID-19 related resources as well. Here are several that may contain useful information for you.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Nassau Suffolk Law Services COVID-19 Response – NSLS provides many legal and general COVID-19 resources, including resources related to family and domestic violence, evictions, mortgages and foreclosures life planning, personal finances and employment, and more.

 

 

 

 

  • SGR COVID-19 Resource Center: Smith, Gambrell, & Russell, LLP provides this list of resources to provide guidance in navigating the growing legal considerations that may be encountered during the COVID-19 Outbreak.

 

 

 

  • Please see this guide from the Suffolk County Library Association on creating materials in accessible formats for communications for your agency.

DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES

COVID-19 File Manager

Resources

LIVOAD

LIVOAD MISSION

The LIVOAD (Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is a collaborative effort inclusive of nonprofit, government, and private sector partners, constantly working toward comprehensive preparation and planning. The LIVOAD identifies community-specific concerns, and is addressing these through expert-led coalitions lead by HWCLI. Within an accessible and inclusive environment, we work to address emergent needs and gaps and services in order to build a more resilient Long Island for generations to come. Of paramount importance is being prepared to respond to anticipated and spontaneous large- and small-scale disasters effectively, and working with partner agencies to mitigate the effects of myriad disasters.

Formed by HWCLI in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, the LIVOAD has worked for almost two decades as an umbrella structure for group working on disaster planning and recovery. This broad coalition is a local version the National VOAD which is comprised of disaster health and human service, religious, and government agencies working through Collaboration, Cooperation, Coordination, and Communication (4 C’s) to respond regionally. From guiding Long Islanders to HEAP services in the winter, to facilitating cross-sector, multi-agency response to large-scale disasters, the LIVOAD stands ready to assist Long Islanders with disasters of varying magnitude and scope. Recognizing that disasters come in many forms and sizes, we welcome you to become a member and bring your expertise to help us address the many disasters Long Islanders face. For more information, please contact either Marissa Hiruma (mhiruma@hwcli.com) or Tommi-Grace Melito (tgmelito@hwcli.com).

LIVOAD HISTORY

  • HWCLI formed the Long Island VOAD after the September 11 attacks, and to create a localized plan to help the region recover from the economic and emotional disaster including trauma and grief counseling, job training, and financial support.
  • LIVOAD activated in support of Long Islanders impacted by the 2007-2008 financial disaster.
  • From 2012 to 2018, HWCLI led the Superstorm Sandy Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG). Through the LIVOAD, Long Island’s health and human service sector worked together both in the immediate aftermath of Sandy and in the second wave of response, providing shelter, food, clothing, mental health services, medical care, and financial assistance for utility bills to families in need.
  • In coordination with the Sandy LTRG, HWCLI convened the Unmet Needs Roundtable, which brought together private donors with case workers seeking assistance on behalf of clients who have no other possible sources of help. UNR staff worked collaboratively with utility company customer advocates to ensure continued high-quality service delivery through the adverse aftermath of the storm. The Unmet Needs Roundtable distributed more than $8 million to more than 800 Sandy-impacted households.

Recent News

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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March 12, 2020

COVID-19: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR NONPROFITS ON THE LAW, PROTECTING YOUR EMPLOYERS, AND UNDERSTANDING THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

3/24/2020: NEW COVID-19 PAGE ON THE HWCLI WEBSITE HWCLI is now maintaining a separate page with all COVID-19 information and resources. Click here.   3/12/2020: COVID-19: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR NONPROFITS ON THE LAW, PROTECTING YOUR EMPLOYERS, AND UNDERSTANDING THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS Critical Legal Information that Nonprofit Employers Need to Know Regarding COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic is in many ways a completely unprecedented situation, and as such, many individuals and organizations may feel unsure or unprepared about how to respond and proceed. This is especially true for nonprofits who have complicated legal and financial bylaws and mandates. The Lawyer's Alliance of New York has compiled this document, outlining legal considerations regarding sick employees, duties to provide safe and healthy workplaces, what employers can and can't do, and rules around quarantine and sickness. Additionally, the Human Services Council has developed a COVID-19 Resources for Human Services Providers page, and is hosting a webinar tomorrow (Friday, March 13) from 12 - 1p for human services providers on COVID-19. Click here for more information and to register.   Suffolk State of Emergency Declaration and What It Means Today, Suffolk County declared a State of Emergency, which lifts some restrictions and provides powers including bypassing purchasing regulations, thus allowing the county to act more quickly. A State of Emergency declaration shouldn't cause panic, but instead can be seen as a measure that our local governments are taking to ensure they have the tools to respond to COVID-19 needs more quickly and effectively. Suffolk County Steve Bellone "said the declaration will 'allow county government to more quickly respond to the emergency,' including by purchasing 'critical supplies' like hand sanitizer, protective gear, gowns, masks and moving staff as needed." For more on what a State of Emergency means, here's an article from the Patch published yesterday.   Better Understanding "Imminent Public Threat" in Nassau As of Thursday Afternoon, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran declared an "Imminent Threat to Public Health" in Nassau County. This is an interim step toward declaring a State of Emergency: "We are having ongoing conversations with the state about what kind of measures can be taken if there are any clusters that emerge," Curran said. "At this moment, it is too soon to say what that looks like, however by declaring an imminent threat to public health, it does pave the way for us to declare a state of emergency." Although it seems intimidating, residents should remember that a state of emergency is a strategic move to allow county governments to allocate resources, and respond more quickly and efficiently than they would normally. For more on what a State of Emergency means, here's an article from the Patch published yesterday.   Limiting Mass Gatherings in New York State Governor Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of 500 or more people on Thursday. For gatherings under 500 people and for venues, capacity has been cut by half. This does not, however, apply to schools, hospitals, mass transit, and nursing homes. While this can sound quite alarming, it's vital to remember that it is a preventative measure-critical to limiting the potential effects of COVID-19. By reducing the volume of individuals at public gatherings, the risk of transmission decreases, and thus helps reduce the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients so that hospitals can maintain the capacity to treat them. Separating Fact from Fear There is an overabundance of misinformation, rumors, and fear-laden language being employed to discuss COVID-19. As always, we urge you to seek information from reliable sources such as:

Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. COVID-19 has and is likely to affect people from many countries, in many geographical locations. Don't attach it to any ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to those who got affected, in and from any country, those with the disease have not done anything wrong.   Mental Health The mental health effects of COVID-19 should be taken seriously. Even for those unaffected by the disease, the constant stream of alarming updates from news media can be overwhelming. Stress Mitigation and Mental Health Guidance from WHO Seek information updates, and practical guidance at specific times during the day once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts. Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities' platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors. During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected. Stay connected and maintain your social networks. Even in situations of isolations, try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper For health workers, feeling stressed is an experience that you and many of your health worker colleagues are likely going through; in fact, it is quite normal to be feeling this way in the current situation. Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak. Managing your stress and psycho-social well-being during this time is as important as managing your physical health.   Disaster Distress Helpline The Disaster Distress Helpline remains open 24/7/265 for those who may be experiencing psychological distress related to COVID-19. News of COVID-19 cases on Long Island as well as state of emergency declarations may understandably be a cause of stress for many people. It as important a time as ever to be mindful of the ways in which information may be impacting our mental health. SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline is available and can provide immediate support to those in need. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The helpline is available 24/7/365. If you, or someone you care for is prone to anxiety or depression, you can also see these tips from the WHO on anxiety management for caregivers and individuals. Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990
  • TTY 1-800-846-8517
Spanish Speakers 
  • Call 1-800-985-5990 and press "2"
  • From the 50 States, text Hablanos to 66746
  • From Puerto Rico, text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663
  • En Español
    3/10/2020: SPECIALIZED INFORMATION FOR NONPROFITS REGARDING COVID-19 Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not currently an emergency on Long Island, many of our partners have requested guidance as we plan, prepare, and respond, especially in light of the World Health Organization now officially designating the virus as a global pandemic. We have enclosed up-to-date resources on risk mitigation, contingency planning. We are asking partner organizations to complete this brief capacity survey and needs assessment, indicating what services you are able to provide in the event of a wider outbreak as well as what needs your organization or community has related to COVID-19. Please complete this as soon as possible. Statement from the LIVOAD (Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster): In light of the recent declaration of a State of Emergency by Governor Cuomo, the LIVOAD has reached out to County and State Offices of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. There are no directives or requests for assistance to share at this time. We will continue to provide regular updates as they become available. At this time, we are on standby, monitoring the situation and awaiting further instruction. There is no change in our state EOC Status at this time. Please help us ensure that accurate and useful information is disseminated throughout our communities. Although there seems to be an abundance of live updates, predictions, and coverage, please only consult reputable sources such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Local Government Resources Nassau County: Nassau County DoH: Coronavirus/COVID-19 Website (Click here) Nassau County Coronavirus Call Center Number: 516-227-9570 Suffolk County: Suffolk County DoH Coronavirus/COVID19 Website (Click here) Suffolk County Call Center: Call 311 A few key resources from the CDC and the WHO: What You Need To Know (PDF - CDC): English (Click here) Simplified Chinese (Click here) Spanish (Click here) Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (CDC) What To Do If You Are Sick With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (CDC) World Health Organization (WHO) Prevention The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC's recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Interim Guidance for Community- and Faith-Based Organizations This interim guidance is to help community- and faith-based organizations (CFBOs), whose members may include vulnerable populations, plan for community transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages CFBOs to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their local communities. Checklist for Community and Faith Leaders Community- and faith-based organizations are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in their communities. Use this checklist to protect the health of those you serve and staff in your care. Special Considerations For Nonprofit Employers In the nonprofit sector, we generally depend on our staff to wear many hats in the course of a day. With limited funds, our human resources are beyond precious. This article outlines several employee-centric strategies for employers including how to gauge needs with an ADA Compliant Pandemic Survey, as well as tips to reduce workplace stress. Due to the unique nature of our funding streams through grants, CEO's may want to reach out to their funders to check in about deliverables, outcomes, and timelines. This guidance philanthropy.com outlines several important considerations. Interim Guidelines for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19 As with any disasters, it's best to have plans in place for how to respond. The CDC offers guidelines for employers on how to manage in the event that COVID-19 significantly impacts employees and business functions. To learn more about this, please click here. Telecommuting Resources Many workplaces are opting to have employees work from home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here is information to consider as well as tools that are available to you and your organization to facilitate remote work.
  • GoToMeeting by LogMeIn (click here) is offering eligible non-profits and other entities free Emergency Remote Work kits to allow organiation-wide use of many LogMeIn products for three months.
  • Cisco WebEx (click here) is offering free WebEx meetings for non-profits, the education sector, and nonprofits.
Stigma Related to COVID-19 From the CDC: "Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region is specifically at risk for the disease (for example, Chinese-Americans and other Asian-Americans living in the United States). Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. We can fight stigma and help not hurt others by providing social support. We can communicate the facts that being Chinese or Asian American does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19." From the WHO: COVID-19 has and is likely to affect people from many countries, in many geographical locations. Don't attach it to any ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to those who got affected, in and from any country, those with the disease have not done anything wrong. Don't refer to people with the disease as "COVID-19 cases", "victims" "COVID-19 families" or the "diseased". They are "people who have COVID-19", "people who are being treated for COVID-19", "people who are recovering from COVID-19" and after recovering from COVID-19 their life will go on with their jobs, families and loved ones. Mental Health News of COVID-19 cases on Long Island as well as the state of emergency declaration in New York State may understandably be a cause of stress for many people. It as important a time as ever to be mindful of the ways in which information may be impacting our mental health. SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline is available and can provide immediate support to those in need. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The helpline is available 24/7/365. If you, or someone you care for is prone to anxiety or depression, you can also see these tips from the WHO on anxiety management for caregivers and individuals.

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The LIVOAD is led by HWCLI and is comprised of over 100 agencies with expertise in such areas as government affairs, mental health, animal safety, legal advice, policy analysis, feeding, housing, spiritual care, immigrant affairs, environment, and accessibility and special needs.
  • American Red Cross on Long Island

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  • Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services

  • FEMA

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  • Island Cares

  • Long Island Volunteer Center

  • NYS Department of Homeland Security Nassau County Office of Emergency Management (OEM)

  • National VOAD

  • New York State VOAD

  • The Salvation Army

  • Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services (FRES)

  • SPCA (Nassau and Suffolk Counties)

  • Touro Law Center

  • United Way of Long Island

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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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