United Way of Southeast Louisiana supports the stability and well-being of our region, which makes us especially concerned about Coronavirus Disease 2019’s (COVID19) progression here at home. Below is a regularly-updated list of community resources and trustworthy information links related to COVID-19. If you’d like to support United Way’s efforts to help our community’s most vulnerable endure the long-term challenges ahead, click here.
Last Updated: 4/6/2020
General COVID-19 Information Resources
- Phone & Text Line for COVID-19 Questions: The Louisiana Department of Health is directing residents to use the Louisiana 211 network for questions regarding COVID-19, or the coronavirus. Anyone looking for information about the COVID-19 outbreak can simply dial 211 or text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211. Visit LA211Help.org for more info.
- What to do if You Are Sick: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created this guide for steps to take if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
- COVID-19 Testing Sites: Louisiana Department of Health
- Stay at Home Order – Can Do vs Shall Not Do: This guide from the Governor’s Office explains what actions are and are not allowed under the statewide shelter at home order.
- COVID-19 Preparedness Tips and Information
- CDC Resources in Languages Other Than English
Mental Health Resources
- 24/7, Free, Confidential Mental Health Support: If you or a loved one are feeling overwhelmed by this emergency, please call 211 for assistance. 211’s 24/7 phone, text, and chatlines are a safe space for anyone who is going through a hard time, having thoughts about suicide, or just needs to talk. Crisis Intervention Specialists are ready to listen, provide emotional support and help you develop a safety plan if necessary. Specialists are not here to judge or tell you what you should do.
- Keeping Calm Through COVID Hotline: If you are feeling overwhelmed with the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, the 24/7 Keeping Calm Through COVID Hotline can help. Call 1-866-310-7977 to connect with a trained, compassionate counselor who can offer support and direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.
- #GetYaMindRight Digital Support Group: The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies, a United Way SELA Community Partner, is hosting a digital support group Monday-Friday from 10:15-11:15 a.m. in partnership with Metropolitan Human Services District. Get Ya Mind Right is a virtual healing space where participants can learn how to understand and manage thoughts, feelings, and fears during this pandemic. Learn more here.
- Managing Your Stress During a Public Health Incident – Texas Health and Human Services
Supporting Young Children Isolated Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – LSU Health New Orleans
United Way SELA Program Closures
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): United Way SELA volunteers are offering virtual tax preparation assistance on a limited basis. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. All VITA sites managed by the Asset Building Coalition of Southeast Louisiana remain closed until further notice. Please monitor UnitedWaySELA.org/VITA for more information.
- United Way SELA FAME Series Postponed: All UWSELA FAME series financial education classes are currently postponed. Updates will be posted to UnitedWaySELA.org/FAME.
- HandsOn New Orleans: Register through United Way’s HandsOn New Orleans to receive updates on available volunteer opportunities, including food delivery to vulnerable residents. Eligibility requirements will vary. Register here.
- United Way SELA COVID-19 Public Policy Updates: Click here to view a running list of updates from United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Public Policy Team.
School & Family Information
- School Meal Sites: Many schools are providing meals for children during the COVID-19 school closure period. View a list of school meal sites here. A child must be present to recieve a meal.
- Louisiana Department of Education COVID-19 Information and Resources
- Talking with Children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children: "As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease." Read more here.
- How to Help Kids Cope with Extended School Closures: Find 6 tips from Save the Children here.
Financial & Legal Assistance
- Utilities Assistance: Parish governments are working with utility and telecommunication corporations to ensure efficient and uninterrupted service to residents. Contact your provider for additional information.
- Coronavirus Credit Card Debt Relief: This article from The Balance offers a list of credit card companies who are waiving late fees or have some type of loss mitigation options in place.
- Food Pantries: To find the Second Harvest food pantry nearest you, dial 211.
- Southeast Louisiana Legal Services: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a United Way SELA Community Partner, provides free, civil legal aid to low-income people, including legal assistance for landlord-tenant issues and more.
- COVID-19 Legal Helpline: SLLS is operating a COVID-19 Legal Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to provide legal advice and assistance to people who have lost income or had some other impact from COVID-19 including employment law issues, landlord-tenant problems, family law matters, consumer debt questions, and benefit eligibility questions.
- Facebook Live Info Sessions: SLLS hosted two Facebook Live sessions related to COVID-19 legal issues on 3/31. In this video, SLLS Staff Attorney Hannah Adams talks about the current state of evictions in Louisiana, what to do if your landlord illegally locks you out, and how to talk to your landlord about April rent. In this video, Paul Tuttle, Managing Attorney of SLLS' Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, discusses how to avoid identity theft and other tax information you need to know in the wake of COVID-19.
- FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card: This free prescription drug discount card provides immediate savings on prescription medicines, with no paperwork or forms to fill out. Get your card here.
- Stimulus Payments: This webpage from the IRS details what you need to know about economic impact payments including eligibility, how you will receive your payment, and more.
- Important COVID-19 Hotlines for the Public: This document from the Governor’s Office of Programs and Planning provides contact information for many state resources including SNAP, unemployment claims, Medicaid, counseling services, WIC, and Small Business Administration aid.
- Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July 15: The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Read more here.
- SNAP COVID-19 FAQs: Many Louisiana households who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in March will see an extra boost on their SNAP cards on March 31, 2020, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. View the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services FAQs for details about the supplemental benefits and other SNAP changes. For instructions on how to apply for SNAP, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP or text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898-211. Please note, DCFS’ phone line and email are currently overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 crisis and they ask that you do not call with questions about supplemental benefits at this time.
Business & Employee Resources
- COVID-19 Help Desk for Louisiana Businesses: Louisiana Economic Development is operating a help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19. For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll-free hotline, (833) 457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Learn more here.
- CARES ACT: Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions: United Way Worldwide
- Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program (Small Business Loans): On April 1, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here.
- CARES Act Session for Businesses: JEDCO and Adams & Reese hosted a video conference on Monday, March 30, to break down what the recently passed stimulus package will mean for businesses. View a summary here.
- Small Business Administration Disaster Loans: Small businesses in all 64 parishes in Louisiana are eligible federal disaster-loan assistance through the Small Business Administration. Apply here.
- Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund: Hospitality industry workers who reside in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Tangipahoa, or Washington parishes and are experiencing a financial emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to receive up at $500 through United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund. Update: Applications are currently closed. Please sign up to receive alerts on the application process here.
- Gig Economy Workers Fund: The New Orleans Business Alliance has launched a relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income. Learn more and apply here.
- Bartender Emergency Assistance Program Grant: USBG National Charity Foundation
- Emergency Relief Fund for Auto and Truck Dealership Employees: NADA Foundation
- Emergency Grant for Curators: The Kinkade Family Foundation is administering emergency grants for curators who are developing projects that promote artwork of contemporary and experimental nature. Learn more here.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Resource Page: This page contains links to resources on business resilience and disaster recovery.
- Unemployment Insurance for Employees and Employers: The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has released information for employees and employers in Louisiana who have been impacted by COVID-19.
- Orleans Parish - http://ready.nola.gov/
- Jefferson Parish - https://jeffparish.net/
- St. Bernard Parish - https://sbpg.net/
- Plaquemines Parish - https://plaqueminesparish.com/
- Tangipahoa Parish - https://tangipahoa.org/
- St. Tammany Parish - http://stpgov.org/
- Washington Parish - http://washingtonparishalerts.org/
Other Resource & Data Pages
- NOLA Ready: The NOLA Ready homepage contains a robust directory of information links for New Orleans residents and others.
- COVID-19 211 Dashboard: These dashboards contain information about people who have contacted VIA LINK for COVID-19 information since March 11th. These dashboards explore a range of information, including where callers were located and what information they were seeking. Click here to learn more.
COVID-19 Preparedness Tips and Information
Governor Edwards confirmed on Monday the first presumptive case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Orleans Parish. Although this is one of few known cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana, more diagnoses are likely to come.
The news may add to your panic or apathy, but either way, the most important thing we can do right now is take preventative measures to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our community healthy.
CDC Prevention Tips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following everyday preventive measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Taking preventative actions can help limit exposure and transmission of COVID-19, but just as with any potential emergency, you may want to consider taking further steps to ensure the well-being of your household. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) compiled a checklist to get your home ready in case of a widespread outbreak in Louisiana. Many of the recommendations are similar to hurricane preparedness lists and not unfamiliar to our region.
I’d also like to call attention to 211 and FamilyWize, two local resources available to you at no cost, 24/7, which can provide support to households managing the financial strains of personal illness and missed work.
So as this public health and economic crisis continues to unfold, please turn to trusted organizations for information and support. The experts in this space are providing reliable, timely updates on how to best to stay healthy and avoid contracting COVID-19. Read on to access additional resources from LDH and CDC below.
In good health,
Senior Vice President, Long Term Recovery
P.S. Looking for a new 20-second song to pass a good time while washing your hands? Our friends at WWL-TV suggest a couple choruses of Choppa’s Choppa Style to keep you entertained. It’s might hold you over until football season too.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Visit LDH.louisiana.gov/Coronavirus for information on the state’s response to the COVID-19 situation.
- Contact your regional GOHSEP office for information on local responses.
- Questions? Call LDH’s coronavirus general information line at 1-855-523-2652 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Louisiana Department of Health Information
General CDC Information