The number of coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia is increasing by the day — but so is the number of resources available if you need help.
Governments passed emergency legislation to make it easier for residents to get unemployment benefits, schools are handing out meals and some grocery stores have special hours for seniors and people more vulnerable to the virus.
Here’s a roundup of many resources available in the D.C. area. If there’s something else you need, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see how we can Work 4 You.
Testing, both free and paid, is available in the D.C. area. Many walk-up and drive-up sites don't require an appointment, but some places require you to call ahead. It's a good idea to consult with your local health department to decide if you need a test.
Rent Assistance Programs
Evictions and foreclosures have been suspended as thousands are out of work during the pandemic. But tenants will still have to pay the full amount of rent owed once the pandemic is over.
Several cities and counties have set up rental assistance programs or have other forms of assistance during this time.
Arlington County, Virginia, has a public assistance program in which people can apply for emergency help with rent, utilities and other basic needs. Check here for more information.
In D.C., tenants can apply here for help with rent that is past due.
Low-income families in Fairfax County, Virginia, can seek rent help here.
Loudoun County, Virginia, established a rental assistance program for low-income households economically impacted by the pandemic. Once an application is approved, the county will pay up to three months of the tenant's rent.
Officials say it could take time getting assistance as the county fields a high volume of calls. See here for more information.
Montgomery County, Maryland, has an emergency eviction prevention program. See here for information.
The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington is offering interest-free loans of up to $1,500 to those in the Jewish community.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia have each made it easier to get unemployment benefits. Tens of thousands of people have already applied.
Virginia’s chief workforce development advisor, Megan Healy, encouraged residents to apply if there’s a chance they could be eligible. If you're not eligible now, you could be eligible later.
“If you think at all that you can get unemployment, we want everyone to apply,” she said Friday. “The rules change daily, maybe hourly, of who can get unemployment insurance. So if you are denied, we’re going to keep that data. If the rules change from the [US] Department of Labor, we can go back and issue those checks.”
Free or Low-Cost Meals and Groceries
Food banks and food pantries across the D.C. area are helping people in need.
D.C. has launched 10 weekday grocery distribution sites at schools in partnership with Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen to help families access meals and other resources. The sites are available to all families and are open Monday through Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Check here for the schedule and locations.
The Capital Area Food Bank has food distribution partners at dozens of sites across the region. Their offerings include after-school meals for children, pop-up pantries and programs for seniors. See their website to learn more.
A number of individual restaurants also are providing meals. Chef José Andrés closed all his restaurants in the region and is offering “affordable” takeout meals during limited hours. The steak frites restaurants Medium Rare were delivering free meals to seniors who were confined to their homes. In Fairfax, 29 Diner had free meals for workers and students.
United Communities Against Poverty, Inc. is offering food assistance for Prince George’s County residents. The United Way of the National Capital Area can help connect you to resources in your area. Call 2-1-1 or click here.
Meals for Children
Many schools have meal pickup options for students. D.C. public schools have meals available for all youth every weekday during the period of remote learning, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fairfax County Public Schools have grab-and-go food distribution sites at more than a dozen locations. Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and lunch is available from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Prince George’s County Public Schools are offering free breakfast, lunch and dinner at multiple schools in the county. Students can pick up all three meals at once from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
Prince William County also has grab-and-go meal options from 9 to 10 a.m. throughout the week.
If your school district is not listed here, check the district's website.
Home-Schooling and Distance Learning
Individual school districts, schools and teachers are providing guidance on how learning can continue even though students are home.
If you're looking for more, the Smithsonian museums have free distance-learning resources for parents and teachers to use with students.
The online library offers everything from a virtual design camp to lessons about geography and music. There are structured lessons as well as photos, videos, audio clips and more.
There are also countless virtual exhibits available to browse. Libraries have e-books to borrow as well as online classes to take. For a list of more virtual exhibits and library resources, go here.
Service Industry Worker Support
The government response to coronavirus has put many service industry employees out of work.
To give out-of-work service industry workers a boost, a virtual tip jar began circulating on social media. More than 1,000 employees across the D.C. area are listed and open to receiving digital payments.
One Fair Wage’s Emergency Fund is providing financial assistance to service workers out of a job. The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation is also accepting donations for restaurant workers, restaurants and groups that help restaurants.
The Georgetown BID is partnering with Halcyon, a nonprofit organization, to launch a donation campaign to further fund the Georgetown BID Employee Emergency Relief Grant. The Georgetown BID began accepting grant applications on April 9, funding the first $150,000 for employees who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus crisis and need money to pay for rent, food, medical bills, or other emergency costs because they have few other options. To learn more about the Employee Relief Grant, visit here. To donate, visit here.
The bar Hook Hall in Northwest D,C. has provided restaurant and bar workers with free meals and other resources, including toilet paper. The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington partnered with Hook Hall and is accepting donations to support their initiative.
Bigger picture: The governments of D.C., Maryland and Virginia have all made it easier to get unemployment benefits.
Small Business Owner Support
Several loans and grants are available to help small business owners hit hard by the virus. D.C. has $25 million in grants available to business owners, nonprofits and people who are self-employed.
Additionally, businesses have longer to file taxes.
Free Pet Food
The Humane Rescue Alliance of Washington, D.C, has a Pet Pantry available to anyone that needs food for their animals. You can pick up food at various locations across the city on the first and third Sundays, second Tuesday, third Friday and last Friday of the month.
Willard West contributed to this report.