In this guide:
- What is COVID-19 and how can you stay safe?
- Help and resources available
- Ways you can help
As the coronavirus situation unfolds around the world, we are all faced with a trying moment of uncertainty and fear. At the same time, we are also presented with an opportunity to get creative in finding ways to lift up and help out our neighbors. Cindy Greenberg of Repair the World summed it up when she said; “As a community, we are grappling with the question, ‘What can we do to support those around us?'”.
In light of the care and vigilance required in response to the COVID-19 virus, ELDI, like many organizations and institutions, will take measures to protect our residents, our employees, and board members in our efforts to ensure that the essential work we do together in our community is maintained at this time of critical need.
In line with CDC and health department guidelines, ELDI is mitigating where possible meetings, gatherings, and public convenings that might aid transmission of the COVID-19 virus as a precautionary measure for everyone involved.
So while as all of us at ELDI continue our work from home, we are sharing here the resources available to those who may need support and ways we can all help. Most importantly: let us all stay calm during this period and follow the guidelines of our health officials.
In partnership and community,
What is COVID-19 and how can you stay safe?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans. It is a respiratory disease with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. There are no vaccines and no medications approved to treat it. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death.
Help and resources available
- The URA is offering a Housing Stabilization Program, in partnership with Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, that will assist households who are struggling with rent payments due to COVID-19-related losses in work and wages. City of Pittsburgh residents can call the Urban League at (412) 227-4164. Read details of the program here.
- The United Way operates a free helpline called 2-1-1 for housing and other emergencies. Dial 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211, or visit pa211sw.org for assistance.
- The PA Housing Alliance is keeping an updated list of housing resources that includes mortgage loss mitigation and financial bridge loans, among other information.
- Comcast is adjusting its Internet Essentials Program to meet the needs of low-income residents while dealing with the crisis.
- Duquesne Light is waiving customers’ late fees until at least May 1.
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority offers several Customer Assistance Programs that can provide financial relief during this difficult time. If you have experienced a recent loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may now qualify. Call (412) 255-2423 (press 5) to see if your eligible for help paying your monthly water bill. Learn more about Customer Assistance Programs.
Students who need to move due to outbreak precautions can get 30 days of free storage from U-Haul.
- Know your rights. Eviction proceedings have been temporarily halted. Also, shutoffs of utilities like gas, water and electric have been halted until further notice.
- Allegheny County Housing Authority says it’s working with residents who may have their working hours reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HUD) – (877) 350-4777
Income & financial help
- Unemployment compensation: Workers that are unable to work because of COVID-19 may be eligible for UC benefits or WC benefits. Information is available on the department’s website.
- A $2 trillion federal stimulus package includes checks of $1,200 for many single Americans, $2,400 for many married couples and an additional $500 to parents for each child under the age of 17. Check amounts depend on your income and likely won’t arrive before May.
- Hebrew Free Loan Association – Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh Presbyterian Lazarus – (412) 323-1400
- Veterans Leadership Program – Western PA – (412) 481-8200
- Pittsburgh’s Financial Empowerment Center – 1-800-298-0237
- Apply for interest-free Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loans of up to $5,000. Loans must be cosigned.
Small business support
- URA small business resources
- Financing is available to small Pennsylvania businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak via the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans to qualified Pennsylvanian small businesses experiencing economic injury as a result of the coronavirus. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the COVID-19 impact. Here’s the basics and how to apply.
- Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh has announced a Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program to provide interest-free loans on a nonsectarian basis for up to $5,000 to residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington, and Armstrong counties who are facing financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration Guide provides help to plan and respond to COVID-19.
- Honeycomb Credit is offering the Honeycomb Relief Loan program to small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These loans up to $50,000 will offer a 45-day payment free period and a six-month interest-only period. Honeycomb is also streamlining its diligence process, accelerating the speed that it launches campaigns onto its platform, and reducing fees across the board.
- The Kiva Pittsburgh program at Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) helps business owners to apply for and crowdfund 0% interest loans with Kiva.org. During the COVID-19 outbreak, loans can be as much as $15,000 with a 6-month grace period. Find links to more information, local assistance with your application, and the online application on the RCI website.
- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development has a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.
- The Allegheny Conference and its affiliate organizations created the Pittsburgh Region Response to COVID-19 webpage, full of information and resources available across local government, corporate, philanthropic, university and non-profit communities.
- Bridgeway Capital developed a COVID-19 Relief and Resources page for access to its financing solutions and resources. Bridgeway’s Entrepreneurship Hub is also offering free technical assistance.
- Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE)
- Greater Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Mutual Aid
- Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar
- Shared Resources on financial/legal rights
- The Emergency Fund for Artists provides up to $500 in assistance to western Pennsylvania artists experiencing a loss of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- USBG Emergency Fund
- Here’s guidance on when and how to get tested for COVID-19
- Have clinical questions? Call: 1-877-PA-HEALTH
- Here’s a list of testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.
- Visit UPMC, AHN and Central Outreach Wellness Center for more information on their testing sites and policies.
- For people in recovery: Alcoholics Anonymous is offering virtual meetings online. Narcotics Anonymous is doing the same.
- PA Department of Health – Crisis text line: Text PA to 741-741
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hotline — 1-800-662-HELP (4357) — for anyone who needs it. Pennsylvania has a number of hotline options as well.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Pittsburgh’s Steel Smiling organization has launched a free virtual mental health program for those in need.
- Frontline workers can find mental health support for COVID-19 with this listing of local therapists offering free appointments. Providers can email to have their name added to list.
- If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, there are resources to help, such as resolve Crisis Services and the Peer Support & Advocacy Network.
Katie Robb Sewall, MS, LPC is offering free counseling sessions for frontline workers. Contact her at (412) 566-7674 or email@example.com. More info on her website.
- All Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP recipients will have testing and treatment covered.
UPMC, Highmark, and Aetna will waive applicable deductibles, copayments, or other cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing when ordered by a member’s treating medical provider.
- Circles – Greater Pittsburgh
If you need a babysitter in order to go to work, please contact Tammy Thompson via email: tthompson@Circlespgh.org.
Please provide the following:
1. Number of children you need care for
2. Age of child/children
3. The hours that you need care for them
4. Name of Employer
5. Community you live in
- SeniorLine of Allegheny County – (412) 350-5460
- Meals On Wheels of Greater Pittsburgh – (412) 350-5460 or (412) 350-4234 (after hours, weekends and holidays)
- Vintage Senior Services – (412) 361-5003
- Seniors registered with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging program can get free takeout meals at one of six City Healthy Active Living (Senior) Centers between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- East End Cooperative Ministry community lunch – EECM’s daily community lunch from 12:15-1:15 pm will not be served in their dining room but rather as take-out only. Clients can pick up take-out bagged hot lunches and other food items at Entrance G of EECM’s building.
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank – (412) 460-3663
- Pittsburgh Public Schools Students – For Pittsburgh students that depend on PPS school breakfast & lunch programs, Grab & Go meals will be available at all 54 PPS school locations from 11 am-1 pm Monday through Friday. Students are instructed to go to the school location closest to their home.
- 412 Food Rescue – (412) 407-5287
- Just Harvest – (9 am-5 pm) at (412) 431-8960 x 602 – Assistance with SNAP and WIC benefit processing and applications
- Apply to The Emergency Food Assistance Program if you’re out of work or have lost hours or income due to the pandemic.
- Pick up free prepared meals every day from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fishes and Loaves Cooperative Ministries (131 E. Elizabeth Street).
- Get grab-and-go meals for school kids at multiple city recreation centers and Salvation Army sites around Pittsburgh.
- The Warren Bar and Burrow and Penn Cove Eatery Downtown are offering meals to service industry workers who’ve lost work due to coronavirus.
- Need formula and food for your family? The Urban League of Pittsburgh can help. Call 886-395-3663.
- Pregnant women, dependent children and caregivers can get help through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
- A map of free food distribution sites across Allegheny County is now available. Many of the sites have eligibility requirements, so call ahead to confirm you’re eligible.
- Call the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania at 2-1-1 for help finding food, housing or financial assistance.
- SNAP/Food Stamps
- Congress has suspended the work requirements rule subjecting able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) to a three-month time limit on receiving SNAP/Food Stamps (in any three year period) until one month after the federal emergency declaration ends.
- The tougher Trump Administration work requirements that were slated to take effect April 1 will not be imposed due to a judicial order.
- The PA Department of Human Services is extending all renewals and Semi-Annual reporting deadlines – no one will be terminated for not submitting paperwork for the next three months.
- SNAP applications can be expedited and benefits can be issued in 5 days.
- See here for info on how to apply.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- WIC has changed operations to promote social distancing. To apply for WIC, call 1-800-WIC -WINS or apply at pa.wic.com. The state will conduct all Intake appointments through Zoom and will mail WIC cards out to new recipients.
- Current recipients will complete their appointments by phone, and then will be told which locations they can go to to have their WIC SmartCard reloaded. When coming to have your card reloaded, please:
- Leave your children at home to reduce their risk of exposure
- Stay at home if you are feeling sick. You may add a proxy over the phone to pick up benefits.
- Hello Bully, a nonprofit Pit Bull rescue, has a month’s supply of food (enough for 20 dogs and 20 cats) and is offering no-contact delivery to pet owners in need of help.
More resources & guides
- Just Harvest’s Resource Guide
- Pittsburgh Mutual Aid Resources Library
- Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation’s guide
- East Liberty Chamber of Commerce’s guide
- Rep. Sara Innamorato’s guide
In order to help with the pandemic response, the Pitt Smart Living team at the University of Pittsburgh has built a mobile-friendly web site to help Pittsburghers share information about: (a) whether items are out of stock at different grocery stores (crowdsourced), and (b) how busy each store is at any given time, to help people choose a time to visit when stores are less crowded (using Google data). Please help your neighbors by contributing data whenever you go to the grocery store. The website can be accessed at https://www.got-toilet-paper.
Ways you can help East Liberty
- Support local, East Liberty businesses
- Donate to the East Liberty Chamber of Commerce’s GoFundMe for East Liberty businesses.
- Buy gift cards from East Liberty businesses, the Chamber has provided a list of local businesses and their offerings.
- Gallery on Penn has gone virtual – support these entrepreneurs and businesses by shopping online.
- Support local restaurants
- The Chamber also put together a list of East Liberty restaurants with call ahead, pick-up, and delivery service.
- Donate food and/or money to the East End Cooperative Ministry.
- Donate food items to Vintage Senior Services in East Liberty:
- Vintage is in need of shelf-stable food items, frozen meals, and dry goods for their hot lunch program, which many seniors in our community depend on. Most of the seniors receiving these boxes live alone, so keep that in mind in terms of sizes. Vintage expects staff will be in the building this week during business hours but feel free to call them at (412) 361-5003 to make sure they are on-site to accept deliveries.
- Keep the local arts alive
- Volunteer online: Repair the World shares ideas.
*Information compiled from NEXTPittsburgh, PublicSource, the URA, Rep. Sara Innamorato and other community resources and guides.
This guide will be continuously updated as new information becomes available.
For questions or to add to this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.