COVID-19 Resources & Updates

The global COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented public health crisis. During these uncertain times, rest assured that your municipal government is working around the clock to continue serving our community.

 

We all must do our part to contain the spread of the virus, and flatten the curve to ensure our medical facilities are not overwhelmed and all that who are in need of treatment are able to receive it.

 

Without a doubt, the precautions made necessary by COVID-19 are already having a serious impact on our community, from our economy, to our education system, and on the every day lives of families. 

During this difficult time I am working to compile helpful and accurate information related to the status and impact of the pandemic, and resources available to help our community. I hope that these resources can be helpful to you. 

We will all get through this together. 

 

Hoping your families stay safe and well,

Jesse L. Lederman

City Councilor At-Large 

Councilor Lederman remains available to provide constituent services directly by phone at

(413) 285-3041 or by e-mail at JLederman@springfieldcityhall.com

Basic Updates on COVID-19 Response

UPDATED August 6, 2020

-The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will offer FREE, CONFIDENTIAL, NO QUESTIONS ASKED COVID-19 testing through August 14th at sites in Springfield. Visit mass.gov/stopthespread for dates and locations.

-Springfield Public Schools will hold their first marking period remotely beginning on September 15 by decision of the School Committee. 

-Springfield's local government buildings are open by appointment and with certain restrictions. Get the details here: https://www.springfield-ma.gov/cos/index.php?id=news-story&tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=14344&tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d975266d86045139713e71efa9d40bf6

-On Monday, May 18 the Governor announced a 4 phase re-opening plan for Massachusetts. Each phase will last at least three weeks or more depending on public health trends. If COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations surge again, the Commonwealth can revert to previous phases. You can read the full phased re-opening plan and explanation on the state's website here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts#learn-more-about-reopening-massachusetts-

-The Governor has ordered that all individuals wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose and mouth when in public places where social distancing is not possible. The governor's executive order does not apply to children under the age of 2 or anyone who is unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions or other Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued exemptions.

-Massachusetts has enacted legislation to prevent non-essential evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium is currently in effect until October 17, 2020. During this time you are still obligated to pay rent and mortgage payments, however you cannot be evicted or foreclosed on during this time. If you are facing financial hardship you should reach out to your landlord or mortgage company and request a deferral of your payment owed and make arrangements to accommodate your circumstances. If you need advice on this front, contact Springfield No One Leaves at 413-342-1804.

-Congress has passed and the Governor has signed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Get information on Direct Cash Payments, Small Business Support, and Unemployment Benefits that will result from the CARES Act HERE

-The state has launched text alerts related to COVID-19 response. To enroll in text alerts text the term "COVIDMA" to 888-777.

-Those with questions regarding the state response to COVID-19 should contact the 211 hotline by dialing 211. If you select the option to save your spot in line, the system will automatically call you back. 

-Check out the Springfield City Library's list of resources: Resources for Adults | Resources for Families

Councilor Lederman's COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall

On Tuesday, April 14 Councilor Lederman hosted a Virtual Town Hall meeting to hear from front line officials and community organizations regarding the municipal response to COVID-19 and present resources to the community. Please note that this event was held on Tuesday, April 14 some information, statistics, and updates will likely have changed since then. You can view the entire Town Hall meeting here:

Resources for Seniors

During this time it is extremely important for us as a community to be checking in with our seniors. Please remember to check in with seniors who may be your parents, grandparents, neighbors, or friends of the family to ensure that they have everything they need. Here are some helpful numbers to connect with currently available resources:

-The Springfield Department of Elder Affairs has been contacting Seniors for whom they have contact information for to perform wellness calls and assisting on a case-by-case basis. According to the Department, they have so far contacted over 1,000 seniors.

-If you are a Senior in need of assistance, or if you know a Senior in need of assistance, please contact the Department of Elder Affairs Directly at (413) 787-6785. Our case workers can work with individuals and families to ensure they have access to resources during this time.

-If you are a Senior or a Senior you know is struggling with access to food, Greater Springfield Senior Services is taking new sign ups for their Meals on Wheels program. Eligible Seniors who are 60+ years old should contact (413) 781-8800 to begin the referral process. The process should take 1-2 days and it is better to call earlier in the day, they are open from 8 AM to 8 PM. Meals on Wheels will deliver meals directly to the Senior. Because of the increased demand on the program as a result of COVID-19, GSSS requests that if you do have other resources at this time that those resources be utilized to ensure those most in need will have access to meals.

-Some brown bag sites remain open with grab and go options. Please use the Food Bank of Western MA Network Tracker below to locate sites under "Food Security."

Resources for Workers

If you are an employee who cannot work due to the impacts of COVID-19 either as a result of exposure, illness, or workplace shutdown:

-The Department of Labor has issued guidance allowing unemployment benefits to be paid if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure of infections or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work.

-Emergency legislation has been PASSED AND SIGNED to allow new unemployment claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits. Individuals should apply for unemployment through the state's website here: https://www.mass.gov/applying-for-unemployment-benefits

-Emergency regulations have been filed that will allow people impacted by COVID-19 by a workplace shutdown to collect unemployment under certain circumstances. See full details here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives

The Office of Unemployment Assistance has issued the following updates regarding implementation of the CARES Act.

-For traditional unemployment filers: Massachusetts has started applying the additional $600 federal benefit to weekly benefits. There is no action needed to receive the additional benefit. The benefit will be retroactive to March 29. New filers are also eligible.

-As of today self employed individuals, gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors and others who are not eligible for traditional unemployment insurance can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in Massachusetts.

-Apply online for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance here: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-pandemic-unemployment-assistance?fbclid=IwAR0Xw_9OBt5vJM_DhQDm9gZTGYGNoOxa-hcQ8OIGFepqQTzhoyChMnL0AdY

-Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits.

-For those who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits: The CARES Act has indicated an additional 13 weeks of benefits may be extended, however, the state has indicated they are still awaiting guidance from the federal government on implementing this. Continue to check for updates at mass.gov/unemployment/covid-19 .

-Individuals seeking assistance with unemployment may contact Community Legal Aid for advice at 855-252-5342 or visit www.communitylegal.org. 

Food Security and Meals for Students

Springfield Public Schools continues to provide meals for any child under 18 years old and any students in the Springfield Public Schools system. Meals are available Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 1 PM. Meals are served grab and go style. On Friday, students will receive meals for the weekend. Students do not need to be present for the meal to be picked up, parents and guardians may pick up meals for the child and no ID is required. Meals are available at the following sites:

Bowles Elementary School 24 Bowles Park, Springfield, MA 01104
High School of Commerce 415 State Street, Springfield, MA 01105
Dorman Elementary School 20 Lydia Street, Springfield, MA 01109
Glickman Elementary School 120 Ashland Ave, Springfield, MA 01119
Indian Orchard Elementary School 95 Milton Street, Springfield, MA 01151
Kensington Elementary School 31 Kensington Avenue, Springfield, MA 01108
Liberty Elementary School 962 Carew Street, Springfield, MA 01104
Lincoln Elementary School 732 Chestnut Street, Springfield, MA 01107
Rebecca Johnson Elementary School 55 Catherine Street, Springfield, MA 01109
Talmadge Elementary School 1395 Allen Street, Springfield, MA 01118
Warner Elementary School 493 Parker Street, Springfield, MA 01129
Washington Elementary School 141 Washington St, Springfield, MA 01108
Chestnut Middle School 355 Plainfield St, Springfield, MA 01104

Milton Bradley Elementary School, 22 Mulberry St, Springfield, MA 01105

Sumner Avenue Elementary School, 45 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA 01108
Brookings Elementary School 433 Walnut Street, Springfield, MA 01105

-Free Grab and Go lunches and dinners available from Loaves and Fishes (Lunch at 12 p.m. and Dinner at 5 p.m.)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - Saturdays- South Congregational Church, 45 Maple Street
Wednesdays- Christ Episcopal Church Cathedral, 35 Chestnut Street
Sundays- Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church, 797 State Street

-Springfield Partners for Community Action is providing up to $200 in grocery assistance to income eligible families and individuals. Contact SPFCA at (413) 263-6500 for more information.  

-Many Food Pantries and Brown Bag sites remain open to assist families with food security. Use The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Emergency Feeding Program Network Tracker to locate a site near you. Access the network tracker here: https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/covid-19-food-pantry-meal-program-schedule/


 

Support for Businesses

If you are a small business owner or part of a non-profit organization and your business or organization is being financially impacted by COVID-19:

-The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and private non-profit organizations suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. For more information please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. To apply visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

-For information on the CARES Act provision to support businesses through this guide from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship.  

-More information on state resources for business can be found on the states website here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-resources-and-guidance-for-businesses?fbclid=IwAR1hAuTzOhShBkKgL-Q4nSidvT8dC2TaPJbcF0uUtyDkDoHt1Oy5-0Ozb5E

-Find additional resources for businesses from the City of Springfield's Office of Planning and Economic Development here.

Housing

-Massachusetts has enacted legislation to prevent non-essential evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium is in effect until October 17, 2020. During this time you are still obligated to pay rent and mortgage payments, however you cannot be evicted or foreclosed on during this time. If you are facing financial hardship you should reach out to your landlord or mortgage company and request a deferral of your payment owed and make arrangements to accommodate your circumstances. If you need advice on this front, contact Springfield No One Leaves at 413-342-1804.

-Springfield Partners for Community Action is providing rental and mortgage assistance of up to $1,500 for income eligible individuals and families. Contact SPFCA at (413) 263-6500 for more information.  

-The City of Springfield is making available $2 million in grant funding for renters and homeowners who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The grant program will pay up to three months’ rent, mortgage, and utility charges for low to moderate income Springfield residents whose income has been adversely impacted by the pandemic public health orders.

Springfield residents can apply for the funds by completing an assessment at www.wayfinders.org/hcec-assessment or calling 413-233-1600 to complete the assessment on the phone with a Way Finders staff member.

Assistance is available for households that have lost income due to COVID-19 and had household income at or below 80% of area median income ($68,300 for a family of four) before the income loss. Each household may receive up to three months’ rent/mortgage and utility payments, with a maximum of $4000 per household. Payment will be made directly to landlords, banks and utility companies. There is no requirement for an eviction or foreclosure notice in order to receive the assistance.

Public Utilities & Municipal Fees

-Springfield Partners for Community Action is providing utility assistance of up to $500 for income eligible individuals and families. Contact SPFCA at (413) 263-6500 for more information.  

-The City of Springfield has postponed the due date for 4th Quarter Real Estate Taxes. Real Estate Taxes will be due on June 1, 2020 (Instead of the original date of May 1). The deadline to file personal exemptions and deferral applications has also been extended to June 1, 2020. 

-The City of Springfield has adjusted the date demand fees for Motor Vehicle Excise, Real Estate and Personal Property, and Trash will be issued to July 15.

Springfield Water & Sewer, Columbia Gas, and Eversource Electric Customers:

As a result of the State of Emergency, the Department of Public Utilities has ordered an extension of the shut-off moratorium for electric and gas customers until further notice. Springfield Water & Sewer has also suspended shut-offs during the crisis.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY YOUR BILL.

All customers will still be expected to pay the full balance of their bill and bills will continue to accrue, however, the utility companies will not be permitted to shut off your utilities for non-payment during the State of Emergency.

The DPU has encouraged utilities to take "reasonable steps for payment accommodations" in light of the State of Emergency.

Info from Eversource: https://www.eversource.com/content/ct-c/residential/safety/protect-yourself/responding-to-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR0VDcW1nE_FibgsjcU8mqThJXPonsNE7wm0n56kdPNPK_e18ttwciIvfUA

Info from Columbia Gas: https://www.columbiagasma.com/bills-and-payments/payment-options?fbclid=IwAR1ZOVzb38dU8Gkv8NAnqQ0WVg2Z0pvTDwlj6AFiMSt1v50pJVSXW1prcW0

Info from Springfield Water & Sewer: http://waterandsewer.org/covid19/

Transportation

-RAD Springfield, Springfield's Mobile Community Bike Shop, has switched to a "by appointment only" setup, but are happy to help people find a transportation option that is best for their health.  They will offer free options for those who cannot afford an already low-cost ride. For more information contact Project Manager H. Alex Weck at (413) 271-7293 or visit www.radspringfield.org. 

© 2020. This website paid for and maintained by The Committee to Elect Jesse Lederman, Geoffrey F.X. O'Connell, Treasurer.