COVID-19 Community Resources

Last updated: 6/18/2020 at 1:10 pm

If you are facing financial strain or hardships due to COVID-19, the following resources are available to help. Click below to jump to a section on this page:

Inslee extends 23 proclamations relating to COVID-19

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extension of 23 proclamations today in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The extensions were approved by the state Legislature. Read the details on governor.wa.gov

How you can help support your local businesses

Many of our local Pierce County businesses are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out Bankrate’s guide to learn more about how you can help your local small businesses.

Unemployment Benefits & Leave

Unemployment

Changes to increase access to unemployment benefits

Given the current public health crisis and the temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses across our state, the Economic Security Department made changes to increase access to unemployment benefits, including the following.

  • If you are laid off work as a result of the governor’s stay home order issued on March 23, you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • Work search requirements are optional for all claimants until further notice.
  • You can request standby status for up to 12 weeks.
  • The one-week waiting period to be eligible for unemployment benefits is waived.

This video update from the WA Employment Security Department addresses concerns and new information regarding employees on standby, “waiting week”, and gig workers.

How do I set up a SAW account?

Due to high demand for Unemployment Insurance (UI) services, the ESD has provided a new option for customers to get help with setting up a SAW account.

Hour-long webinars will be held on a regular basis to walk residents through creating a SAW account, filing claims, and accessing services. For more details, visit the ESD’s webinar info page.

How do I know if I am eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

The following resources are available to help workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic in determining whether or not they should apply for unemployment benefits

Job Search Suspension: Governor Inslee, with support from the Legislature, has extended the suspension of job search requirements through July 1. View the letter from Legislation.  Read the update from ESD for more information

ESD’s Unemployment Insurance Webinar: Employment Security is hosting daily webinars for UI customers this week. The webinars are designed to assist those that meet the requirements of regular unemployment, as well as those customers that have less than 680 hours of work and those customers that are self-employed/independent contractors/gig economy workers. These webinars will include step by step guidance on how to file a regular UI claim as well as how to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.  Sign up for a webinar here

Unemployment Benefits Application Checklist: Use this checklist from Washington State ESD to see if you may qualify for unemployment benefits, and what you need to apply. Download the checklist here

Paid Leave

FAQ on Paid Leave For information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects Paid leave on wages and hours worked and job-protected leave:

Questions About Workers’ Compensation Coverage and  COVID-19 L&I encourages employers to provide flexible paid sick leave policies that are consistent with state and local public health guidance and laws, and to make employees aware of those policies. Learn more here

Emergency Rules for Shared Work Programs During the Pandemic Learn more here

Financial Support

WorkSource List of Critical Job Opportunities Due to Covid-19 A list of job opportunities within critical sectors (as defined by the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order). Find information about companies hiring amidst the COVID-19 outbreak here

GoodWill’s Hot Jobs newsletter When you sign up for Goodwill’s Hot Jobs newsletter, you’ll receive a weekly email with a list of current job openings, interview and search tips and more. Sign up here

COVID-19 Resources for People With IDD, Families, and Care Providers A compiled list of official and informal resources for news and information on COVID-19, Services, Education, Health Care, Financial Resources, Activities for School Age Children, Support for Families, and Social Outlets. This list is being updated daily, and can be found here

Financial Counseling

Sound Outreach: Financial Counseling from Sound Outreach available digitally Monday through Friday. Learn more on soundoutreach.org

Pierce County Library System:  COVID-19 online resources. Learn more at piercecountylibrary.org

Meet with a Financial Counselor Over the Phone for Free Call 1 (800) 388-2227 to talk with an NFCC Certified Financial Counselor or fill out the form on their website to be contacted by a counselor by phone or email.

Relief Funds

Relief for undocumented individuals: A COVID-19 relief fund has been established for undocumented individuals living in Washington state. Learn more here

IRS Tax Relief Updates The IRS is offering tax help for taxpayers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations and others – including health plans – affected by COVID-19. Access their information here

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund supplies grants to be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria. Learn more here

COVID-19 Prevention and Response for Homeless Providers A comprehensive list of new and existing resources from HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) and their federal, state, and local partners. SNAPS will share daily updates highlighting new COVID-19 prevention and response resources targeted to homeless providers. Find the list here

Mortgage & Renting Assistance

Fannie Mae: Information and assistance on mortgages. Learn more at fanniemae.com

Pierce County Energy Assistance Program: This program pays heating bills directly to utility companies for eligible applicants. Find out if you are eligible at by visiting piercecountywa.gov

Statewide moratorium on evictions: On February 29, Governor Inslee announced a statewide moratorium on the evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days.

Mortgage Assistance Programs by Mortgage Type Resource from the WA State department of Financial Institution to provide mortgage assistance and prevent foreclosures. Learn more on dfi.wa.gov/homeownership

Insurance

Open enrollment periods for insurance: Special enrollment periods have been opened during the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington State Insurance Commissioner: Resources and information regarding different types of insurances, and the COVID-19 impact. Learn more here

Community Healthcare Insurance Navigator: Get help with insurance or finding insurance.  Contact (253) 722-2154

Bills & Coverage

Peninsula Light Energy Assistance Program: Help for income-qualifying families and provisions of up to $200 of support each year. Learn more at penlight.org

Pierce County Energy Assistance Program: This program pays heating bills directly to utility companies for eligible applicants. Find out if you are eligible at by visiting piercecountywa.gov

Puget Sound Energy COVID-19 Pandemic Assistance Fund: The Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program (CACAP) has been created for customers who have had their household income significantly reduced after March 1, 2020. This $11 million fund provides a one-time bill credit equal to the cost of the energy your home used from March to August 2019 (up to $1,000). You can apply for CACAP while funds are available. Learn more on their FAQ page.

  • This program has been recently updated to expand the amount of funds available, and the household income limit for application has been raised. Please check pse.com/covidhelp to see if you now qualify for assistance

Assistance with Medical Bills. Several major hospitals have made provisions for financial assistance at their facilities, including the following:

Lifeline discounts on phone and internet services: Some WA state cell phone carriers provide Lifeline services to eligible clients, which will allow them a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband internet access services, or voice-broadband bundled service from participating providers. Learn more about the program here

Tool for finding internet and computer deals in your ZIP code: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple Internet Service Providers have made updates to their low-cost internet service programs to ensure individuals and families stay connected to the internet during this challenging time. Use this tool to find low-cost service options at everyoneon.org/find-offers

Free wifi access: WorkForce Central has compiled this map of free public wifi sources within Pierce County. Please note that these networks are held by different organizations, and therefore have varying levels of security. Use at your own risk.

Mental Health Helplines

  • Disaster Distress Helpline-(800) 985-5990
  • Pierce County Crisis Line 24/7-(800) 576-7764.
  • Crisis Text Line: 741741 (mobile fees waived)

Education & Childcare

GED & Higher Ed

Adult High School Completion: The adult high school completion and GED programs let you use your work and life experience toward getting your high school diploma. Learn more

Official Online GED preparation courses Official GED prep courses that can be accessed online, from your home. Please note that this service is not free, but may be a useful alternative to canceled courses. Access these courses here on ged.com

Volunteering Connections: Find volunteering and activities to help during the COVID-19 outbreak on United Way of Pierce County’s website here

College & Career Compass WA: Website for understanding and assisting with applications for higher education. Learn more at compass.wsac.wa.gov

K12

Educational resources to help students at home: Tacoma Public Schools provides these supplemental materials to help students practice their skills and learn independently during school closures. Learn more here

Pierce County Library System: Pierce County Library System’s list of online learning resources available during school closures.

Washington State Library List of Resources for Homeschooling, Workers-At-Home, and Career Builders The Washington State Library staff have provided this extensive list of learning and entertainment resources for home-schoolers, workers-at-home, and more during the COVID-19 outbreak. Find the list at sos.wa.gov/library/livingwell/covid19.aspx

Child Care Finder: Child Care Aware WA is providing a toll-free hotline for families facing closures of schools and child care facilities due to COVID-19. Call at 1-800-466-1114 or visit their site childcareawarewa.org/families for assistance.

i-Ready Family Center: Provides activity packets and guidance for children during the extended school closure. Access them at i-readycentral.com/familycenter

Special Minds: Support for students with special needs. Learn more at specialminded.com

Pacific Science Center Curiosity at Home: Ignite your curiosity at home with streaming live science shows, hands-on STEM activities, tutorials, interviews, and more. These educational activities and resources are for all ages of learners and are meant to inspire and excite all people about science. Learn more at pacificsciencecenter.org

Resource Finder for Children & Teen services: Graduate Tacoma’s interactive resource finder including free meals, school supplies, and activities for children & teens. Learn more at tacomalearns.org

CPTC’s list of virtual activities: Clover Park Technical College has put together this list of engaging activities you can access from your home, including arts, fitness, and sight seeing activities. Find the list at cptc.edu/virtual-activities

Food & Supplies

Transportation to Outings

Transportation to essential outings: Beyond the Borders transportation service helps eligible riders in east and south Pierce County, who are outside of the Pierce Transit service area, access public transit, medical services, employment and shopping. Learn more at pierce.wa.us

Emergency Lyft Rides through Tacoma Urban League: The Tacoma Urban League is partnering with Lyft to help residents pick-up groceries, get to medical appointments,  or ride to an essential work site. One-time or longer term rides are available, learn more at thetacomaurbanleague.org

Pierce Transit personal rides for Essential Workers: Essential workers who can’t get to/from their jobsites because of reduced bus services are eligible to request special services from Pierce Transit. Learn more at piercetransit.org/news

Food

TMAC Food and supplies delivery for COVID-19 at-risk populations: Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective is providing free delivery of food and supplies for those who are sick, quarantined, immuno-compromised, or elderly. Sign up here

Food Pantries: Find the locations of food pantries across Pierce County. Provided by Emergency Food Network.

Free breakfast & lunch programs for students: The following school districts have arranged free breakfast and lunch for students affected by school closures.

Click here for an interactive map of all pickup locations, or select your district below: