COVID-19 Massachusetts Resources
Resources for guests, partners*, and the public. Page will be continually updated.
- Women can call Rosie’s Place Advocacy Helpline at 617.318.0237.
- For general help, call 2-1-1 or use the HelpSteps app or at helpsteps.com.
- Boston residents can call 3-1-1.
- Sign-up to receive MA COVID text updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777.
- For emotional support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
Your Health & COVID-19
DO NOT avoid testing or treatment for lack of coverage! Find a test site near you!
- DON’T wait for medical help. Call your provider or Boston Health Line at 617.534.5050!
- For MassHealth Assistance, call 800.841.2900 (TTY 800.497.4648), or apply online.
General COVID-19 information
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
- City of Boston
- Find a test site near you
- Find information about COVID-19 in over 30 languages!
- All medical providers including dentists and eye doctors with distancing
- Child care programs with restrictions
- Retail with distancing
- Food stores with distancing
- Most businesses such as museums, banks, and gyms, with distancing
- Each school district is creating their own plans
Information may change often. Please check back.
Resources in alphabetical order:
Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF)
Boston community centers have reopened with safety guidelines and are still offering programs and classes, and meal pick-up sites. Click here for updates.
Education From Home
- Audible offers free videos and stories for kids.
- Boston Children’s Museum has free online learning resources.
- Boston Public Library offers many online education events.
Boston Public Library offers online resources on topics for all ages.
- Khan Academy offers free learning resources for parents.
- Massachusetts libraries have ebooks, audiobooks, and other resources. Boston Public Library has online resources on topics for all ages.
- Learning Keeps Going offers a comprehensive list of educational tools for all ages.
- Mass Department of Education has free online educational resources for parents and students.
- Parents Helping Parents of MA offers online groups for parents seeking support.
- WGBH offers resources for students, educators, families and more.
For Children with Special Needs
- Boston University offers materials for deaf kids, teachers, parents, and students.
- Mass Advocates For Children offers help for children with IEP and disabilities, call at 617.357.8431 ext. 3224 (English) or 617.357.8431 ext. 3237 (Espanol).
- The Cotting School offers resources for students with special needs.
- For learners with autism: Sight Words | Sequences for Autism | See. Touch. Learn | Supporting Individuals with Autism toolkit from UNC
- For learners with dyslexia: Sound Literacy | Dyslexia Quest | Happy Math Multiplication Rhymes
- For learners with writing difficulties: The Writing Machine | iWrite Words | Letter School
- Boston Public Library can provide you with remote or curbside services
- Most municipal libraries have closed or modified services. Click here for an updated list of library closings and service changes.
- Massachusetts Libraries have many e-books, audiobooks, and other resources available online. Click here for more information.
Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, & other activities:
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater offers free online performances and classes.
- Google Arts & Culture offers virtual tours of several museums across the world.
- New England Aquarium offers educational animal videos and virtual visits.
- PBS Kids offers shows including Michelle Obama reading different children’s books.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA offers aquarium live streams.
- The National Aquarium, in Baltimore, MD offers aquarium live streams.
- The San Diego Zoo, CA offers live feeds and pre-recorded videos.
- The U.S. National Parks have set up free virtual ranger guided tours.
- With the re-start of school, districts across Massachuestts have different operations for each school. You can find updates from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, your city's school distrcit, and Boston Public Schools (for Boston residents).
- If your child requires a Chromebook or any other assistance for remote learning, immediately contact your school and school district. Boston parents can request assistance from Boston Public Schools.
Cash Assistance and DTA
Get cash assistance
Hotline: Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) can assist with questions about cash assistance (TAFDC and EAEDC), SNAP, or child care. Call 617.603.1806 and leave a message with your name and number.
Extra Unemployment Assistance: With the end of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the extra $600 form unemployment, some families previously ineligible may have become eligible for cash assistance. Re-apply!
DTA offices are closed to in-person visits.
Call the DTA Assistance Line at 877.382.2363 if you need help.
DTA stopped negative actions for TAFDC and EAEDC during the COVID-19 crisis. No one should be terminated or reduced for any reason - including sanctions, failure to verify information, reaching the time limit, etc.
Childcare and Schools
Child care centers can re-open. (Not all centers have reopened.) Call your local provider directly for their plans.
- Priority access to emergency childcare is given to vulnerable children and the children of families designated as “COVID-19 Essential Workforce.”
- Search for available FREE emergency childcare programs here.
- As the school year continues, many schools will have different operations. You can find updates from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, your city's school district, and Boston Public Schools (for Boston residents).
- Boston Public Schools are providing Chromebooks to students without a laptop.
- Boston area colleges have closed and are mostly transitioning to online education.
- As Massachusetts reopens our schools will have different operations. You can find updates from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Boston Public Schools.
- Call 911 if you are in danger right now.
- For support, connecting with an advocate, or finding a shelter bed, call SafeLink at 877.785.2020, Casa Myrna Vasquez at 800.992.2600, or see Jane Doe's list of Massachusetts domestic violence programs.
- Each court has a different process for handling restraining orders due to the pandemic. For help with a restraining order, call SafeLink at 877.785.2020 or the Rosie's Place Legal Program at 617.318.0271.
- Click here for additional information and legal resources for survivors.
Finances, Debt, and Taxes
Personal income taxes should have been filed by July 15, 2020.
Learn more about requesting an extension here or speak to a tax preparer.
People may try to steal your money and/or use your personal information to commit fraud. Click here for tips from the IRS on how to protect yourself.
Managing Finances During COVID-19
- Tell your financial institution (bank, creditor, student loan servicer) if you experience financial hardship and ask about options, like lower interest payments, changing the bill due date, temporary relief, etc.
- Be ready to talk about your situation. Write down a timeline, important dates, and what expenses you have.
- Find more resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and CNBC.
Student Loans and Debt Collection
- Click here for recent changes to student loans policies due to COVID-19.
- Contact the MA Attorney General Office Student Loan Assistance line at (888) 830-6277 for help with student loans and click here to learn more.
- Contact the MA Attorney General Office Consumer Advocacy & Response Division at (617) 727- 8400 for help with debt and consumer issues and click here to learn more.
Direct payments from the government
If you have no income and have not yet received pandemic stimulus, you must register by October 15 using the IRS non-filers tool.
- A federal stimulus to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic includes “economic impact payments,” or giving money directly to eligible people.
- Call the IRS at 800.919.9835 for questions about your eligibility and payment.
Food Assistance and School Meals
- Hotline: If you need help with finding food or applying for food assistance, call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline, 800.645.8333 (TTY 1.800.377.1292).
- Food pantries: use Greater Boston Food Bank’s search tool to find local programs.
- Food in Boston: the City of Boston has a list of food programs and a map of locations.
SNAP (Food Stamps)
For SNAP Applicants
- This short video highlights major SNAP changes and how to apply.
- Check your SNAP eligibility with this SNAP Screening Tool.
- To apply for SNAP, call the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at 877.382.2363, visit DTAConnect.com, or download the DTA Connect mobile app.
- A phone interview is required for all new SNAP applicants.
- New EBT cards will be received by mail only within 5-10 days. People experiencing homelessness can use a shelter address to receive their card.
- Extra Unemployment Assistance: With the end of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the extra $600 form unemployment, some families previously ineligible may have become eligible for cash assistance. Re-apply!
For Current SNAP Recipients
- No one receiving benefits will lose their benefits during this time.
- SNAP benefits below the maximum will receive a supplement up to the maximum.
- SNAP work requirement for adults without dependents has been suspended.
- Reminder: you can give permission for someone to friends, family, or trusted people to use your EBT card for you without paperwork.
EBT for School Children (Pandemic EBT/P-EBT)
- With the return of school some families may still receive an additional benefit per child in school in the form of a P-EBT card for purchases of additional food.
- For families with SNAP, P-EBT will be added directly to your family EBT card.
- For families without SNAP, you will receive a P-EBT card in the child’s name.
- If your child has not received their P-EBT card, contact DTA at 877.382.2363.
- Parents don’t need to do anything to receive their school children’s P-EBT benefits.
If you are struggling to use your card due to a PIN number, you can use DTA’s PIN help page or call DTA at 877.382.2363.
Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)
- As part of HIP, SNAP recipients get $1 for each $1 spent on eligible fruits and vegetables, up to a monthly limit, at participating farmers' markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
- Find a HIP vendor close to you. Not all vendors are operating, please verify their availability at the site of the site of your interest.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- WIC Programs are available by phone at 800.942.1007, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Apply for WIC online here.
- Find an online list of WIC vendors here and a map here.
- Download the WICShopper App for online tools and resources.
Health care and COVID-19 testing
IMPORTANT: COVID-19 testing and treatment DO NOT count as a public charge for immigrants.
- If you need COVID-19 testing, find a test site near you.
- Call your healthcare provider if you need medical assistance.
- If you are outside, keep a safe 6 foot distance and/or wear a mask.
- The YMCA offers free online classes for all.
- For emotional support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
- Boston Public Schools offer extra support for kids who may need it during this time.
- MA Department of Mental Health, the CDC, and Vital Village, offer many resources.
- Sesame Street and PositivePsychology offer additional resources and activities for children and teens.
- Find additional resources here.
- Health Insurance
Housing and Shelter
- Click here for a list of shelters for single individuals. Individual shelters may have changed capacity due to COVID-19.
- Click here for a list of shelters for families.
- Families can call 866.584.0653 to apply for DHCD family shelter. If you are denied family shelter, call Rosie’s Place Legal program at 617.318.0271.
- Click here for resources for people experiencing homelessness in Boston.
For families making under 80% Area Median Income (AMI) the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) can help you with eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies.
Apply for RAFT/ERMA online at Metro Housing Boston.
- Call Rosie’s Place Advocacy Helpline at 617.318.0237 for help and referrals.
- Call Boston’s Office of Housing Stability at 617.635.4200 for help with rental assistance and other housing needs in Boston.
- HousingWorks is a great tool to search for housing and find resources.
- If you are looking for shared housing during the pandemic HousingMatch can assist your search.
- If you have a housing voucher or live in public/subsidized housing, notify your property manager and/or housing authority about income changes as soon as possible. Keep pay stubs, layoff notices, bills, and other proofs for rent adjustments.
If you receive a “Notice to Quit” you do not have to leave your home by the date in the notice!! It just means that the process is started. You may be able to stop the process from going to court if you pay your rent when you receive this notice. If you cannot pay your rent, start looking for financial help immediately.Most all eviction cases that go to court will be handled “virtually,” which means you will be participating in the case through a video conference on your phone or computer (called a “Zoom hearing”) or if you cannot do a video on your phone or computer, you will participate by just calling on your phone like a regular phone call.
Beginning Saturday, October 17, 2020, MA landlords can start the eviction process of tenants who have not paid their rent. It is very important that you pay your rent. If you cannot pay your whole rent, talk with your landlord now to try and work something out.
A federal moratorium enacted by the CDC provides some protection for tenants after the Massachusetts protections end on October 17. This additional protection only lasts until December 31, 2020 and only applies to evictions where rent was not paid because of a COVID-19 related reason.
The federal moratorium only prevents a landlord from removing you from your home. Itdoes not stop them from bringing you to court. If your landlord brings you to court, make sure you participate. If you are eligible for this protection and the landlord wins the eviction case in court, they cannot move you out until after December 31, 2020.
Here is a video created by Greater Boston Legal Services that explains more about this protection. Part way through the video, there is a window that you can choose to hear the information in Spanish.
To get this federal protection, you must sign a “declaration” explaining:1) that you cannot pay your full rent due to a substantial loss of household income,2) you have done everything you can to apply for rental assistance,3) you have done everything you can to make partial payments, and4) that you will not make more than $99,000 in 2020.
You can use this online tool for help filling out this “declaration” andcreate this form with your specific information. You will then need to print the form and give it to your landlord as soon as possible.
If you cannot pay rent, we encourage you to apply for RAFT immediately.
If you do not participate, the court can decide to evict you without ever hearing your side. If you are having trouble figuring out how you can participate or contacting the court, call the Rosie’s Place Legal Helpline for assistance 617.318.0271.
- If you cannot do either, call the court where your case is right away to let them know so they can help you find another way to participate.
- If you need an interpreter, call the court right away to let them know to find someone to interpret for your court hearing.
Boston Housing Authority
- BHA is limiting in-person contact, but is available on-site and by phone at 617.988.4000.
- If you received a BHA voucher and need more time to look for an apartment, call the BHA Leased Housing Department at 617.988.4400.
- BHA has suspended all non-essential evictions until the end of 2020. If you cannot pay your rent, contact your property manager as soon as possible.
Metro Housing Boston (MHB)
- MHB’s office is closed, but staff are working remotely. Click here for more information about their services.
- Email housing questions to MHB at ResourceLine@metrohousingboston.org. If you have a voucher and need help, email Gateway@MetroHousingBoston.org.
- Rent assistance for RAFT/ERMA may be submitted online here.
Internet, Computers and Phone
Free and Low-Cost Internet & Computers
Comcast is offering 60 days of free WiFi for new Internet Essentials customers. After the promotion, regular rates apply.
EveryOne On offers an easy to search tool for free and low-cost computers/internet.
IMPORTANT: There is much confusion regarding who the “public charge rule” applies to. Massachusetts residents can learn more here, and speak with an immigration lawyer.Testing and treatment for COVID-19 will NOT count as a public charge.
- Women seeking immigration advice can call the Rosie’s Place Legal Program at 617.318.0271.
- Only a few U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices are open to the public. Click here for information and resources if you have a pending appointment.
- Immigrants without access to benefits can click here for help near you, click here, and call 211 to ask about the United Way’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund.
- The Mass. Law Reform Institute has a list of important immigration updates during COVID-19.
- Click here for resources from MIRA Coalition in multiple languages.
- Call the Trial Courts helpline for general questions about cases and navigating the court system at 833.912.6878 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm).
- Courts are open to the public, for limited purposes only!
- Call Rosie’s Place Legal Program at 617.318.0271 if you need help.
- Most eviction cases will not be heard until courts re-open, and our eviction moratorium ends, but some emergency situations may be heard before then. Click here to learn more.
- A new bill as of April 20 stops most eviction cases and sheriffs/constables enforcing executions (48 hour notice of move out).
Small Claims Court
Small claims cases have re-started but courts are deciding on their own usage of phone or video conferencing for remote hearings. If you have a case, contact your court.
- Playgrounds and Parks
*Si necesita ayuda para solicitar seguro de desempleo en español, visite la página web de asistencia en español del estado.
Call the MA Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division hotline at 617.727.3465 for help with unfair treatment at work. Note: All workers, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights in Massachusetts.
If you have been laid off, terminated, or given decreased hours, you may be eligible for unemployment assistance.
- Apply for Unemployment by calling at 617.626.6800 or 877.626.6800, or visiting this website. Click here for instructions on how to apply.
- If you need help, call Greater Boston Legal Services at 617.603.1530 (español) or 617.603.1639 (all other languages), or fill out this short form.
- To contact the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), call 877.626.6800 for assistance.
- Click here for help if you may be a victim of unemployment benefits fraud.
Changes to Unemployment due to COVID-19
- Some workers who were ineligible for regular unemployment, like gig workers and independent contractors, may now qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Click here to learn more.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), or the additional $600 pandemic assistance from unemployment, was not extended by Congress. You may have been eligible for additional assistance in Massachusetts, and if you have questions contact DUA at 877.626.6800.
Looking for Work
- Click here for a list of mutual aid networks, compiled by MA Jobs with Justice, from communities across Massachusetts offering all types of support and resources.
- Emergency relief funds for Massachusetts workers (from MA Jobs with Justice).
- Boston COVID-19 Community Care.
- Boston Youth Resources.
- Disaster and emergency relief resources from Philanthropy Massachusetts
- Union of Minority Neighborhoods runs a helpline, Mon-Fri 10am-3pm, for anyone in need of unemployment, food, housing, and utility assistance: 888.271.2298