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Miami Herald: Lost your job? Need food? Internet? These places can help during the coronavirus crisis

COVID-19 has turned South Florida upside down.

Miami-Dade County has ordered all bars to shut their doors. Restaurants are converting into takeout and delivery. Stores are closing. And people are making less money or suddenly out of work.

If you’re left in need during this time, there are resources available.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I’M LAID OFF OR NOT BEING PAID BECAUSE OF COVID-19?

You can apply for Reemployment Assistance (formerly known as unemployment compensation) if you were working in Florida and are now:

▪ Quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency.

▪ Laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period of time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

▪ Caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

To learn more about the program and how you can apply online, visit http://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants

JWorks Miami has moved operations online to continue helping Jewish job-seekers in Miami-Dade County find a job. The program helps residents develop resumes and cover letters, hosts mock interviews (which will be online during the COVID-19 outbreak), and network with potential employers. The program is free to job seekers and employers through a partnership between the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Services of South Florida.

To learn more, visit jewishmiami.org/jworks/

COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED MY SMALL BUSINESS. WHAT CAN I DO?

Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses affected by the novel coronavirus. The bridge loan program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses who were financially impacted by COVID-19.

Applications will be accepted through May 8.

For more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity is also encouraging business owners to complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey to help officials determine what the best recovery resources for businesses are. To fill out the survey, visit floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments.

I NEED HELP FEEDING MY FAMILY DURING THE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN. WHERE CAN I GO?

All public schools in Miami-Dade County are giving breakfast and lunch to students in need. The district says it plans on distributing food during spring break as well but has not announced distribution times or locations yet.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has activated the Summer BreakSpot website because 71.9 percent of students in Florida public schools receive free or reduced lunches. The program has 934 sites across the state that serve meals to school age children. The program is expected to start in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties on March 23. It starts March 20 in Broward. To learn more, visit summerbreakspot.freshfromflorida.com/

Feeding South Florida has launched a COVID-19 Response Fund to help support those in need during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The nonprofit serves Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe County and provides “direct-service programs” including benefits application assistance, access to its food pantry and home delivery for qualified individuals.

Those who require assistance can visit feedingsouthflorida.org/benefits-emergency-services/ to apply.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami says it’s talking with local and state government to see where aid is needed and is recommending people stay in contact with their local parishes through the website and social media for updates.

The Archdiocese says its “elderly service” program is still providing meals to those in need who are 60 or older, live independently in their homes and are registered with the program. Instead of serving the food at its 12 senior centers across South Florida, employees are delivering meals to homes.

As of Wednesday, Jewish Community Services JCS Kosher Food Bank in North Miami Beach remains open. The food bank, which helps provide kosher meals, is by appointment only to keep the privacy of its visitors. Those who are interested should call 305-576-6550 to apply.

The Federation says it’s also looking for healthy volunteers to assist in delivering groceries or medical supplies to members of the community who are at higher risk of falling ill such as senior citizens or are homebound. Those interested in volunteering can email Volunteer@gmjf.org.

Farm Share is hosting several drive-thru only food drives in South Florida to help during the COVID-19 shutdown. To get food, attendees must arrive to the locations in a vehicle that has a trunk or cargo bed. The nonprofit says it expects to feed more than 500 families at the following events:

▪ March 24 — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Joseph’s Storehouse, 2961-2967 NW 27th St. Building 12 in Lauderdale Lakes

▪ March 25 — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ark of the City, 6100 NW Second Ave.

The nonprofit says it’s looking to partner with individuals, corporations or municipalities to host additional food drives. Anyone who is interested in donating or partnering with Farm Share is asked to visit http://farmshare.org for more information.

I NEED INTERNET BUT CAN’T PAY BILLS BECAUSE OF COVID-19. WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE?

Xfinity and AT&T have opened up Wifi hotspots across the country for the next 60 days so everyone can have access to the Internet for free, including non-customers. To find a hotspot near you visit wifi.xfinity.com and att.com/support/article/wireless/KM1103818/

Verizon and Xfinity have also agreed to waive late fees and not terminate the service of any customer who can’t pay their bill because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

AT&T has also promised to waive late fees and not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer who is unable to pay their bills because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Its also giving unlimited internet data to its home internet wireless and fixed internet customers.

T-mobile is giving all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers unlimited data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming), an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service, and free international calling to any country listed as a Level 3 during the pandemic. As of Wednesday, the CDC lists the following countries as Level 3: China, Iran, South Korea and most European countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

T-mobile says its also working to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB per month over the next two months for its Lifeline customers.

I’M AN ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEE DURING COVID-19. WHERE CAN I DROP OFF MY CHILD?

Select YMCA’s in both Miami-Dade and Broward will be providing child care services for kids of first responders, healthcare workers as well as city and county staffers. Some YMCA’s have a broader criteria.

To find a YMCA near you and to learn more about the program, visit https://ymcasouthflorida.org/schools-out/

CRISIS INTERVENTION HOTLINES TO KNOW DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Call 211 for help in connecting to the various health and human resources available in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, including food banks, financial assistance and domestic violence hotlines.The24-hour helpline provides information in English, Spanish and Creole. Remember, for emergencies, call 911.

You can also call 211 in Broward County for help finding food, housing, healthcare, senior services, child care, and additional services.

Greater Miami Jewish Federation Emergency Hotline for emergency counseling, financial aid, food, domestic abuse assistance and other services — 305-576-6550

Domestic Violence Hotline — 800-962-2873

Rape Hotline — 305-585-7273

Suicide Prevention /SAFENET — 305-358-HELP (4357)

Department of Children and Families — 305-377-5773

Elder Help Line (8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.) — 305-670-4357

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