COVID-19 RESOURCES

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, BBC will use this page to share resources that might be helpful to Bostonians and our network of financial coaches. We will also highlight opportunities to advocate for greater support for individuals and families that are struggling. Read on below for the latest. Last updated 4/13/2020. 

BANKING ACCESS & CARES ACT PAYMENTS:

  • The CFPB has put together a guide to COVID-19 economic relief.  
     

  • Individuals who do not have a bank account on file with the IRS will face long delays in receiving stimulus checks, possibly months. IT IS NOT TOO LATE to update your information with the IRS, but the time is now. If you already have a checking or savings account, visit the IRS's webpage and sign up with your account number. If you need to open a checking or savings account first, visit Bank On Boston's website for a list of safe and affordable bank account options. Bank On Boston is a City of Boston initiative focused on connecting consumers to safe, non-predatory bank accounts. For additional information, please contact Michael Andelman at Bank On Boston.


CONSUMER PROTECTION RESOURCES & LEGAL AID: 

  • Attorney General Healey released emergency regulations to protect consumers from harmful debt collection practices. Read the details here
     

  • Attorney General Healey's office has put together a guide to consumer rights in Massachusetts during the pandemic. Read for more information on employee rights, health care information, child care resources, resources for immigrant communities, protecting civil rights, small business resources, and more. 
     

  • Mass Legal Help is an excellent resource for legal questions in general, and they have also put together resources specific to COVID-19 issues, including information on stimulus payments, unemployment, debt collections, eviction court updates, and more. Connect to that information here.
     

  • The National Consumer Law Center has put together a guide focused on consumer protections during the pandemic. This is a good source for information on legal advocacy, legislative updates, debt collection practices, and foreclosure moratoriums. It is nationally focused, but includes links with state specific resources. 


MANAGING FINANCES:

  • Credit Builders Alliance has assembled a robust set of resources for financial coaches and lenders during this crisis. Everything from information on how to protect your credit, to student loan forbearance, to mortgage deferments, to tips for lenders on credit reporting during declared disasters. Read the full list here.  
     

  • As featured in our March newsletter, Working Credit has put together a guide on seven tips for protecting your credit during COVID-19. Read it here
     

  • The City of Boston's Office of Financial Empowerment is keeping a running list of resources on how to manage finances during the pandemic. This is a great source for information on remote banking, student loans, debt, housing, and more. 
     

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is regularly publishing resources in English and Spanish. Check here for the full list. We also recommend: 

NONPROFIT RESOURCES: 

  • United Way has established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund as a dedicated resource for working families affecting by this crisis. This fund is mobilizing United Way's network of nonprofit agencies to provide a flexible source of cash assistance for families. Disbursements have already begun. Read more about the fund here
     

  • If your nonprofit needs pro bono legal assistance due to COVID-19 complications, the COVID Relief Coalition is helping to connect nonprofits to the support they need.
     

  • The United Way is matching skilled volunteers with organizations that need help with the Paycheck Protection Program/Small Business Association loan application process. Request a volunteer using this link (it only takes 15 seconds!). 
     

  • A recent Prosperity Now newsletter provides an overview of how the stimulus payments from the CARES Act will work for individuals. Read it here.
     

  • Nonprofit Quarterly explains how the CARES Act can work for nonprofits in this article.


GENERAL RESOURCE LISTS:
Many organizations are working hard to keep track of the resources available to nonprofits and individuals throughout this crisis. Here are a few robust resources: 
 

  • United Way's Mass 2-1-1 statewide consumer hotline will provide consumer help during the COVID-19 public health emergency, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health. Individuals can call 2-1-1 mass211.org
    for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus, including information on where they can access flexible funds through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund. 
     

  • Winn Companies has put together a free search tool for individuals to find the resources they need during this crisis. Use the tool here to search for free and reduced cost services like food, healthcare, job opportunities, benefits enrollment, rental assistance, and more. 
     

  • United Way is also keeping an online resource list.
     

  • Prosperity Now's resource list.
     

  • EMPath's resource list.
     

  • Compass Working Capital's resource list.


RESOURCES FOR HOUSING  & SMALL BUSINESSES:

  • LISC Boston is curating a robust list of resources geared towards supporting small businesses and affordable housing organizations. Access the full list here
     

  • CHAPA (Citizens' Housing and Planning Association) is keeping a running list of affordable housing resources (and more) on their website
     

  • MACDC (Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations) is keeping a running list of affordable housing resources (and more) on their website.


CLIENT RESOURCES: 

  • For information on how families can access flexible funds through the United Way's COVID-19 Family Support Fund, clients should call 2-1-1 (see entry above under General Resource Lists).
     

  • Union Capital Boston is raising funds to distribute directly to Bostonians in need. To date, they have distributed support to 1088 families. You can click here to donate to support their work, and you can click here to request assistance.  

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