UPDATED ON 4/20/20
These are impossible times. But amid the chaos and uncertainty of what's ahead, the best thing we can do is to support one another. The COVID-19 pandemic has had disastrous impacts on families across Washington. We have compiled a list of resources here to share with our members as they navigate this crisis. The resources below include information on unemployment insurance and paid leave, housing and renter protections, health care enrollment, child care, public school closures, and resources for undocumented families.
This is in no way a comprehensive list. In fact, we hope you will help us make it stronger. If there is something that you think should be added, please comment below. Please consider sharing this blog post with your friends and followers on social media so that this information finds those who need it. The only way through this is together. Thank you for all that you do!
Emergency paid leave and unemployment insurance laws went into effect today and you may qualify for additional protections:
- Learn more about your new rights to paid leave and unemployment insurance under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with this FAQ
Washington State's centralized information source for COVID-19:
- The State of Washington has centralized all of their resources and updates here. This site is constantly being updated so check back regularly for the latest information.
What to do if you think you or a family member might be infected:
- Are you or a family member feeling sick and think you might be infected with coronavirus? Check here for what to do next (from the Washington Department of Health).
- Fact sheets about coronavirus are currently available in 15 languages. Find them here.
Income replacement - Washington State and federal programs to replace or supplement your paycheck:
- Have you lost your job due to COVID-19 or are unable to work becuase you are sick or caring for a family member? Washington State has a range of income-replacement programs: unemployment insurance, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick leave. Here is a helpful infographic that explains each and shows when you would use each program.
- Unemployment Insurance: Have you lost your job or had your hours reduced recently? Brand new federal and state protections are in place to help your family through unemployment insurance. Emergency unemployment insurance provisions are in place and many people who were previously ineligible for unemployment, like contractors and gig workers, may be able to collect benefits. Learn more about unemployment benefits and how to apply for them here.
- Unemployment insurance legal assistance: If you are denied unemployment insurance and believe that you qualify, contact the legal aid team at the Unemployment Law Project for free consultation and legal advice. They have also created a helPful webinar to help people understand their unemployment benefits. You can watch it here.
- Paid sick leave: Paid sick leave is paid for by your employer. New federal laws require almost everyone to receive emergency paid sick leave. Learn more here about protections in the state of Washington. If you need help understanding your rights, contact Washington's Department of Labor & Industries. You can find the office closest to you here.
- Paid family and medical leave: Washington's paid family and medical leave benefits are available to workers who are sickened by COVID-19, or any other major medical condition, or for people who are caring for a family member who is seriously ill. However, this program is relatively new and is currently experiencing a significant backlog in application reviews so it may take several weeks for you to receive benefits. You can learn more about your benefits on the state's paid family and medical leave website here and you can learn more about the paid leave program on MomsRising's informational website here.
- Federal income boost: Congress recently passed a big package of COVID-19 relief policies, including a provision to send a one-time payment of $1,200 to most workers. However, workers who pay taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number, or ITIN, are not eligible for the benefit. This is completely unjust. See below for some community resources for families.
Do you need health insurance? You can enroll in a new health plan on the Washington Healthcare Benefits Exchange right now.
- There is an emergency enrollment period in place with the Washington Health Benefits Exchange. You may be eligible for low-cost or no-cost health care depending on your circumstances. Learn more here.
What to do if you are not able to pay rent or your mortgage:
- Washington has put important protections in place for renters and home-owners, including a statewide moratorium on evictions. Local governments have also put in place protections that are more expansive.
- Under state law, landlords CANNOT issue a 14-day no payment notice, 20-day no cause notice, or start eviction proceedings. This law sunsets on April 17 but advocates are pushing the Governor to extend it. AND all eviction court proceedings, which have to happen for an eviction to go through, have been suspended through at least April 24. Many cities have put in additional protections. You can read more about all of these protections and check for updates here.
- If your landlord or bank is trying to force you to evict you or foreclose on you, contact a local housing legal aid service AND make a report to the state's Attorney General's Office.
- The Northwest Justice Project provides statewide legal aid for families as do several other local organizations. You can find information about these organizations and their contact information here.
- Report your landlord to the Washington State's Attorney General's office here. You will need to provide some documents and information about your landlord.
Are you an essential worker or family experiencing homelessness and need childcare?
- If you need help finding childcare, Child Care Aware Washington has a hotline dedicated ot helping essential workers find care: 1-800-446-1114
- Child Care Aware is also fundraising to help Washington childcare providers across the state afford essential supplies like toilet paper and hand soap. Donate here.
- Are you a childcare provider? Child Care Aware has an amazing suite of COVID-19 resources and supports for child care small businesses here.
Learning at home: Information for families with school-aged children
- Washington schools are closed through April 27th
- Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is continuously updating their information and guidance for public schools and public school families. Learn more here.
- Visit your local school district's website for the most up-to-date information for your community
- The National Center for Learning Disabilities has put together two resources, one for parents and one for teachers, to support students during the crisis. View them here.
Are you or your family members undocumented and looking for resources and support?
- The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) has transitioned their immigration enforcement hotline to a COVID-19 hotline for immigrants. Call 1-844-724-3737 for help. They can help you identify support programs for rental assistance, assistance taking a COVID-19 test if you have been exposed or have symptoms, assistance for support against detainment or deportation, critical information on healthcare, labor rights, and other rights, and immigrant-related issues under the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation is launching a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise funds to support undocumented families and individuals. Families or individuals can apply for support here. Learn more about the fund and how you can support these efforts here.
- The Washington Dream Coalition, Scholarship Junkies, WA Immigrant Solidarity Network, and NW Immigrant Rights Project are organizing a support fund for undocumented individuals and families in Washington. Apply for benefits here. If you would like to donate towards the fund, you can donate here.
- A very large, regularly-updated list of national and local resources available to undocumented folks can be found here in English and Spanish. This has been compiled by Immigrants Rising.
If you are a domestic worker, there are funds specifically available to you in addition to any other resources you may qualify for:
- CASA Latina hosted a Know Your Rights webinar in Spanish with experts on workplace protections for domestic workers. You can watch the webinar here.
- Casa Latina has a workers relief fund that you can donate to here. If you are a member of Casa Latina, you can apply for benefits here.
- The National Domestic Workers Alliance has a community aid fund. You can learn more and apply for benefits here.
What can I do to support family members in detention during the COVID-19 crisis?
- La Resistencia NW is leading a statewide campaign to shut down the Northwest Detention Center and release the people being imprisoned there. You can support this campaign by taking action -- follow La Resistencia on Facebook or Instagram and help amplify their daily actions.
Latinx COVID-19 Community Response in Washington State:
The Latinx COVID-19 Community Response in Washington State (LCR-WA) provides accurate and timely information, updates and resources to the Latinx community regarding COVID-19 in Spanish and English. LCR-WA envisions connecting the Latinx community across Washington State as they go through the COVID-19 crisis. They stand together for equity and social justice and support the Latinx community including those who are undocumented, low-income, non-English speaking, and residing in both rural and urban cities. LCR-WA will not give legal advice but will connect people with attorneys and organizations that can.
Instagram: Respuesta Comunitaria COVID-19
- Rental assistance: United Way of King County is accepting applications for rental assistance. Learn more here.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families YWCA: Provides rapid rehousing and housing stabilization for low-income veteran families. The program provides financial assistance, payable to third-party providers, for expenses such as rent, security deposit, utilities, and transportation. Program agencies also provide participant veterans and families with case management and supportive services. Learn more about SSVF and about eligibility requirements here.
CITY OF SEATTLE
- Comprehensive COVID-19 resource site from the City of Seattle: Find an enormous amount of information related to COVID-19 from the City of Seattle here. This includes information on housing, for small businesses, and for workers.
Additional resources for immigrant communities in Seattle:
The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, el Comite, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project compiled this new information guide for immigrants who want to know more about how the issue of public charge might affect their ability to access healthcare and other services listed on this page: welcoming.seattle.gov/covid19publiccharge
Founded by South Seattle College student organizers, this is a fundraiser to help ensure undocumented families can continue to pay back their rent once the current residential evictions moratorium has been lifted. For more information or to contribute to the fund, visit: gofundme.com/f/rent-fund-for-undocumented-people-covid19
El Centro is raising funds to support "vulnerable children, families, and seniors facing unprecedented economic hardship." Funds will help support the growing need for rent, food, utility, and other basic needs assistance for the clients they serve. For more information or to contribute to the fund, visit this page
- Mutual Aid Campaign: This group is gathering and sharing direct aid opportunities, primarily on Facebook. They are also distributing cash assistance to families in need. You can request aid in multiple languages here.
- Child Care: Available childcare spots prioritizing students experiencing homelessness, children whose families qualify for Free and Reduces Lunch supports, and children of first responders which includes medical personnel, hospital/clinic personnel, EMTs, firefighters, essential SPS staff providing meals, child care workers, grocery store workers, and pharmacy. Child care is available to both pre-school and elementary school age children. Learn more here.