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COVID-19 Community Resources

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting communities across the world, and is having disproportionate economic and health impacts for low income families, children and seniors in our community.

Our neighbors, family members and friends are facing growing financial hardships, food insecurity, housing instability, social isolation, and a critical need for healthcare access. Avenue is compiling a list of resources to support the immediate needs of our community members and neighbors. We have also included practical information and resources from trusted institutions so we can build sustainable practices to keep us safe, healthy and connected for the long haul.

This page is a living document; resources will be updated regularly with the most accurate information. We invite you to add to it by sending information here, and to share with your networks.

Last Updated 5/18/2021

- May 18, 2021: Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order 36 Prohibiting Government Entities From Mandating Masks

- March 2, 2021: Governor Abbott Lifts Mask Mandate , and increases capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent.  Texans are still encouraged to practice safety measures such as proper distancing and wearing a mask when necessary. As COVID-19 vaccinations become more available, Texans are encouraged to make arrangements to get vaccinated as soon as possible, more information on COVID-19 vaccinations can be found in the “COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination” tab below.

- July 2, 2020: Governor Abbott issued a mandate that all people must wear a face covering in public in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases. This includes Harris County.

- June 11, 2020: Harris County announced a new color-coded system to inform residents regarding the current level of risk from COVID-19 and actions they strongly urge residents take to stay healthy.

 

Current Level: Level 3: Stay Vigilant Unless Fully Vaccinated

What this means:

Level 3 signifies a moderate, but controlled level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning a FURTHER demonstrated reduction in transmission and the local healthcare system is WELL within capacity. Unvaccinated residents should remain vigilant, but resume contact with others and resume leaving home. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and physical distance. Fully vaccinated individuals may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

 

 

Important Websites

-Ready Harris

-Harris County Public Health

-City of Houston Emergency Operations 

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

-Coronavirus Live Local Updates - Houston Chronicle

General COVID-19 Information

Harris County COVID-19 Testing

Ready Harris COVID-19 Testing and Resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO) 

UnidosUS: Coronavirus Information in Spanish

 

COVID-19 Vaccination

As of Monday , March 29th ,2021 everyone age 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 Vaccine in Texas.

In November 2020, Governor Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) released guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine allocation. Per this plan, the first phase of distribution in Texas will be limited to healthcare workers and individuals on the frontlines. This includes those in hospital settings, long-term care staff, EMS providers, etc. 

Visit the Texas Department of State Health Services to understand the qualifications for each phase, and if you are eligible to get vaccinated now.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Registration and Waitlists

- City of Houston Emergency Operations Center has general information about the different waitlists available (Moderna/Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson), and links to register online for each one.

- Harris County Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist Registration Form provides a direct link to register for a COVID-19 vaccination. If you are not in the Phase 1A and 1B categories, you may register but will not be offered the ability to schedule an appointment until you are in a group that is authorized under the State of Texas guidelines.

HCPH Local COVID-19 Vaccine Providers lists out all vaccine hub providers and local vaccine providers in the Harris County.

*Residents without internet access can also call 832-927-8787 to be placed on the waitlist.

-Register for a COVID-19 Vaccine through local providers such as CVS , HEB , Randall’s , Walgreens , and Walmart. Registration may require creating an account with the local vaccine provider.

 

About COVID-19 Vaccines

On February 27 , 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The EUA allows the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.

As of December 17, 2020, two vaccines have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 16 years and older. This vaccines requires two doses given 21 days apart. Clinical trial data shows that the vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection starting seven days after the second dose. Individuals will not be considered fully protected until one to two weeks after they receive the second dose. Find more information on the CDC's website.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 18 years and older. This vaccine requires two doses given 28 days apart. Clinical trial data shows the vaccine is about 94 percent effective after the second dose. Find more information on the CDC's website.

Janssen ( Johnson & Johnson) vaccine:  This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in persons aged 18 years and older. This vaccine is administered as a single dose. The J&J vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated. Find more information on the CDC's website.

 

COVID-19 Testing

Who should get tested for COVID-19?

 

- People experiencing symptoms of COVID-19: Fever or chills, cough , difficulty breathing , fatigue , muscular or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell , sore throat , congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting , diarrhea.

- People who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.

- People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot socially distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings. 

*If you do get tested or take an at-home test because you have COVID-19 symptoms or have had a close contact with someone who has it, you should self-quarantine at home pending test results and follow the advice of your healthcare provider or a public health professional.

 

Difference between Rapid Test and PCR Test?

 

- A Rapid Test tells you if you have a current infection by detecting protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus.

- Rapid tests are considered most accurate in a patient who is having symptoms of COVID-19. While the rapid test can get you results very quickly, the results may not always be accurate. 

- A PCR Test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.

- Turnaround time is longer, generally in the 2-3 day range but results can be in as little as 24 hours. When demand is high, results can take a week or longer.

- Rapid Tests are recommended if you are experiencing symptoms, PCR tests are recommended if you think you have been exposed or in contact with someone who was exposed.

 

What to do if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19?

 

- Stay home except to get medical care.

- Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Separate yourself from other people, tell your close contacts that you have been exposed. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relief symptoms. Monitor symptoms, track whether symptoms are improving or worsening. Make use of delivery or curbside services to purchase essentials.

- Know when to seek emergency medical attention. Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:  Trouble breathing , Persistent pain or pressure in the chest , New confusion , Inability to wake or stay awake , Bluish lips or face 

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19. 

 

Extra COVID-19 Resources

 

Legacy Community Health 

-COVID-19 Testing Now Available at ALL Legacy Community Health Clinics.

-Patient screeners have been placed at the entrance of all Legacy clinics. Please call (832) 548-5226 first with any questions before arriving. 

 

Harris County Public Health 

- Free COVID-19 Testing with HCPH

-Use the online self-assessment tool to see if you need further assessment or need to be tested for COVID-19.

-The testing site will only accept people with a unique identification code obtained through the screening process.

-832-927-7575 *This number is 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., everyday.

 

City of Houston Health Department 

- 832-393-4220 *This number is staffed 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. M-F; 9 a.m - 3 p.m. on Sat. 

- You may call the Houston Health Department COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 to be screened for the community based testing sites. 

 

Houston Health Department  

-Resources regarding COVID-19 testing sites  

-Several informative social media campaigns regarding COVID19 in multiple languages including Spanish, Chinese , Vietnamese, and Arabic.

Note: If you do not have a health care provider, health insurance, or cannot get to a doctor, contact the Harris Health System (713) 634-1110 if you are sick. If you do have a doctor or have access to a healthcare provider, please do not use this number. 

 

 

 

Unemployment Assistance

 

-Apply for Unemployment through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) website as soon as possible if you have lost your job or had your hours cut back. Effective immediately, TWC asks that Texans use their area code to find their proposed call and access times listed below. Click here for the chart.

Help for Small Businesses

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
-Provides non-profit and for-profit borrowers with up to $2 million over a 30-year term at 2.75% to 3.75% interest.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance
-Provides borrowers with a loan advance of up to $10,000 for those applying for an EIDL program loan.

 

Stimulus Checks - Economic Impact Payments from IRS

 

Click here to check the status of the Third Stimulus Check.

-On  March 17th 2021 , the IRS issued a third round of stimulus checks. In general , most people will receive $1,400 for themselves and $1,400 for each of their qualifying dependents claimed on their tax returns. Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of March 17.

-On February 5th 2021, Senate approved the budget for a new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Package. The package would include a stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person -- and possibly dependents as well, hoping to be finalized by March 14th.

-In December of 2020, the IRS issued a second round of stimulus checks per a new COVID19 relief bill which will provide $600 for Individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually and $1200 for married couples and $600 per each child under 17. Payments were issued automatically either by direct deposit or mailed checks depending on how the taxpayer received their 2019 tax return.

-In April of 2020, the IRS issued a first round of stimulus checks per the CARES Act which will provide $1200 for Individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually and $2400 for married couples and $500 per each child under 17. Payments were issued automatically either by direct deposit or mailed checks depending on how the taxpayer received their 2019 tax return.

For information on the First and Second Stimulus Checks , view or create your online account and check your mail for IRS Notices 1444 and 1444-B.

 

Other Resources

 

-Greater Northside Management District COVID-19 Resource Guide - links to over 27 websites that provide business, employer and employee resources.

-Artist Relief Fund - Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19. Applications are now open for Cycle 1: April 8th - April 23rd (closing 11:59pm ET).

-Restaurant Employee Relief Fund - Each approved grant is $500, one per person only.

-Bartenders and family: Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (national)

-Food and Beverage Workers: Southern Smoke Foundation (local)

-AARP Social Security Resource Center - AARP Answers: Social Security and Coronavirus – the latest on monthly benefits and stimulus checks – 4/2/2020

-Social Security Administration - The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration issued a warning about a new Social Security benefit suspension scam related to COVID-19 office closures - 3/20/20

-National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) - Benefits Check Up allows you to enter in your zip code to identify benefit programs available.

  • Precinct 2 Meals for Seniors – Any Precinct 2 resident who is age 60 or older with limited resources and is unable to leave their home due to illness, disability, or lack of mobility could qualify. Seniors and caregivers of seniors who may qualify are encouraged to apply online.
    If you do not have internet access you can apply over the phone via the Precinct 2 Hotline (713-274-2222) which is active Monday – Friday from 8 am to 4:30.

 

 

 

  • Houston Parks and Recreation Curbside Meal ProgramMonday through Friday from 1 pm - 3 pm. For children ages 1 to 18 years old. Each child will receive one lunch and one snack. Only children who come to the site for pick-up can receive the lunch and snack. A parent can’t take food for a child that is not present at the time of pick-up.

 

 

 

  • HEB and Favor Senior Support Line – Seniors aged 60 and older will be able to select items from a curated list of generic products (such as milk, eggs, and bread), as well as add custom items to their order. There is currently a 25-item limit per order. The Senior Support Line will be staffed with volunteers to accept and process orders over the phone from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week. To access the Senior Support Line, call 1-833-397-0080.

General COVID-19 Information

 

COVID-19 Testing

  • Legacy Community Health
    • COVID-19 Testing Now Available at ALL Legacy Community Health Clinics
    • Patient screeners have been placed at the entrance of all Legacy clinics. Please call (832) 548-5226 first with any questions before arriving.

 

  • Harris County Public Health
    • Use the online self-assessment tool to see if you need further assessment or need to be tested for COVID19
    • The testing site will only accept people with a unique identification code obtained through the screening process
    • 832-927-7575 *This number is 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., everyday

 

  • City of Houston Health Department
    • 832-393-4220 *This number is staffed 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. M-F; 9 a.m - 3 p.m. on Sat.
    • You may call the Houston Health Department COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 to be screened for the community based testing sites.

 

Note: If you do not have a health care provider, health insurance, or cannot get to a doctor, contact the Harris Health System (713) 634-1110 if you are sick. If you do have a doctor or have access to a healthcare provider, please do not use this number.

 

Mental Health Resources

  • SAHMSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
    -Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Helpline services are also available in Spanish and for the deaf and hard of hearing.

 

 

 

Rent and Utility Assistance

The City of Houston will not disconnect water service for nonpayment during the COVID-19 emergency.

CenterPoint Energy has temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections due to nonpayment. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and T-Mobile are postponing service termination for customers who cannot pay their bills.

Public Utility Commission of Texas
Electricity Relief Program or call (866) 454-8387
Water and Sewer Utilities

BakerRipley
Utility Assistance Hotline 713-590-2327 (utility assistance only)

City of Houston W.A.T.E.R. Fund
713-371-1400 (water bills only)

Gulf Coast Community Services
713-393-4700 (rent or electric)

 

Evictions

Federal Eviction Moratoriums

The CARES Act provides a temporary moratorium on evictions for most residents of federally subsidized apartments, as well a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by federally-backed (FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac) mortgages for 120 days, or July 20th at the earliest.

Rent Payment Plan – If you are behind on rent, you may consider creating a payment plan with your landlord.

 

Mortgage Payments

-For homeowners with federally backed mortgages, the CARES Act provides two protections:

  1. A foreclosure moratorium
  2. A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency

-If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state. Click here to find out who owns or services your mortgage.

-Forbearance information and other Homeowner Resources from Avenue's HUD-certified counselor: Blog and video

Financial Resources

 

 

Legal Resources

 

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative

Immigrant Rights Hotline: 1-833-hou-immi (468-4664) – Callers can get assistance Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
-General questions about current immigration laws, rules, and regulations
-Rights immigrants have regarding their legal status and immigration enforcement
-Finding immigration legal services from a non-profit organization or attorney
-Reporting ICE enforcement activities
-Locating and getting legal assistance for people who have been detained
-Reports of hate incidents or discrimination

Deportation Defense Houston – Provides free representation to detained adults in Houston area ICE facilities

 

Public Charge

 

-On March 13, USCIS announced that testing, prevention, or treatment for COVID-19, also called Coronavirus, would NOT be used against immigrants in a public charge test. This means that immigrant families should seek the care they need during this difficult time.

-Public Charge Resources: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/

INTERNET

-Comcast Internet Essentials: free for 60 days for new customers
-Free Xfinity WiFi For EveryoneXfinity WiFi hotspots located in businesses and outdoor locations across the country are available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity internet subscribers.

TECHNOLOGY
-CompUDopt Computer Lottery
-Requirements for Registration
-Have a student in k-12th grade enrolled in a school in harris county.
-Not have access to a working device at home (tablet, desktop or laptop)

LEARNING ACTIVITIES

- HISD at Home
- Houston Public Library
- Zero to Three At Home Activity Guide
- Khan Academy
- Math Playground
- Scholastic: Learn At Home
- Crash Course
- ABCMouse
- ReadyRosie
- We are Teachers.Com
- NASA Kids Club
- Smithsonian Kids
- Walt Disney World Virtual Tour- 360 Degree Panoramic Virtual Tours of Several Disney - Attractions like Epcot, The Magic Kingdom, The Animal Kingdom, and Many More!
- LegoLand Florida Virtual Tour
- SeaWorld Orlando Virtual Tour
- How-To: Make a no-sew mask

HEALTH and FITNESS

-YMCA Online :  Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Cycle, Weight lifting, activities for older adults, activities for kids, and more!
-Headspace:  Meditation
-Fitness Blender:  Kids Workout
-Go Noodle:  Fitness videos, dance videos, and more!
Girls Empowerment Networks:
-Virtual Check-ins for girls: Every Monday @ 4:00 PM
-Parent Guardian Workshops: Every other Wednesday @5:30 PM
-Virtual Girl Connect: We are transitioning our face to face groups to virtual groups
-Virtual Activities: We have some of our most popular activities ready to be downloaded!