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COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR HELPING OUR NEIGHBORS
Please check through the information below! More to come!
RI courts are closed for nonessential business through May 17, which effectively functions as an eviction moratorium. The Governor’s Office will be making available $1.5 million in rental assistance for low-income Rhode Islanders, with the application anticipated to open on Thursday.
The Governor also announced that more than 20 Rhode Island financial institutions have pledged the following relief to their residential borrowers:
- A 90-day grace period for all residential mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID-19, with the opportunity to request additional relief
- An agreement to not report late payments to credit reporting agencies for residential borrowers who take advantage of this relief;
- A 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures and evictions
- An agreement to waive mortgage-related late fees.
NEW HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:
“Housing Help RI is a statewide homelessness prevention initiative to assist Rhode Islanders who are experiencing housing insecurity. The program provides emergency housing assistance to very low-income renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness.” Grants are up to $5,000 for qualifying Rhode Islanders for rental assistance, moving costs, to prevent homelessness. Site with details and to apply: https://www.housinghelpri.com
A number of financial institutions have made a pledge tp provide relieve for residential borrowers through COVID-19.
“90-Day Grace Period for All Residential Mortgage Payments
Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to residential borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. In addition, these institutions will:
Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.
No Negative Credit Impacts Resulting from Relief
Financial institutions will not report derogatory tradelines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for residential borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.
Moratorium on Initiating Foreclosure Sales or Evictions
For at least 60 days, financial institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines.
No Fees or Charges
For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund at least the following for customers who have requested assistance:
Mortgage-related late fees; and
Other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations and up to institution limits).” Click the link below for details and institutions.”
Additional resources provided by RIDOH for residential borrowers:
Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly.
Eviction Protections: Renters residing in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally-backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for 4 months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the 4-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally-issued or guaranteed mortgages.
TEMPORARY HOUSING FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS AND OTHERS NEEDING A PLACE TO STAY DURING COVID-19:
RI COMMUNITY ACTION LOCATIONS AND SERVICES LINK:
NEWS FOR FAMILIES WITH KIDS WHO QUALIFIED FOR FREE AND REDUCED LUCHES
We’ve received approval for two waivers that allowed for some SNAP recipient households to receive additional SNAP benefits. First, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized all households to receive the maximum SNAP benefit for their household size. In RI, that meant that 45% of our SNAP households received a supplement, increasing their March, April and May SNAP benefits to the maximum benefit amount. Second, RI was proud to be the second state in the nation approved for the distribution of Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT). P-EBT is a special SNAP benefit being made available to children who receive free or reduced-price meals in school when school is in session. Since school is closed due to COVID-19, those children will receive SNAP benefits in the amount of the value of those school meals. SNAP households with school age children where the system found an exact match received the additional benefit on April 20. Those children who receive free or reduced-price meals who do not receive SNAP benefits, or where the system didn’t find an exact match for the SNAP household, will receive a special P-EBT card with that benefit on or about May 1. https://health.ri.gov/covid/
Avoiding Disruption of Benefits
Public benefit programs require regular, usually annual, recertification to ensure a program recipient continues to receive the correct benefit for their household. This process, at minimum, involves returning a recertification form and may require verification of income or expenses and an interview with DHS staff. With waivers from our federal partners and some regulatory flexibility, we extended certification periods by six months for those due to recertify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Rhode Island Works (RI Works), General Public Assistance (GPA), and/or Medicaid, in March, April and May. Those households will maintain their benefits through September, October, and November, respectively.
Increased Access and Flexibility for Interviews
With our office lobbies closed, we received federal waivers and issued state plan amendments to allow all required in-person interviews to happen over the phone. RI Works families have been able to apply for benefits and complete their required employment plans over the phone. SNAP and GPA interviews are happening over the phone to allow for eligibility to be determined and verified while maintaining safe distance. SNAP waivers have also allowed for an extension of our ability to postpone interviews for SNAP applicants who are eligible on an expedited timeline and offers the flexibility to skip the interview entirely if we have all the information necessary to make an eligibility decision.
Increased Access Via Telephone
The Department has invested in the ability to complete more of our work via phone through telephonic signature functionality. Staff are introducing a recorded, telephonic signature to allow for the completion of a RI Works employment plan and the processing of applications for Long Term Services and Supports, which reduces the time related to mailing such forms that need signatures. FNS has approved a telephonic signature waiver that will allow SNAP applications to be accepted over the phone as well.
**Purchasing online, and for deliveries, with EBT cards is in the works, and the State expects an announcement over the next couple of weeks.
FIND FOOD SITES FOR KIDS
FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES
For delivery services, especially for services, and some who deliver especially to those in quarantine, visit:
RESOURCES AND FLYERS OF RESOURCES AND PROGRAMS
RESOURCES FOR HEALTHY AGING NEIGHBORS
Meals on Wheels now taking new applicants
Programs | RI Meals
“We accept information from a wide variety of sources. Family members and friends are the most frequent callers. Discharge planners, social workers, doctors, nurses, home health aides and neighbors are all typical individuals submitting referrals.”
Who can receive Meals on Wheels?
There are four basic requirements that need to be met in order to be considered for the program.
- The person must be 60 years of age or older. If under the age of 60, an approved waiver is required through eligible waiver programs (DHS, PACE, NHPRI).
- The person must be unable to prepare nutritious meals due to physical and/or psychological limitations.
- The person cannot participate in an adult day care, or dining program on a day they are scheduled to receive meals.
- The person must be homebound and unable to leave their home independently and/or have limited assistance leaving the home. There may be circumstances that allow us to serve those people who need services but do not meet all of the eligibility requirements. In each case, a referral is required. The referral may be submitted on-line at www.rimeals.org or by calling the main office at (401) 351-6700. All information listed on the referral form must be completed. The more information that is given, the better understanding we have regarding the recipient’s limitations and condition. Information received is kept strictly confidential.
Senior Wish Program
“Since 2005, our Senior Wish Program has helped grant the “wishes” of seniors. We are able to provide essential items such as hand lotions, soap, towels and robes and seasonal items such as fans and air conditioning units or blankets (when available). Our work is meant to support and “brighten” the lives of Rhode Island’s senior population. If you are a senior in need of such a “wish,” are over the age of 50, a Rhode Island resident and are currently receiving services within the Rhode Island Aging Network, you may request a “wish.” Each wish is reviewed by our Senior Wish Program coordinator and committee. You may call us directly to place your “wish.” Call (401) 351-6700. Meals on Wheels of RI also accepts donations to support the Senior Wish Program. If you and/or your organization would like to make a donation please call (401) 351-6700.”
PROJECT HELLO (program of OHA) – Volunteers ready to call to say “Hello!” to our healthy aging