by Pittsburgh news partners || Updated May 28
It’s hard to overstate the impacts of the novel coronavirus on American life. Lots of people are hurting. Lots of people need help. But it’s often hard to know just where to find that help — or even what’s available.
So, after listing ways you can help others during the pandemic, we decided to compile this guide to finding help for yourself.
This article will be updated.
- Apply to The Emergency Food Assistance Program if you’re out of work or have lost hours or income due to the pandemic.
- Pick up free prepared meals every day from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fishes and Loaves Cooperative Ministries (131 E. Elizabeth Street).
- Get grab-and-go meals for school kids at multiple city recreation centers and Salvation Army sites around Pittsburgh.
- The Warren Bar and Burrow and Penn Cove Eatery Downtown are offering meals to service industry workers who’ve lost work due to coronavirus.
- Need formula and food for your family? The Urban League of Pittsburgh can help. Call 886-395-3663.
- Pregnant women, dependent children and caregivers can get help through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
- Seniors registered with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging program can get free take-out meals at one of six City Healthy Active Living (Senior) Centers between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- A map of free food distribution sites across Allegheny County is now available. Many of the sites have eligibility requirements, so call ahead to confirm you’re eligible.
- Call the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania at 2-1-1 for help finding food, housing or financial assistance.
- Need help accessing essential resources like food, medical supplies, baby supplies, and more? The Community Delivery Hotline of Allegheny County is there to help bridge the transportation gap.
- The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s Resource Center remains open in a remote capacity, offering emergency and empowerment grants and critical services. They’ve teamed with United Way, Allegheny County and local food pantries to fill the need for emergency food deliveries to homebound people.
- Benefits Data Trust has created a free hotline (844-876-5996) to help residents of Armstrong, Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland and Washington counties receive one-on-one support and submit applications for eight public benefits, such as SNAP, PACE and Medicaid.
- Students who need to move due to outbreak precautions can get 30 days of free storage from U-Haul.
- The Urban Redevelopment Authority Housing Opportunity Fund is offering help to those struggling with rent payments due to COVID-19-related losses in work and wages.
- Know your rights. Eviction proceedings have been temporarily halted. Also, shutoffs of utilities like gas, water and electric have been halted until further notice.
- Allegheny County Housing Authority says it’s working with residents who may have their working hours reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- One-time assistance grants of up to $500 are available through the Dollar Energy Fund, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that provides utility assistance to limited-income households. Call 1-800-683-7036 for more info. Utility shutoffs aren’t allowed during the pandemic, but Dollar Energy Fund suggests reaching out now if you find yourself falling behind.
Financial assistance for workers and creatives
- If you lose your job because of coronavirus, you may be eligible for unemployment.
- Apply for interest-free Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loans of up to $5,000. Loans must be cosigned.
- A $2 trillion federal stimulus package includes checks of $1,200 for many single Americans, $2,400 for many married couples, and an additional $500 to parents for each child under the age of 17. Check amounts depend on your income and likely won’t arrive before May.
- The Emergency Fund for Artists provides up to $500 in assistance to western Pennsylvania artists experiencing a loss of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Pittsburgh’s Financial Empowerment Center is offering free financial counseling remotely. Call 1-800-298-0237 to schedule a session.
- If you’re a western Pennsylvania journalist whose income has been impacted by the crisis, apply to the Western Pa. Journalist Emergency Relief Fund by May 17.
Business and career resources
- Low-interest loans are available to small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.
- Relief loans of up to $50,000 are available through local crowdfunding investor platform Honeycomb Credit.
- The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is halting all loan payments for URA small business borrowers for the month of April. The URA is also offering Emergency Extended Credit to existing borrowers.
- Attention everyone else: The URA is also streamlining its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program to offer 0% loans for up to 30 small businesses that are not currently URA borrowers.
- Financing is available to small Pennsylvania businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak via the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
- Businesses and nonprofits who need help covering payroll costs can apply now for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Self-employed and independent contractors can apply starting April 10.
- For small to midsize nonprofits, tHRive is offering HR-related services and information sharing, including weekly webinars covering everything from handling layoffs and paid leaves of absence to navigating the new regulations and benefits. Webinars will be recorded and available for viewing.
- Access resources and promotional assistance through the new Allegheny Together Open for Business Map and Economic Impact Survey.
- Small, Black Led Organizations (BLOs) can apply for operating support through the POISE Foundation’s Critical Community Needs Fund.
- Facebook is awarding $175,000 to help 44 small businesses in Allegheny County affected by COVID-19. Applications are open until May 7.
- Google has a new free online digital skills training platform for jobseekers and small business owners.
- Pennsylvania Women Work’s New Choices program is offering free virtual skill-building classes open to all job seekers. Sessions will cover resume writing, practicing online interviews, job applications, current job opportunities, and stress management.
- Here’s guidance on when and how to get tested for COVID-19.
- Here’s a list of testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.
- Visit UPMC, AHN and Central Outreach Wellness Center for more information on their testing sites and policies.
- For people in recovery: Alcoholics Anonymous is offering virtual meetings online. Narcotics Anonymous is doing the same. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hotline — 1-800-662-HELP (4357) — for anyone who needs it. Pennsylvania has a number of hotline options as well.
- One-on-one counseling, group therapy, and various online services with licensed professionals are available virtually to those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders.
- Pittsburgh’s Steel Smiling organization has launched a free virtual mental health program for those in need.
- Frontline workers can find mental health support for COVID-19 with this listing of local therapists offering free appointments. Providers can email to have their name added to list.
- If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, there are resources to help, such as resolve Crisis Services and the Peer Support & Advocacy Network. Pennsylvania also has a new coronavirus-inspired helpline at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.
- If you’re a frontline worker who needs personal protective gear — or if you’re someone with protective gear to donate — contact PPE Connect PGH.
- Trans and queer Pittsburghers who need help finding face masks and other resources can connect to them through the Pgh MasQUe ProjecT.
Support for families
- If you’re an essential worker in need of child care, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has a tool to help you find it.
- Local health care workers needing child care, tutoring, and pet-sitting can find it through COVIDsitters.
- To minimize the impact of the “COVID slide,” which experts predict may result in up to a year of learning loss for students, Carnegie Learning has created free at-home learning resources, lessons and videos that are available for the rest of the school year for teachers and students (grades 6-12) as well as for families.
- Need help with everyday expenses? The Pandemic of Love organization can match you with a local volunteer able to bridge the gap.
- Parents can find coping mechanisms and community through The Ellis School’s free virtual webinar series. Pandemic Parenting: Navigating Your New Normal features three free mini-sessions with a focus on belonging, mindfulness, and remote learning.
- Hello Bully, a nonprofit Pit Bull rescue, has a month’s supply of food (enough for 20 dogs and 20 cats) and is offering no-contact delivery to pet owners in need of help.
- Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country are available for free to all users.
- If you have coronavirus questions, the county has a hotline.
- Allegheny County is urging residents to join its electronic notification system for updates.
- Need help understanding all the medical terms you’re hearing and seeing? Let this handy glossary help.
- Find coronavirus information in different languages, via Casa San Jose and Jewish Community Center.
- Seniors who are feeling lonely and isolated can stay connected with weekly, confidential phone calls through the South Hills Interfaith Movement’s CheckMates program. Call 412-854-9120, ext. 116, to enroll or for more info.
- Seniors can connect with each other through The Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Virtual Senior Academy. Classes focus on health and wellness, technology, literature, arts and music, history and more.
The Incline, NEXTpittsburgh, Pittsburgh City Paper, Kidsburgh and PublicSource collaborated to build this resource.