COVID-19 Resources & Updates

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

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

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.

 

Our community has sacrificed greatly to flatten the curve and ensure our medical facilities are not overwhelmed. We must continue to stay vigilant and cautious to prevent the pandemic from intensifying.

 

Without a doubt, the precautions made necessary by COVID-19 have had 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 

Chairman, City Council Committee on COVID-19 Response

Basic Updates on COVID-19 Response

UPDATED February 25, 2021

-A second Coronavirus Relief Bill has been approved by the Federal Government. Get information on the resources and relief provided by that legislation here: https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/new-stimulus-law-passed-every-major-benefit-you-get-including-a-second-check/

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

-Residents above age 5 are required to wear a mask in all public places even if you are able to keep 6 feet apart, unless you have a medical or disabling condition that exempts you from the mandate. This includes any time that you are outside on public property including roads, sidewalks, and parks.

-Gatherings in private homes are limited to 10 people, and gatherings outside are limited to 25 people. Violations of this order are subject to a $500 fine for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.

-The Massachusetts Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium has expired. Resources are still available to support families at risk of eviction. For more information visit our Housing Resources tab below. 

-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

-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

Testing & Vaccination

-Free testing is available to Springfield residents through the statewide Stop the Spread initiative. 

-There is no cost for this testing and you do not need to have symptoms to be tested. 

-Find up to date information on testing sites and hours at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.

-The COVID-19 Vaccine distribution has begun in Massachusetts. The vaccine is free and being distributed in three phases, which are estimated and subject to change according to the Governor:

   -Phase One: December - February: Vaccine available to clinical and clinical healthcare workers doing direct COVID-facing care. Long term care facilities, rest homes, and assisted living facilities. Police, Fire, and EMS Services. Congregate care settings including shelters and correctional facilities. Home based healthcare workers. Healthcare workers doing non-COVID facing care.

   -Phase Two: February - April: Vaccine available to individuals age 75+, individuals 65+,  individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk of COVID-19 complications), Early Education, K-12 workers, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers. Adults 65+. Individuals with one comorbidity. 

   -Phase Three: April-June: Vaccine available to the general public. 

-The State is operating several "Mass Vaccination Sites," including one at the Eastfield Mall. TO REGISTER FOR AN APPOINTMENT AT THE EASTFIELD MALL GO HERE: https://curative.com/sites/24182?

-TO FIND VACCINE APPOINTMENTS AT LOCATIONS OTHER THAN THE EASTFIELD MALL VISIT: www.vaxfinder.mass.gov. 

-VACCINE REGISTRATION ASSISTANCE FOR SENIORS IN SPRINGFIELD

Eligible residents needing assistance registering for COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments can now call the State 211 Call Center by dialing 211 or 1-877-211-6277 Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Assistance is available in English and Spanish, with support available for over 100 other languages.

Local assistance is also available -  Library and Elder Affairs staff will be available by phone to assist those of ages 65 and older to book vaccination appointments.

The Library and Elder Affairs departments encourage those who need assistance to call their local branch during open hours: (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, at 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Wednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm).  Saturday hours include: Central Library 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; East Forest Park, Forest Park, East Springfield, Indian Orchard, Mason Square and Sixteen Acres 11:00 am - 3:00 pm.  Please note that Brightwood and Pine Point will not be open on Saturdays.  All library branches, with the exception of Pine Point, will be taking phone calls during their open hours.  The contact information for the library branches are below:

 

East Forest Park Branch:        413- 263-6836

Forest Park Branch:                413-263-6843

East Springfield Branch:         413-263-6840

Brightwood Branch:               413-263-6805

Central Library:                       413-263-6828 ext. 215

Indian Orchard Branch:          413-263-6846

Mason Square Branch:           413-263-6853

Sixteen Acres Branch:            413-263-6858

 

Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center - Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at 413-787-6785.

The City respectfully ask callers to be prepared to leave a message with their name and phone number so that a staff member can call the resident back in case there is no immediate availability.

Greater Springfield Senior Services is also providing assistance to seniors to register for vaccination appointments Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM at 413-781-8800. GSSS also has bilingual specialists who can assist with registration. 

The Hampden County Sheriff's Department will also provide registration assistance Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 3 PM at (413) 278-5584. If the call goes to voicemail, clearly leave your name and a phone number to reach you and we will return the call.

-Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccination program via the Department of Public Health here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-program

Housing

-The Governor has not extended the state's Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium. The National CDC Eviction Moratorium operates differently than the previous state moratorium. For information on how to utilize the CDC Eviction Moratorium click here

 

-If you receive a notice to quit or a notice to vacate, you are not required to leave immediately. This is only the first step in the eviction process. There are resources available to help you avoid eviction or foreclosure. If you are facing eviction but have a pending application for rental assistance the court must grant a continuance in your case until a determination is made with regard to your rental assistance application.

-Our regional administrative agency for assistance is WayFinders. They can be reached at (413) 233-1600 or e-mail info@wayfinders.org. 

-For community support and assistance you can contact Springfield No One Leaves at 413-342-1804. Leave a message or email them at info@springfieldnooneleaves.org. You can also contact Arise for Social Justice at (413) 734-4948.

-Community Legal Aid can provide free advice to individuals facing eviction or foreclosure. Contact Community Legal Aid at (855) 252-5342.

-You can also visit mass.gov/covidhousinghelp for an overview of available state resources.

-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.  

-On Thursday, November 5 Councilor Lederman hosted a Virtual Town Hall on Housing Resources providing more information on available resources for individuals and families facing financial challenges or eviction/foreclosure with local housing and legal organizations. View that video below: 

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.

-The Department of Elder Affairs is providing free meal deliveries 7 days a week to individuals 55 years of age or older. To sign up contact 413-787-6785.

-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

-SPS Food Service Dept. and Home Grown Springfield are providing safe and healthy Grab-n-Go meals to children 18 years old or younger. Families with children in and around Springfield are invited to pick up meals at one of our 18 locations. Children do not have to be present; adults can pick up meals for any child. Adults may pick up meals for their own children, friend’s, relative’s, neighbor's and children who may be unable to pick up meals themselves. No names or ID's are required. All meals are served at no cost. Please text "Springfield" to 82257 for more information and program updates. Visit www.homegrownspringfield.org/Grab-n-Go-Meal-Sites for locations and pick-up times. 

-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/

-The Department of Elder Affairs is providing free meal deliveries 7 days a week to individuals 55 years of age or older. To sign up contact 413-787-6785.


 

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 Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made an additional $668 million available to support businesses through new and existing programs. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will target a portion of these funds to sectors experiencing the most significant economic hardship and a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn if your business is eligible and to access the application visit https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/covid-19-response/sector-specific-relief-grant-program-massachusetts-businesses 

-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.

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.  

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/

-The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission is offering a one time annual credit of $125 to water and sewer bills for eligible homeowners in Springfield. Eligibility guidelines include:
 
·         Customers living in owner-occupied single-family residences in Springfield 
·         Active Commission account with minimum annual charges of $125
·         Currently qualify for low-income heating fuel assistance (LIHEAP)
·         Applications open through June 2021, for as long as funding is available
 
Customers can apply each fiscal year on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply at waterandsewer.org/cap 

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