Rhode Island COVID-19 Resources


UNEMPLOYMENT

File an Unemployment claim: https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/UIClaims2013/intro/index.aspx?AC=yes


GENERAL QUESTIONS & CASH ASSISTANCE

For General Questions: Call 211 for United Way helpline

To see what public assistance you qualify for go to:

https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/access/am-i-eligible?PAGE_ACTION=LoadWelcome&language=EN

For a full listing of public assistance programs go to:

http://www.economicprogressri.org/index.php/guide-to-assistance-full-listing-all-programs/


PAYING MORTGAGE OR RENT

Hardest hit fund for homeowners: hhfri.org or call (401) 277-1500

Rhode Island Housing HelpCenter – rent, mortgage, and foreclosure help: 401-457-1130 or https://www.rihousing.com/homeowner-assistance/

Housing Mediation, counseling, and other resources by bank: Read more.


ESSENTIAL UTILITY SERVICES

The Public Utilities Commission has directed every electric, gas, water, and wastewater utility regulated by the state agency, including National Grid, and Providence Water to discontinue service terminations and other collection activities for all customers until May 8, 2020.


ENERGY AND HEATING ASSISTANCE

RISEO Emergency Fuel Program
This Rhode Island program is a separate program from LIHEAP and it offers emergency assistance to households that are experiencing an energy-related crisis, and will help families pay utility and heating bills.

Good Neighbor Energy Fund: www.rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org.

UniBank assistance program: 508-754-1176

Heating assistance: https://www.ricommunityaction.org/member-services/default.aspx


RESOURCES FOR FOOD ACCESS

Starting April 7th, in order to support the health of families and staff, Providence is moving to a multi-day food distribution system. Free grab & go breakfast, lunch & dinners are available throughout the city.Beginning April 7, meals for multiple days will be provided at each location (6 meals on Tuesday & 8 meals on Friday).
Meals for multiple days can be picked up at Providence Public School meal distribution sites Tuesday & Friday 11:00AM-2:00PM or at Recreation Centers Tuesday & Friday 4:00PM-6:00PM. 
Parents and guardians can pick up meals on behalf of Providence Public School students. Come with your student’s name, school name, and school identification number. All other meals can be picked up by any Providence youth 18 & under, no registration, no identification required.
Please note, multi-day boxes of food weigh approximately 8lbs. each.
Rhode Islanders seeking food assistance may locate their local food pantry online through the Rhode Island Food Bank or by calling the United Way of Rhode Island by dialing 2-1-1. Residents seeking food assistance are asked to please call ahead to confirm a program is still open during their regularly listed hours.

Farm Fresh Rhode Island also has a Market Mobile wholesale service to get fresh food from local farms delivered to your home. Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Market Mobile Service accepts PayPal in addition to SNAP and EBT.

Help ensure all Rhode Islanders have access to the food they need while preventing the spread of COVID-19. The best way you can help support this critical work is to make a financial donation to these organizations.

Food pantries near Providence

SNAP, R.I. Works Program, Cash assistance, other programs: https://healthyrhode.ri.gov/access/am-i-eligible?PAGE_ACTION=LoadWelcome&language=EN

RI Food Banks: Read more.


RESOURCES FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS

The Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) is conducting Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) appointments by phone and is also available to help clients receiving assistance from the Low Income Home Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other emergency services. To contact, call 401-467-7013 during regular working hours or email at info@comcap.org. Please note that state and federal taxes are not due this year until July 15.


RESOURCES FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

Testing for COVID-19 is available to every Rhode Islander, regardless of immigration status. To learn more about Rhode Island-specific healthcare, housing, food, COVID-19 testing locations, public charge, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) matters during the COVID-19 response, please visit the Rhode Island Economic Progress Institute’s COVID-19 resource page.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency will not consider any “testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine because available) related to COVID-19 in a public charge determination, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits.” The Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign developed a quick reference guide on Immigrant Eligibility for Public Programs During COVID-19, outlining whether public programs will be taken into account for public charge purposes.

On March 18th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would “temporarily adjust its enforcement posture” and focus enforcement on “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.” For all others, the agency “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.” The agency also stated that HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) will continue to carry out their mission and that DHS would not make any arrests near hospitals, doctor’s offices, or health clinics “except in the most extraordinary circumstances.” It remains unclear how this additional guidance will be implemented. ICE has also suspended check-ins at their local field office (and sub-contracting agencies) in some jurisdictions (including NYC); For those whose jurisdictions have not received clear guidance, individuals should contact their local field office.

All immigration court hearings are postponed until at least May 1, 2020, for people who are not detained. For people who are detained, hearings are continuing for now. Stay informed about updates by visiting The Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), calling their hotline at 800-898-7180, and checking the EOIR Facebook page.

All routine face-to-face services with applicants at all United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices nationwide, including interviews, biometrics appointments, and naturalization ceremonies remain suspended until May 3. USCIS will continue to process applications that have already completed their interviews. They will also provide emergency service appointments through the USCIS Contact Center. On March 30, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will remain in effect until ASC’s resume normal operations. United We Dream issued updated guidance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).


RESOURCES FOR HOMEOWNERS SEEKING MORTGAGE FORBEARANCE

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes several measures designed to relieve the financial strain on homeowners during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please note this information is evolving as federal guidance is created and we will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

Please visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the full range of mortgage relief options.

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Mortgage Relief in the CARES Act:

  • This fact sheet from the National Housing Law Project
  • This FAQ from the US House Committee on Financial Services.

Bad Behavior

  • If you believe that you are being denied relief you are entitled to, contact the RI Attorney General’s office. The complaint line is 401-274-4400, prompt #1 is for the consumer protection unit.

OTHER HOUSING ASSISTANCE BY LOCATION

BLACKSTONE VALLEY COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM
401-723-4520-238
32 Goff Avenue
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860-2928

THE HOUSING NETWORK OF RHODE ISLAND
401-521-1461
1070 Main Street
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860

COMMUNITYWORKSRI
401-273-2330-109
693 Broad Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02907

OLNEYVILLE HOUSING CORPORATION
401-351-8719
66 Chaffee Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02909

PROVIDENCE HOUSING AUTHORITY
401-709-6400
100 Broad Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-4129

RHODE ISLAND HOUSING
401-457-1130
44 Washington St
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-1721


HEALTHCARE

RIte Care Assistance Program: (401) 462-5300

Prescription Drug Assistance Program from RIRx: https://rirx.com/

Child Care Assistance Program: (401) 462-5300RIte Share – Healthcare assistance program for families: (401) 462-0311or http://www.eohhs.ri.gov/Consumer/FamilieswithChildren/RIteShare.aspx


COUNTY SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE:

Kent County

Newport County

Providence County

Washington County

UNITE HERE Local 26 Guidelines to Reopening the Hotel Industry

 

REGARDING THE REOPENING OF THE BOSTON HOTEL INDUSTRY

Carlos Aramayo, President, UNITE HERE Local 26

 

The public health crisis caused by COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted UNITE HERE Local 26’s members and their families. As the union representing over 12,000 mostly black and brown members in the hospitality industry, we have suffered the human and financial costs of this pandemic. Almost all of our members are laid off from their jobs at the city’s hotels, universities, airport, and casino. The few members who are still at work face a dangerous environment on the front lines, with dozens becoming ill and at least one having died.

As the hotel industry contemplates reopening in Boston, UNITE HERE Local 26 believes the lives of our members, their families, and the public are more valuable than the bottom line of hotel owners. Today, in line with this conviction, we are issuing three principles for reopening. They are:

  • No hotel should call employees back to work until Governor Baker rescinds COVID-19 Order No. 13 and No. 21 as they relate to hotels;
  • To protect workers and family members who are vulnerable to the virus, and to ensure that they do not have to choose between their health and the unemployment benefits they are receiving, no worker should be forced to return to work until the Massachusetts State of Emergency is lifted, and;
  • Hotels must meet UNITE HERE Local 26’s COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Standards to protect the public from this virus.

The Boston hotel industry is not capable of policing itself during this crisis. The Biogen conference at the Marriott Long Wharf contributed to the spread of Covid-19 in Boston and across the United States. Despite this, some hotels remained open weeks after known Covid-19 positive guests stayed at their properties. Only the shut-down interventions by Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker prevented many more of our family members from getting sick. Now, as the industry contemplates returning to work, we need to put the health of our members, families, and the travelling public ahead of corporate profits.

By following these standards, we can protect our members’ and the public’s health and begin the process of reopening our economy.

 

UNITE HERE LOCAL 26 COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS

Cleaning standards – Each hotel shall establish, implement, and maintain written cleaning standards designed to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.  The standards shall provide for disinfection of porous and non-porous materials using appropriate EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2. Standards should include but not be limited to:

(1). High-contact Public Areas – areas such as door and door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, countertops, furniture, ice and vending machines should be cleaned after every guest use.

(2). Guest rooms – All surfaces in guest rooms shall be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. In order to ensure thorough cleaning of guest rooms operators should provide ample time for room cleaners to clean each room and should not offer any incentive to any guest for declining guest room cleaning per World Health Organization guidance.

(3). Front desk – Plexiglass shields or other appropriate barriers shall be installed at the front desk in order physically to separate guests and employees.

 

Controls for preventing transmission of SARS-CoV

(1). Employees and guests remain at least six feet apart from other employees and guests while performing their assigned work and during breaks.  In no event shall any employee be required to work within six feet of, or in the same guest room as, any guest.

(2). Paid handwashing breaks shall be scheduled for employees at least every hour at a washing facility supplied with soap.  At other times, employees shall have access to hand sanitizer in proximity to their work area such that they do not have to interrupt their normal duties to access it.

(3). N-95 masks and latex gloves masks shall be provided to employees, at no cost to the employee. N-95 and latex gloves shall be made available to guests.

(4). Time-keeping mechanisms shall not require a direct contact between an employee and the mechanism, such as finger swipe identification systems.

(5). Employees scheduled in teams that will operate separately from each other, without any shift overlap.  Once assigned to a team, the hotel shall not switch employees to a different team or shift.

(6). Any employee shall receive paid time to undergo testing. Any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 shall be entitled to take an additional 24 days off with pay.

 

No Retaliation – No person shall discharge, reduce in compensation, increase workload, impose fees or charges, change duties or otherwise take adverse action against any employee for following any practice proscribed here

 

Training – All employees shall receive training in the above

Donate to Support Boston and Rhode Island Hospitality Workers During COVID-19

The COVID–19 pandemic is hitting hospitality workers especially hard. As business pauses in sports and event venues, airports, hotels, universities, and convention centers, working families are facing layoffs and uncertainty. You can help by making a donation today.

Funds are used to help hospitality workers:

  • maintain family health insurance coverage during layoffs or reduced hours
  • pay for food, rent, and utilities
  • replace wages lost due to reduced hours and tips
  • retrain for new jobs during the business downturn

Recent Local 26 Victories

Local 26 COVID-19 Crisis Hotline is Up and Running

Local 26 members can call 339-215-3579 to receive support with applying for unemployment or other state aid. Other resources are also available at https://www.local26.org/2020/03/covid-19-resources/.

MIT, Tufts, and Harvard Agree to Pay Dining Hall Workers during COVID-19 Crisis

Red Sox include Fenway Concessions Workers in Support Package