Natalie Colarossi

[email protected]

The coronavirus pandemic has skyrocketed unemployment in New York City, and the expiration of the $600-a-week CARES Act has left many feeling strapped for assistance. 

While Congress remains in a standstill on relief program negotiations, President Trump signed an executive order offering a reduced rate of $400 per week for unemployment benefits – but the legality of this order is still being assessed. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a list of resources below to help aid New Yorkers struggling with unemployment in these precarious times. 

Extended Unemployment Insurance:

New Yorkers collecting traditional unemployment insurance may extend their benefits past the initial 26 weeks that were allocated to them. As of July, if you have exhausted all 26 weeks of your benefits, you can apply for an additional 20 weeks of coverage. 

To apply, visit the NY Department of Labor website or call 888- 209-8124.

Homelessness Prevention / Resources against eviction: 

The New York City Department of Homeless services offers a program called Homebase, dedicated to working with individuals who are facing eviction and homelessness to develop a personalized plan to achieve housing stability. Homebase services are currently available for free over the phone, and a representative will collect information and assess your eligibility for the program. If eligible, Homebase staff will provide you with resources to prevent eviction, collect public services, offer emergency rental assistance, or help with financial counseling. 

For a list of phone numbers for Homebase resources in Brooklyn, click here.

For a list of homeless shelters in New York City, click here.

Additionally, Gov. Cuomo mandated an executive order allowing housing courts to pause eviction action through September 4, the Bushwick Daily reported. Furthermore, it is illegal for landlords to shut off your utilities, change your locks, or physically remove you from your building without a court order of eviction

Food Insecurity: 

New York City public schools are offering free food for children and adults Monday through Friday at 400 Grab and Go centers across New York from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

To find a school near you offering free food, text: 

– “NYC FOOD” to 877-877

–  or “NYC COMIDA” to 877-877 for Spanish

Additionally, for a list of Active Food Pantries and Community Kitchens, click here. For senior residents seeking safe food options these resources are available for home-delivered meals: 

For seniors ages 60+ NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) provides home-delivered meals.

Call 212-244-6469 to get direct delivery.

Health Insurance:

Uninsured New Yorkers can receive help enrolling in a free or low-cost health insurance plan through August 15th. For assistance, contact GetCoveredNYC, or call 311 for help. 

New York City offers health insurance to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. For more resources and information, visit the city’s website.

Mental Health Services: 

For free mental health services, you can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors which provides services and referrals in over 200 languages. Additionally, Thrive NYC offers a list of programs and resources available to help New Yorkers in need of mental health counseling.

Student Loan Deferment: 

As part of the CARES Act, federal student loans can be deferred until September 30th. Additionally, those who wish to continue payments can do so with a 0% interest rate. For more information on how this might affect you, click here.

Cash Assistance:

The Temporary Aid for Needy Families program and Safety Net Assistance Program provide emergency cash assistance to families and needy individuals in need of cash relief for up to 60 months. Examples of eligibility for cash assistance includes homelessness, emergency payments for utilities, domestic violence, or food insecurity. For more information, click here.

Resources for Artists and Freelancers: 

The Bushwick Daily has previously published a list of resources for artists and freelancers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes information on emergency funding, employment resources, medical resources, and free learning opportunities among others. For the full list of resources, click here.