Massachusetts-based resources for mentors, participants, and the general public.
If you need assistance in Massachusetts, call 2-1-1 or visit mass211.org
Boston residents: call 3-1-1
Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990 or Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
Latest information, updates, and guidance from:
IMPORTANT: Getting tested or treated for the virus will NOT count as a public charge for immigrants.
Organized According to EMPath's Bridge to Self-Sufficiency®
Family Stability: Housing
Are you worried you’ll get evicted soon? Call City Life/Vida Urbana’s Housing Hotline at 617-934-5006 (English)
¿Estás preocupadx de que te desalojen pronto? Llame a la línea directa de City Life/Vida Urbana al 617-397-3773 (español)
IMPORTANT: If you receive an eviction notice (“Notice to Quit”), do NOT move out. An eviction notice does not mean you have to move out; it means a court process will begin, & you can defend your home. Only a court order can force you to leave your home. See this flyer that explains what a Notice to Quit means.
MA’s moratorium on evictions & foreclosures expired on October 17, 2020. The CDC’s federal eviction moratorium is now in effect through December 31, 2020. You are covered if:
- You are an individual with a net household income under $99,000 or a couple with a net household income under $198,000
- You are unable to pay rent due to a substantial loss in income or extraordinary medical expenses
- You would likely become homeless if evicted
- You have tried to obtain state or local rental assistance, and
- You are making best efforts to pay as much rent as possible.
- MA announced an Eviction Diversion Initiative in mid-October, with funding for new and expanded housing stability programs for the remainder of the fisca1 year (through June 30, 2021). Click here for more information.
- Call the MA 2-1-1 information hotline for questions and to be connected to the agencies that administer RAFT and ERMA (rental assistance). You can also visit the state’s website on COVID-19 housing help.
- Know your housing rights: English // Conozca sus derechos como inquilix: (español)
- More info from MassLegalHelp.org.
- Families can apply for Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter through the state of MA by calling 1-866-584-0653. More information here.
- Single individuals seeking shelter can find a list of shelters here.
- Full list of homeless shelters in MA.
- Folks in subsidized housing/public housing/vouchers who have lost income or jobs should contact their rental manager. This may be difficult as offices are closed; keep a log if you cannot reach anyone. Keep paystubs, layoff notices, etc. These will be essential is obtaining rent adjustments.
- NOTE: Anyone living in BHA public housing must see their property manager to report income changes.
- Click here for utility assistance.
- The MA Department of Public Utilities is extending the state’s moratorium on electric and gas service shutoffs for the duration of the state of emergency in MA.
Additional Housing Assistance
- Housing rights & resources during COVID-19 (City Life/Vida Urbana)
- Derechos y recursos de vivienda durante COVID-19 (City Life/Vida Urbana)
- Guide to obtaining housing assistance (State of Massachusetts)
- Resources for individuals and families struggling to make rent or mortgage payments due to COVID-19 (State of Massachusetts)
- Resources for tenants & landlords from the Boston Office of Housing Stability (City of Boston)
- Staff are available via Zoom every Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. to answer your housing questions. More info at above website.
Family Stability: Family
- If you are in danger right now, call SafeLink at 877-785-2020 or 877-521-2601 (TTY). SafeLink is the 24/7 statewide domestic violence crisis hotline.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 / 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- Boston Area Rape Crisis Center: call the 24/7 hotline at 800-841-8371 or web chat 9:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
- Safety.com’s guide to finding help from domestic violence from Safety.com: Includes four types of common abuses and recognizing the early warning signs, critical steps to take to protect yourself, and support services for housing, immigration, and financial independence.
- If you are not in immediate danger, but still need assistance or services, you can call SafeLink at 877-785-2020 or Casa Myrna Vasquez at 800-992-2600, or see Jane Doe’s list of domestic violence programs in MA here.
- Search here for a licensed child care program in MA
- Information on child care reopening and subsides (Greater Boston Legal Services)
- More info for children an families from the the MA Department of Early Education and Care
- Community Learning Centers at YMCA branches in the Greater Boston area support kids who are remote or hybrid (scroll down the page)
- Fall 2020 in-person after-school sites (Boston After School and Beyond)
- Getting tested or treated for the COVID-19 will NOT count as a public charge for immigrants.
- For women seeking immigration advice, contact the Rosie’s Place Legal Program at (617) 318-0280.
- Click here for resources from MIRA Coalition in multiple languages.
- For immigrants without access to benefits (undocumented, TPS, DACA, etc.) such as SNAP, unemployment, disability, and cash assistance, click here for assistance in your neighborhood and call 211 to ask for information on the United Way’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund.
Internet and Phone Services
Free and low-cost internet offers
- PCs for People offers low-cost desktop & laptop computers, mobile internet, and affordable computer repair to qualifying households.
- Click here for more free and low-cost internet programs.
Other internet resources
Certain low-income or specific program recipients in Massachusetts are eligible for a low-cost phone through the Lifeline Program.
Well-Being: Physical Health
Health Care and Virus Testing
- DO NOT avoid testing or treatment for lack of coverage
- Hotline: Call Health Care For All’s free HelpLine at (800) 272-4232 for questions about applying for health insurance in MA, health insurance benefits, and issues with state programs. Open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
- How to Support Children’s Health During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
- If you’re uninsured, you can apply for MassHealth or Connector plans.
- If you have MassHealth, you’re FULLY COVERED for COVID-19 testing and treatment. No referrals are needed.
- All MassHealth Enrollment sites are closed for walk-in visitors until further notice. If you have questions about coverage or applications, call the Customer Service Center at** 800-841-2900; TTY: 800-497-4648**.
- Click here for more information on MassHealth.
- Hotline: MA residents can contact Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 (TTY 1-800-377-1292) or gettingsnap.org for resources in their community and help signing up for SNAP (“food stamps”) and WIC (Women, Infants, & Children). Available in 160 languages and for those who are hearing impaired.
- Find food pantries and community meal programs: Click here.
- Free groceries: Wednesdays at 2pm at the Brazilian Worker Center (14 Harvard Ave, Allston). Click here for more info.
- Map of food resources in the City of Boston
SNAP & P-EBT
- If you lost your job or work hours because of COVID-19, you can apply for SNAP at any time. You do not have to wait to file an application.
- Pandemic EBT (P-EBT): Created in Spring 2020 to provide funds for families to buy food while schools were closed due to COVID-19. More P-EBT funds are being issued for the 2020-2021 school year. Click here for more information and to see if you’re eligible.
- Reminder: Households can give permission to friends, family, or other trusted people to use their EBT card on their behalf, with no need for formal documentation or written paperwork. This may be helpful for seniors, persons with disabilities, and other populations who are particularly vulnerable and at risk from COVID-19, and who may need to ask others to go shopping on their behalf.
WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) Nutrition Program
- All WIC Programs are providing all services by phone: (800) 942-1007. Hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. If you hear a recording, leave a message with your name and telephone number.
- Contact your local WIC office with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition, or shopping.
- Click here for more information and updates.
Free Meals for Kids & Teens
- Free grab & go meals to all youth and teens are being offered at hundreds of locations throughout the state, no registration or ID required. Meals will be available throughout the school year (through at least June 30, 2021). Find a meal site near you.
Well-Being: Mental Health
- Suicide helpline: Call or text Samaritans 24/7 at 877-870-4673.
- LGBTQIA+ youth: Call The Trevor Project’s 24/7 TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386, text START to 678678, or chat with a counselor online.
- Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860. A peer support service run by trans people, for trans and questioning callers.
- Substance use: Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national 24/7 helpline at 1-800-662-4357 (TTY: 1-800-487-4889). Provides referrals to local treatment options, support groups, and community-based organizations. También disponible en español.
- Managing stress and anxiety, from the CDC.
- Click here for more on maintaining emotional health and well-being from the MA Department of Mental Health.
Free and Low-Cost Therapy
- BIDMC Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery: Private, confidential, and free services for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, community violence, and homicide.
- Black Therapists Rock: For connecting to Black therapists (direct link to the therapist search tool here).
- Coronavirus Online Therapy: Free and reduced fee sessions for essential workers.
- De Novo: Free civil legal assistance and affordable psychological counseling. Fees for counseling range from $2 to $60 per visit. No one is turned away due to inability to pay.
- Latinx Therapists Action Network: Geared toward people in front-line communities, movement-builders in migrant rights, and undocumented folks in need. This resource lists therapists by region offering a maximum of 12 session at a sliding scale ($25-75) (direct link to directory here).
- Looking Glass Counseling: Free 45-minute support sessions over video to adults (18+) who live in Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, or Arlington, MA.
- Massachusetts & Rhode Island Therapists of Color Directory
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Open Path Collective: For people without health insurance or whose health insurance doesn’t provide adequate mental health benefits.
- Additional therapy and referral resources
Mindfulness and Meditation
- Free guided mindfulness sessions from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
- 7 Meditation and Mindfulness Apps with Free Tools (try Headspace)
- HandholdMA.org is a family-friendly website designed for parents of school-aged children in Ma who are worried about their child’s mental health. Is your kid just being a kid, or is their behavior something to worry about? If so, what are the next steps you can take? HandHold is here to help you figure that out.
- 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!) from PositivePsychology.com
- Resources from Sesame Street to offer comfort and spark playful learning activities
- Apply online here or call your local Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) office to start an application.
- Hotline: If you’re in Boston and have questions about cash assistance (TAFDC or EAEDC), SNAP, or child care, call Greater Boston Legal Services’ Welfare Law Unit at (617) 603-1806. Make sure to leave a voicemail with your name and number to get a call back.
- DTA COVID-19 FAQ
- Loan repayment flexibilities have been extended through Dec. 31, 2020. Click here for Coronavirus and forbearance info for students, borrowers, and parents.
- Assistance: Call MA Attorney General’s Student Loan Helpline at 1-888-830-6377 or submit a Student Loan Help Request.
- If you have questions or need assistance with debt collection or other issues around debt, contact the MA Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 617-727-8400 (Monday - Friday, 10am-4pm)
- Click here to learn more.
How Do I Manage My Finances During COVID-19?
Tips from EMPath’s Financial Specialist
Communication is key
- The most important advice in managing debt during ANY financial hardship is regular communication with your financial institution such as your bank, creditor, or student loan servicer.
- Always alert your financial institution immediately when you are beginning to experience financial hardship and inquire about options they can provide such as lower interest payments, changing the bill due date, temporary relief, etc.
- It is understandable that taking the time to call and have those conversations can be difficult emotionally. Keep in mind that financial hardships often happen at no fault of your own. Speaking with your bank as soon as possible can save you money in the long-run, such as reduced interest payments or preventing a debt to go into collections.
- Be prepared to explain your situation to your bank/creditor. You may want to write down your story prior to the call to help you better explain your situation to the customer representative. This may include important dates related to your employment and a list of other debts/accounts/medical expenses you have financial obligations to at this time and having difficulty paying due to reduced income or employment.
What steps can I take?
- Contact your bank or financial institution immediately via the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card to inquire about financial help during the pandemic.
- You may also be able to contact your financial institution via online support through their website or online chat support. Take notes as you speak with your financial institution and request for documentation of any agreed upon terms or changes to your credit card/bank etc.
- Utilize online banking or mobile apps to manage your payments or fund transfers to decrease in-person contact at financial institutions.
Education & Training
Online Educational Resources
- ABCmouse: Educational activities for children ages 2-8.
- Adventure Academy: Educational activities for kids ages 8-13.
- Audible: Offering free stories for kids to stream.
- Boston Children’s Museum has free online learning resources.
- CovEd: A group of college students formed CovEd to offer free support to K-12 students. They provide tutoring services for all school subjects from K-12 (including some AP and Honors classes), mentorship, and college preparation (including help with college essays or preparing for the SAT/ACT/Subject Test exams).
- GBH’s Distance Learning Center: Resources for students, educators, families and more.
- Khan Academy: Free learning resources for parents (as well as teachers and school districts).
- Libraries: Massachusetts libraries have many e-books, audiobooks, and other resources available online. Boston Public Library has online resources on many topics for all ages.
- MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Free online educational resources for parents and students.
- ReadingIQ: Thousands of books for children 12 and under.
For Children with Special Needs
- If your child is facing barriers to their education, including children with IEP and disabilities, please call Mass Advocates For Children at 617-357-8431 ext. 3224 (English) or 617-357-8431 ext. 3237 (español).
- The Cotting School, with a focus on serving students with disabilities, has resources for families and educators of students with special needs.
- Apps for autistic learners: Sight Words | Sequences for Autism | See. Touch. Learn.
- Apps for dyslexic learners: Sound Literacy | Dyslexia Quest | Happy Math Multiplication Rhymes
- Apps for learners with writing difficulties: The Writing Machine | iWrite Words | Letter School
Aquariums, Zoos, Museums & Other Activities
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is providing online performances, as well as dance lessons for those seeking to enhance their own skills at home.
- Free virtual galleries from museums across the world.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA has live streams of their aquariums.
- San Diego Zoo has live cams of animals.
- The U.S. National Parks have set up free virtual ranger guided tours.
- Community Learning Centers at YMCA branches in the Greater Boston area support kids who are remote or hybrid (scroll down the page)
- Recursos en español del Centro de Información y Recursos para Padres.
- Early Childhood Education Resources for Families from the state of MA.
- Additional education and child-related resources from Mass Advocates for Children.
Employment & Career
Note: If you believe you were unfairly fired from a job or are currently working but believe your employer is not following labor laws (not paying you correctly or for overtime, not giving you breaks or access to sick time and other types of leave, retaliating against you, etc.), contact the MA Attorney General’s Fair Division hotline at 617-727-3465 (TTY 617-727-4765) for help. Click here for more information and to file a complaint. All workers, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights in Massachusetts.
Click here for FAQ from MA Attorney General Maura Healey’s office on employee rights and employer obligations regarding COVID-19.
Applying for Unemployment in MA
If you have been laid off, terminated, or have experienced a significant decrease in hours, you may be eligible to receive unemployment assistance.
- Click here for information on Greater Boston Legal Services’ free assistance filing for unemployment benefits claims, figuring out why your claim hasn’t been paid, or appealing the denial of a claim.
- Apply: The quickest way to file a successful unemployment claim is through the state’s online portal. You can also call the Department of Unemployment Assistance at 877-626-6800 (open Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Multilingual call agents are available).
- Click here for unemployment assistance information in 12 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Khmer, Lao, Italian, French, Korean, and Arabic.
- Click here for a step-by-step guide to filing a new unemployment claim.
- Click here for more information and the latest updates.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Provides payment to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
- Click here to apply online and to check your application status.
- You can also call the Department of Unemployment Assistance at 877-626-6800 (open Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.. Multilingual call agents are available).
- Click here for more information, including what information you need for the application.
- If you are currently receiving public assistance, such as SNAP, and have lost hours at work, let the overseeing agency, such as DTA, know that you have experienced a decrease in income.
- If you previously did not qualify for public assistance, but have lost wages, you may now be eligible. Feel free to apply!
Remote Job Search Sites
- Virtual drop-in office hours with the Harvard’s Legal Services Center for advice and information about a wide range of issues, every Friday from 10 a.m . to noon.
- Legal advice or help from Greater Boston Legal Services on all types of topics (note: GBLS helps people regardless of their documentation status in all of their work).