How We Help

COVID-19 Public Resources

Page will be continually updated.

  • Women can call Rosie’s Place Advocacy Helpline at 617.318.0237.
  • For general help, call 2-1-1 or use the HelpSteps app or at helpsteps.com.
  • Boston residents can call 3-1-1.
  • Sign-up to receive MA COVID text updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777.
  • For emotional support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

 

Your Health & COVID-19

DO NOT avoid testing or treatment for lack of coverage! Find a test site near you!

  • DON’T wait for medical help. Call your provider or Boston Health Line at 617.534.5050!
  • For MassHealth Assistance, call 800.841.2900 (TTY 800.497.4648), or apply online.
COVID-19 vaccines have begun to be distributed in Massachusetts! Learn more about them and when you will be able to receive one here!

General COVID-19 information:


Cash Assistance & DTA

Get cash assistance

  • To apply for cash assistance call your local DTA office or apply online. Do not visit DTA offices in person, they remain closed due to COVID-19.
  • Hotline: Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) can assist with questions about cash assistance (TAFDC and EAEDC), SNAP, or child care. Call 617.603.1806 and leave a message with your name and number.
  • If you previously did not qualify but your income has since changed, please re-apply.

 

DTA offices

Evictions

  • If you receive a “Notice to Quit” you do not have to leave your home by the date in the notice!!  This notice is just the first step your landlord must take to start the eviction process.  You may be able to stop the process by paying what you owe.  https://www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/lt1-pullout-12-evictions
  • If you receive papers from the Court (called a Summons and Complaint), protect your legal rights by telling the court your side of the story.  This is called an Answer.  You can get help writing this document by using this on-line interview guide.
  • You will receive another piece of mail from the court that will tell you when your first court event will be and how to participate.  Most court events are happening “virtually” which means you can either participate by video (called a “Zoom hearing”) or telephone. 
    • If you cannot do either, call the court where your case is right away to let them know so they can help you find another way to participate.
  • If you need an interpreter, call the court right away to let them know to find someone to interpret for your court hearing.
  • The name and number of your court should be on the letter you get from court.  If you are not sure, call Help Line: 833-91COURT (833-912-6878) and ask for help.
  • Your first court event will be a meeting to see if you and your landlord will be able to come to an agreement about what should happen next.  If you are unable to agree, the court will give you another date to come back to court to see the judge.
  • If you do not participate, the court can decide to evict you without ever hearing your side. If you are having trouble figuring out how you can participate or contacting the court, call the Rosie’s Place Legal Helpline for assistance 617.318.0271.
  • If your landlord is starting an eviction against you, you can find help at the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project.

 

Current Legal Protections from Eviction:

  • The federal government issued some protection for tenants in eviction cases where the issue is paying rent.  This protection is called the “CDC Moratorium” and right now, the protection is scheduled to end on March 31, 2021.
    • The CDC Moratorium only prevents the last stage of eviction where a landlord has you removed from your home.  This means you may still receive eviction notices and court documents and you will be scheduled for a court date.
    • Greater Boston Legal Services prepared a video explanation about the CDC Moratorium  protection.
    • The CDC Moratorium protection is not automatic. To get this federal protection, you must sign a “declaration” and give it to your landlord as soon as possible.  This declaration says that:

1) you cannot pay your full rent due to a substantial loss of household income,

2) you have done everything you can to apply for rental assistance,

3) you have done everything you can to make partial payments, and

4) that you will not make more than $99,000 in 2020.

  • You can use this online tool for help filling out this “declaration'' and create this form with your specific information. You will then need to print the form and give it to your landlord as soon as possible.
  • If you cannot pay rent, we encourage you to apply for RAFT immediately. You may lose your CDC protection against eviction if you have not applied for rental assistance.

 

Finances, Debt, and Taxes

Taxes

Free tax help:  

  • Learn more about requesting an extension here or speak to a tax preparer.
  • Find information about filing taxes for free in Massachusetts here and with the federal government here.

Student Loans and Debt Collection

  • Click here for recent changes to student loans policies due to COVID-19.
  • Contact the MA Attorney General Office Consumer Advocacy & Response Division at (617) 727- 8400 for help with debt and consumer issues and click here to learn more. 

Direct payments from the government

  • A federal stimulus to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic includes “economic impact payments,” or giving money directly to eligible people.
  • Call the IRS at 800.919.9835 for questions about your eligibility and payment.

Housing and Shelter

Shelter

  • Click here for a list of shelters for single individuals. Individual shelters may have changed capacity due to COVID-19.
  • Families can call 866.584.0653 to apply for Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter.
  • If you are denied EA shelter, call the Legal Helpline at Rosie’s Place to talk to someone about whether you can appeal the decision.  617.318.0271.
    • Click here for a list of shelters for families that you can contact if you are denied EA shelter.
  • Click here for resources for people experiencing homelessness in Boston.

Housing Assistance

  • Rent assistance for RAFT/ERMA may be submitted online here.
  • Call the MA 2-1-1 information hotline for questions and to be connected to the agencies that administer RAFT and ERMA (rental assistance). You can also visit the state’s website on COVID-19 housing help.
  • Know your housing rights: English // Conozca sus derechos como arrendador: (español)
  • Call Rosie’s Place Advocacy Helpline at 617.318.0237 for help and referrals.
  • Call Boston’s Office of Housing Stability at 617.635.4200 for help with rental assistance and other housing needs in Boston.
  • HousingWorks is a great tool to search for housing and find resources.
  • If you are looking for shared housing during the pandemic HousingMatch can assist your search.

 

Rent Adjustments

  • If you have a housing voucher or live in public/subsidized housing, notify your property manager and/or housing authority about income changes as soon as possible. Keep pay stubs, layoff notices, bills, and other proofs for rent adjustments.

Healthcare, COVID-19 Testing, and Vaccines 

COVID-19 vaccines have begun to be distributed in Massachusetts! Learn more about when and where you will be able to receive one here!

Health Insurance

Physical Health

  • If you need COVID-19 testing, find a test site near you.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you need medical assistance.
  • If you are outside, keep a safe 6 foot distance and/or wear a mask.

Mental Health

  • Suicide helpline: Call or text Samaritans 24/7 at 877-870-4673.
  • Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860. A peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers.
  • Substance use: Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national 24/7 helpline at 1-800-662-4357 (TTY: 1-800-487-4889). Provides referrals to local treatment options, support groups, and community-based organizations. También está disponible en español.
  • Boston Public Schools offer extra support for kids who may need it during this time.

Immigration

For Immigrants

  • Women seeking immigration advice can call the Rosie’s Place Legal Program at 617.318.0271.
  • Only a few U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices are open to the public. Click here for information and resources if you have a pending appointment.
  • Immigrants without access to benefits can click here for help near you, click here, and call 211 to ask about the United Way’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

 

For Advocates

Legal Help

Courts

  • Call the Trial Court helpline for general questions about all types of court cases.  The Help Line will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling 1-833-91COURT.

Domestic Violence

  • Call 911 if you are in danger right now.
  • For support, connecting with an advocate, or finding a shelter bed, call SafeLink at 877.785.2020, Casa Myrna Vasquez at 800.992.2600, or see Jane Doe's list of Massachusetts domestic violence programs.
  • Each court has a different process for handling restraining orders due to the pandemic. For help with a restraining order, call SafeLink at 877.785.2020 or the Rosie’s Place Legal Program at 617.318.0271.
  • Click here for additional information and legal resources for survivors.

 

Free Legal Help may be available to you.  

Visit Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder https://masslrf.org/en/home to get contact information for legal aid offices, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you for free or at low cost.

Food Assistance and School Meals

  • Hotline: If you need help with finding food or applying for food assistance, call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline, 800.645.8333 (TTY 1.800.377.1292).
  • Food pantries: use Greater Boston Food Bank’s search tool to find local programs.
  • Food in Boston: the City of Boston has a list of food programs and a map of locations.

SNAP (food stamps)

For health and safety and to increase access to food sources, EBT cards in Massachusetts can now be used to purchase groceries online via Amazon and Walmart.

For SNAP Applicants

  • This short video highlights major SNAP changes and how to apply.
  • Check your SNAP eligibility with this SNAP Screening Tool.
  • To apply for SNAP, call the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at 877.382.2363, visit DTAConnect.com, or download the DTA Connect mobile app.
  • A phone interview is required for all new SNAP applicants.
  • New EBT cards will be received by mail only within 5-10 days. People experiencing homelessness can use a shelter address to receive their card.
  • If you previously did not qualify but your income has since changed, please re-apply.

For Current SNAP Recipients

  • No one receiving benefits will lose their benefits during this time.
  • SNAP benefits below the maximum will receive a supplement up to the maximum.
  • All SNAP recipients will receive a 15% increase in their benefits through June, issued as an end of month supplement.
  • SNAP work requirement for adults without dependents has been suspended.
  • Reminder: you can give permission for someone to friends, family, or trusted people to use your EBT card for you without paperwork.

Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)

  • As part of HIP, SNAP recipients get $1 for each $1 spent on eligible fruits and vegetables, up to a monthly limit, at participating farmers' markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
  • Find a HIP vendor close to you. Not all vendors are operating, please verify their availability at the site of the site of your interest.

 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Download the WICShopper App for online tools and resources.

School Meals

Unemployment

*Si necesita ayuda para solicitar seguro de desempleo en español, visite la página web de asistencia en español del estado.

Call the MA Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division hotline at 617.727.3465 for help with unfair treatment at work. Note: All workers, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights in Massachusetts.

If you have been laid off, terminated, or given decreased hours, you may be eligible for unemployment assistance.

  • Apply for Unemployment by calling at 617.626.6800 or 877.626.6800, or visiting this website. Click here for instructions on how to apply.
  • If you need help, call Greater Boston Legal Services at 617.603.1530 (español) or 617.603.1639 (all other languages), or fill out this short form.
  • To contact the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), call 877.626.6800 for assistance.
  • Click here for help if you may be a victim of unemployment benefits fraud.

 

Changes to Unemployment due to COVID-19

  • Some workers who were ineligible for regular unemployment, like gig workers and independent contractors, may now qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Click here to learn more.
  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), was extended by Congress but decreased to an additional $300 pandemic assistance from unemployment. You may have been eligible for additional assistance in Massachusetts, and if you have questions contact DUA at 877.626.6800.

Utilities

Gas and Electric

  • Click Here for resources to help pay electric and gas bills. Contact Rosie’s Place Advocacy helpline at 617.318.0237 for more help.
  • Utility companies must not shut off gas and electric service during the declared state of emergency.

 

Additional resources

  • Click here for a list of mutual aid networks, compiled by MA Jobs with Justice, from communities across Massachusetts offering all types of support and resources.

 

*Thanks to Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) for allowing us to share information they have compiled and for partnering to make vital resources available to the community.