Resources for Individuals and Families Struggling During the COVID-19 Crisis
COVID-19 continues to negatively impact our entire region, and we are working to help those affected in a variety of ways. We are seeing needs of families forced to figure out childcare/education, food security, housing security, and more. See below for helpful resources.
You may be eligible if:
Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
Unemployment benefits are made available through taxes paid by your former employer(s) to partially replace your regular earnings and help you meet expenses while you look for another job. These benefits are intended to assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are not based on financial need, meaning that you WILL very likely qualify!
The Waiting Week is suspended. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the "waiting week.") This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed
Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with www.PACareerLink.pa.gov.
At this time, benefits are not being extended beyond 26 weeks.
WORKER’S COMPENSATION If you get sick or are out of work because you caught COVID-19 while working, you may be able to apply for Worker’s Compensation.
SNAP & OTHER BENEFITS See if you are eligible for SNAP (food stamps) and other benefits (LIHEAP, Cash Assistance, Medicaid, and more). With this short screening, you can see if you are eligible for all benefits that the state of PA can provide. If you qualify, you can either apply online, or call: Monroe County Assistance Office 1972 W. Main Street, Suite 101 Stroudsburg, PA 18360 7:30AM-5:00PM Phone: 1-877-905-1495 Or 570-424-3030
FILE YOUR TAXES: If you will be getting a refund, you can use this money to pay for essentials and as an emergency fund – with the understanding that you will not receive your refund for 2-4 weeks after filing. You can currently file your taxes for free online at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way. The IRS also may extend the filing season from its current April 15th deadline – if they do we will share it here.
CONTACT LENDERS Call your credit card companies, lenders, mortgage holders or landlords. Let them know that you are being impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Some creditors have plans to account for when you are going through a hardship or emergency. Reach out to your credit card issuer, auto loan provider, mortgage company, or landlord to keep them informed on the situation and see what options are available to you.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Educational and fun resources for children (and adults!):
TV programming from PBS KidsScholastic releases “Learn from Home” website – providing day by day projects (up to three hours a day, can be completed on any device – multiple paths for different grade levels)
Education Companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings
Twelve famous museums offering FREE virtual tours
The Metropolitan Opera is offering free streaming of its live and recorded performances every night
If you are in need of food assistance, you can call 2-1-1 or visit PoconoHunger.org/find-food to find a list of community meals and food pantries available near you. Please note: Individuals should call ahead to confirm that the pantry is still operating under normal hours or that community meal is still running.All Monroe County school districts are providing free grab food to ALL children. This includes East Stroudsburg Area School District, Pleasant Valley School District, Pocono Mountain School District, and Stroudsburg Area School District. Please view locations, times, and instructions in this spreadsheet. You can also view local restaurants and groups that are helping out and providing free meals to students as well: Food Access Programs for Monroe County Students (Excel – Most up to date) PDF Version – Food Access Programs for Monroe County (Updated March 16 2020)
Childcare facilities officially shut down View childcare facilities in Monroe County currently accepting new childrenPocono Mountains
If you are at risk of losing your home/lease or becoming homeless, please call 2-1-1 and you will be connected with a housing specialist.
Your utility services will NOT be shut off during this state of emergency – even if you have already received a shut-off notice. The Public Utility Commission has prohibited all Water, Natural Gas, Electric, Wastewater, and Steam utility services from terminations, as long as the “Proclamation of Disaster” (State of Emergency) issued by Governor Wolf related to the Coronavirus on March 6th is in effect. SourceBlue Ridge Communications (Internet & Cable): has stated that they will remove data caps for all speed levels for the next 60 days (starting March 16, 2020). For customers that contact them and let us know they can’t pay their bills because of the coronavirus pandemic, customer care specialists will provide flexible payment options and they will not disconnect services or assess late fees for 60 days. Phone: 1-800-222-5377 Source
Managing Anxiety and Stress about COVID-19, and reducing stress in yourself and others (CDC)If you know of anyone struggling or who could use assistance, please call Carbon Monroe-Pike Mental Health and Developmental Services: Carbon, Monroe, Pike Counties; Call: 570-992-0879 New Perspectives Toll Free: 800-849-1868 MH Warm Line – 866-654-8114 National Crisis Text Line: 741741
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OTHER AGENCIES/ORGANIZATIONS
PVEN (Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network) recommendations for other food pantries (page is regularly updated): https://pven.net/covid19/