Additional Community Support & Services

This page offers a collection of outside resources to assist with personal, community or client needs. 

Service Portals
  • Zip-code specific community resources including food, shelter, transportation are available on AuntBertha
  • HelpSteps connects individuals to local health and human resources to alleviate disparities in health and social well-being in our community. HelpSteps was developed by a team at Boston Children's Hospital and is maintained by Veta Health. HelpSteps is supported by the Boston Public Health Commission, Mass 211 and the Greater Boston Food Bank. Click on the blue text to access HelpSteps. For individuals needing translation help, there is a translation link on the right lower corner. 
  • The William James INTERFACE Referral Service is a mental health and wellness referral Helpline. This is a free, confidential referral service for individuals in participating communities.  

 

Language and Translation Resources
  • Contracovid.com is a multilingual website created by a group of Harvard Medical School students that offers information and news about COVID-19, as well as social assistance resources to help in the current climate, in English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, and Portuguese. 
Health Insurance and Mandated COVID coverage

Those in need of health insurance can apply for MassHealth here. The enrollment period was extended to April 25th. Any MassHealth application can be retroactive to the first day of the third month prior to the application. MassHealth will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020 and for all individuals approved for coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak national emergency and for one month after the emergency period ends. Coverage will only end if an individual requests termination of eligibility or if they are no longer resident of the state. Members will not lose coverage or have a decrease in benefits for any other reason.

For COVID-related expenses:

  • All commercial insurers and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services in the same manner they cover in-person services. The full order is available here.
  • Insurers must cover COVID-19 related treatment and testing without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance. Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services. For more information, click here. 
Unemployment
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance to the states instructing state agencies to apply existing unemployment law flexibly related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). File a claim online . For additional assistance with filing a unemployment claim, please visit mass.gov. You can also call 617-626-6338.  You will need information about your employment history for the past 15 months.
  • UIhelp.org is a free  online resource that provides step-by-step instructions for how to apply for unemployment benefits; tools for maintaining benefits despite changing reporting requirements, and a curated list of virtual/remote work openings. For more information, visit www.UIhelp.org and subscribe for updates.
Food Resources

The Greater Boston Food Bank
For the closest food pantry/bank to you, visit The Greater Boston Food Bank website (https://www.gbfb.org/need-food/). Search your city or zip code for a list of agencies in your community, then select ‘More Info’ for agency hours of operation and phone number. We recommend calling ahead to verify agency hours.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Apply for Food Stamps In MA through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) administers SNAP benefits. SNAP provides a monthly benefit to buy nutritious foods. To get SNAP, you must be low-income and be a U.S. citizen or legal noncitizen (restrictions apply). To check eligibility for SNAP please visit (https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/screening) and to apply for SNAP please visit (https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/) or call 1-800-645-8333. 

The Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program (WIC)
All WIC Programs are able to provide all services by phone at (800) 942-1007 or email (wicinfo.dph@massmail.state.ma.us). You can check your eligibility at (https://www.mass.gov/service-details/check-eligibility-for-wic) and apply for WIC online at (https://www.mass.gov/forms/apply-for-wic-online).

Food for all 
For the closest food pantry/bank to you, visit The Greater Boston Food Bank website. Search your city or zip code for a list of agencies in your community, then select ‘More Info’ for agency hours of operation and phone number. . We recommend calling ahead to verify agency hours.

Food for youth and children
Many school districts are providing meals for children for pick up, please contact your school district for information about services being offered. 

Food for people age 60+
Meals on Wheels will continue to provide services for seniors, with food delivery and pick up options. Meals are available for pick up from 11:30 to 12:30 from community cafes (a list can be found here), or sign up for food delivery by calling 617-477-6606. Language translation assistance is available by calling 781-428-4548.

Restaurants open for take-out and delivery
A very comprehensive list of restaurants available to order take-out and delivery from can be available here.

Grocery delivery services

Housing

The Department of Housing and Community Development provides affordable housing options, financial assistance, and other support to Massachusetts communities. Remote Agents are actively processing calls. Applicants can call (866) 584-0653  to speak to a Coordinator or leave a detailed message to receive a call back. For further assistance or questions, DHCD Constituent Service Specialist can be reached at (617) 573-1377.

For more information on how to apply for Public Housing please visit: https://www.mass.gov/guides/how-to-apply-for-public-housing

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program and COVID-19 State of Emergency

New funding enables the RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) program to create a special program for households facing instability as a result of a COVID-19 related housing crisis due to a loss of wages or increase in expenses (e.g., medical expenses). This additional funding will result in approximately 1,667 households impacted by COVID-19 being served.

The RAFT program helps keep households in stable housing situations when facing eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies caused by loss of income, increase in expenses, or both. RAFT assists households of all sizes and configurations with financial assistance up to $4,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing.

RAFT funding is distributed by our partner Regional Administering Agencies. The websites of the Regional Administering Agencies are below. Please check these websites for information about how to apply for the RAFT program while offices are closed. All offices are operating remotely and will be able to take applications and questions.

For more information on your Regional Administering Agency and where you can go to apply for RAFT due to the COVID-19 related housing costs based on your community, please visit the HED Fuel site (https://hedfuel.azurewebsites.net/)

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking

Domestic Violence

SafeLink is the Massachusetts statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline and resource for victims. Find a list of resources provided by the state here. Reports can remain anonymous.

  • The SafeLink toll free number is 1-877-785-2020.
  • For those who are hearing impaired, the SafeLink number is 1-877-521-2601.

Sexual Assault 

From the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence: The emotional and mental impacts of rape can last longer than any physical effects. During this time of physical-distancing practices, when advocacy programs are providing limited in-person services and instead moving toward providing virtual services, connections with family and friends can be limited, leaving the potential for survivors to face the impacts of trauma in isolation. The leaders of the me too movement have published a toolkit for survivors with ideas for self-care. Perhaps the most important thing we can do during this time is to make special efforts to check-in with survivors and colleagues who are working hard to provide support and interventions for victims and survivors of sexual violence. Download the Toolkit

Trafficking 

For adult women who are experiencing trafficking or are at risk, RIA House is continuing to provide services to women across the state in a way that balances staff safety and participant need while honoring the work of the Commonwealth to stop the spread of the COVID 19 virus. We are doing this on a case-by-case basis, with an emphasis on supporting women by telephone and through video conferencing for mentorship, clinical therapy, groups and advocacy each week. For more information, please visit https://www.riahouse.org/index.html

For additional information on this topic, including a list of references and resources for mental health providers, please visit the William James College Human Trafficking Research Hub webpage. 

Utilities

With many in self-quarantine and stay at home during this crisis, many consumers are concerned if the pandemic will affect their energy service. Additionally, many consumers who are facing financial hardship as a direct result of the virus are concerned about interruptions of their gas and electric service as a result of late or non-payment.

ElectricityRates.com has set up a COVID19 Response Page. Here, customers can view the latest COVID-19 developments as they relate to their utilities' and energy providers' responses to the pandemic (https://electricityrates.com/important-covid-19-energy-updates/).

Child Safety Related Concerns

DCF Central Office in MA

  • Main (617) 748-2000. 8:45 am - 5:00 p.m., M-F.
  • Auto Attendant 617-748-2400. 8:45 am – 5:00 p.m., M-F.
  • Child-at-Risk Hotline 800-792-5200. Open 24 hours to report child abuse and neglect.
WJC Resource Hub