|Many families in our community are still struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. There are a number of programs available to help families and individuals that were included in the federal American Rescue Plan, above and beyond the stimulus checks. Information is available below about other components of the bill, and more information is available by clicking here|
Additional tax credits to lower health insurance premiums
• This could mean savings of $663 per month for a 60-year-old couple earning $75,000 per year. Current enrollees, including those who recently enrolled through the 2021 Special Enrollment Period, can update their applications and enrollments to get new eligibility results starting April 1. Individuals will need to re-select their current plan for the changes to take effect to reduce your premiums for the remainder of the year. More information is available and people can update your plan HERE.
Food assistance benefits for missed school lunches
• The American Rescue Plan provides Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Find information on this program in New York, and answers to frequently asked questions here.
COVID-19 funeral expenses
• For those who have lost a loved one during this pandemic, please know that the American Rescue Plan provides funds for reimbursement of COVID-19 related funeral expenses. Beginning in April, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin processing these repayments. Apply here.
Extra $300 weekly unemployment benefit
• The American Rescue Plan extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from 50 weeks to up to 73 weeks and extends Emergency Unemployment Compensation from 24 to 53 weeks. It will also provide an additional $300 in weekly benefits through September 6. You can learn more and apply at the New York Unemployment Insurance Program website.
Shuttered Venues Grant Program
• The Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program is now accepting applications. These grants will help our local shuttered venue operators put paychecks back in workers’ pockets, avoid permanent closures, cover rent payments and more. Check eligibility and apply here.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
• Businesses in New York are now eligible for increased aid under the American Rescue Plan. $15 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available to assist hard-hit and underserved small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations. For information on eligibility, or to apply, visit the Small Business Administration website, or call 1-800-659-2955.
Information on additional programs and financial support through the federal American Rescue Plan is available here.
Eviction and Housing Support Programs
If you or someone you know is behind on their rent and/or facing other economic challenges, assistance and resources are available by calling 211 and speaking with a specialist at the 211/Lifeline Call Center
Monroe County has implemented a handful of programs designed to help tenants experiencing housing instability in the midst of the COVID pandemic. These include an Emergency Rent Assistance program which can cover back rent, as well as the Tenant Defense Project which provides all tenants with access to a free lawyer in court. A listing of programs can be found at www.CityofRochester.gov/EvictionPrevention
Calling 211 is often the easiest way for tenants to get connected. Intake specialists will ask a series of questions about their living and employment status to help identify any support programs that they may be qualified for, including Emergency Rent Assistance. The specialist will help start their application and provide a handoff to the appropriate agency to complete their enrollment. The 211 line also recently implemented a callback option, providing callers a solution to avoid waiting on hold. The 211 hotline is also open 24 hours, and the phone lines may be less busy late in the evening or early in the morning.
As always, general questions about housing issues and community resources can be directed to the Housing Hotline operated by the Housing Council at PathStone. Call (585) 546-3700 between 9am and 1pm weekdays.