04/2020 Dallas area info for Corona Virus times

These are extraordinary times. Please know the City of Dallas is deeply concerned about the impacts to residents, businesses and their employees. We are with you.

 Mayor Johnson’s disaster declaration is meant to protect life and property and preserve critical resources while a state of disaster is in effect.

 In this email, you will find a list of resources available as of today, April 3, regarding finances and COVID-19 topics such as unemployment, paying rent and mortgages, student loans, utilities, food assistance, resources for businesses and more. This will remain a living document and we will send you regular updates with new resources added. Grocery stores, pharmacies, daycare centers, banks, and hardware stores remain open. Restaurants may still operate takeout and delivery services.

 Please feel free to share this with your friends, family, coworkers, community, or anyone else who could use it. If you have additional information you wish to share with your neighbors and community, please do not hesitate to contact our office at ashley.long@dallascityhall.com.

Additionally, VisitDallas and Uptown Dallas have compiled a list to feature Dallas restaurants who are still operating and offering home delivery.

 Please promote #TakeOutTuesday in your neighborhoods and networks. Encourage people to order take out or delivery from local restaurants every Tuesday! Follow their Facebook @TakeOutTues

 We continue to provide information at the City’s dedicated COVID-19 website here. Dallas County also has valuable information here.

 There are two COVID-19 testing sites in Dallas open from 8am to 8 p.m. or when daily test kit availability runs out. Criteria for testing sites is as follows: shortness of breath, cough, must show a temperature of 99.6 or higher. The sites are located at: American Airlines Center, Parking Lot E, 2500 Victory Plaza and Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S Polk St.

 DFW COVID-19 Regional Summary Dashboard: A dashboard of total cases of COVID-19, new cases, deaths, and 311 COVID-19 calls can be viewed here.

Unemployment and Workers’ Comp

  • Anyone who has lost their job due to coronavirus or has had to take time off to self-quarantine or care for a sick relative (and does not get paid sick time from work) may apply for UNEMPLOYMENT insurance. Information on that can be found here. Per the Workforce Commission, “a delay in filing will not impact the benefits you receive, your benefits are tied to your date of layoff, not filing date.”
  • The Texas Workforce Commission has launched a new automated virtual assistant to help Texans sign up for unemployment insurance. The artificial intelligence-enabled chatbot can instantly answer many of the most common questions about the UI process
  • Anyone whose job has brought them into direct contact with someone with coronavirus (for instance, a first responder or a health care worker) and has become ill or is required to quarantine can file for WORKERS’ COMP. File for that here.
  • If you or a friend or family member are out of work, the Texas Workforce Commission provides support services.

Financial Assistance

The City of Dallas Rental Assistance Social Services Financial Assistance

  • Provides emergency assistance to individuals and families who have experienced a temporary financial crisis. The appointment lines are open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Rental assistance to persons at-risk of homelessness and who are low-income (below 30% of the area median income).
    • Assistance with utility bills (electric, gas and water) up to once per year (with exceptions for “blitz” events determined by funder) in an amount not to exceed $300 available for customers of Reliant Energy, TXU and ATMOS Energy. Additionally, support is administered through the Dallas Water Share.
  • Help Line Contacts and Appointments
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Social Services – 214-670-8416
    • West Dallas Multipurpose Center Social Services – 214-670-6530
  • The IRS has deferred the federal tax filing deadline to July 15th. Find more information on Coronavirus tax relief here.
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury has a list of financial resources for consumers.
  • Residents can call 211 or visit www.211texas.org and give their zip code for a list of local financial and in-kind resources available in their area.
  • The Salvation Army is serving in the community by offering: drive-thru food pantries at 13 locations; educational programming for our shelters with children to continue their education; remote learning opportunities for children across the region; financial assistance for rent/mortgage, utilities and prescription medication; and food delivery for seniors and veterans. Income verification and other typical requirements for assistance have been suspended to serve anyone that is in need. Check here for the location nearest you.
  • Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging or disaster scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or  file a complaint online. For additional information on disaster scams, please visit our  disaster scams website.  

Trouble Paying Rent or Mortgage

  • In summary, per guidance from a Dallas County Justice of the Peace:
    • ALL Eviction cases are currently postponed and continued for 60 days
  • Residential or Commercial;
  • Currently pending or filed within the 60 day period
  • ALL Writs of Possession are currently postponed and continued for 60 days
  • Residential or Commercial;
  • Previously requested or requested within the 60-day period
  • Lockouts are not addressed in any current emergency order – Texas Property Code, Chapters 92 and 93, control
  • Residential lockout tenants must be provided a key upon request whether rent is brought current or not;
  • Commercial lockout tenants must only be provided a key when the rent is NOT delinquent– provided that all other requirements of the lockout were in accordance with the Texas Property Code
  • Writs of Re-Entry are not addressed in any current order – Texas Property Code, Chapters 92 and 93, control
  • Residential or Commercial tenants that are illegally locked out may seek relief from the Justice of the Peace in the precinct in which the property is located
  • Residential landlords may be ordered to provide the tenant a key and the Court has authority to enforce its order;
  • Commercial landlords may only be ordered provide a tenant with a key when the rent is NOT delinquent – provided that all other requirements of the lockout were in accordance with the Texas Property Code
  • Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ Order states that Dallas County Justices of the Peace cannot proceed with evictions until May 18, 2020 (date subject to change). If you have concerns, volunteer attorneys are on stand-by to assist. Send an email to: DallasEvictions2020@gmail.com, and a volunteer lawyer will get back with you. Include your name, contact and landlord information, and other pertinent facts. The service is free.
  • The federal government announced they are suspending all HUD foreclosures and evictions for 60 days.

 If you don’t have enough money to pay, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Help includes:

  • If you are a Dallas Housing Authority client, please immediately report any loss of income in order to reduce your portion of rent and inspections will be restricted to health and safety only.
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Foreclosure Prevention 1-888-995-HOPE (4673)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Social Services – 214-670-8416
  • West Dallas Multipurpose Center Social Services – 214-670-6530
  • Texas Attorney General Consumer Protection or call 800-621-0508
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission has resources available. There may be vouchers to assist those in need with paying their rent. Also get government assistance with other needs, including lease application fees, information on low income housing and security deposits. Dial 1-877-541-7905 to find additional ways to get rent help. 
  • Texas offers programs that can help you with paying your mortgage and also avoid foreclosure. Local resources, including government and non-profit assistance, can help qualified homeowners
  • Homeowners have other resources too. Also click here for a listing of Texas HUD counseling agencies that provide free foreclosure counseling.
  • Information from the City of Dallas on eviction and foreclosure can be found here.
  • Information from the City of Dallas on Housing and Urban Development COVID-19 Funding Allocation can be found here.
  • The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at The University of Texas School of Law has launched a new website that tracks housing policies adopted by the federal government, State of Texas, and local jurisdictions to help Texas residents stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying financial crisis. The site covers renter protections, foreclosure protections, and utility access protections.
  • The City of Dallas Fair Housing and Human Rights Office has information here.

Homeless Shelter and Residential Programs

  • The City of Dallas Office of Homeless Solutions launched the effort of moving persons into hotel rooms. OHS’ priority groups are:
    • Persons experiencing homelessness, in need of quarantine
    • Persons in shelters and on the “Priority Housing List”
  • OHS will coordinate continued service for these guests. OHS will work with partners to identify and secure rental property and provide assistance for a period of up to 6 months for guest ready for housing. This process will serve the purposes of freeing up beds in shelters and getting people into their own home. Long term case management will be provided to anyone getting placed in a new home.
  • Information on The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center can be found here.
  • Information on Austin Street Center can be found here.
  • Information on Family Gateway can be found here.
  • Viola’s House | A Maternity Home for Homeless Teenagers

 Paying Utilities

  • The Public Utilities Commission of Texas voted Thursday 3/26 to temporarily prevent utility companies from disconnecting power and water services to residents financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Residents must still pay their bills via a deferred payment plan (residents need to contact their service provider for customer assistance).
  • Exelon brands (Constellation, Atlantic City Energy, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO) have suspended service disconnections and will waive late payment charges until at least May 1. Exelron has also committed to donating $1.15 million to local and national COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • Vistra Energy brands (TXU, Ambit, Tri-Eagle) is waiving late fees, extending payment due dates with no down payment required, and reducing down payments and deferring balances over five equal installments. TXU customers can also receive additional bill-payment assistance through its TXU Energy AidSM program.
  • NRG brands (Reliant, Green Mountain, Cirro, Stream, XOOM, Discount Power) is suspending disconnections for non-payment until April 3.
  • Atmos and Dallas Water Utilities have suspended disconnections at this time.
  • Charter Communications is offering free access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 days for new K-12 and College Student households. Residents should call: 1-844-488-8395. Charter is also working with school districts to ensure that communication is provided about the free wi-fi; Charter continues to offer Spectrum Assist for households without school-aged children; Charter is also opening its Wi-Fi hotspots for public use.

 Food Assistance and Donation

  • Here is a list of open food pantries inclusive of hours.
  • North Texas Food Bank has shifted to box distribution model with partner agencies. Food4Kids and School Pantry programs remain fully functional, and they are partnering with the City to deliver snack/hydration kits to the homeless.
  • Dallas County Health and Human Services Older Adult Services Program is currently providing meals delivered to homebound seniors. There is a drive-thru for hot meal pick-up service set up at each senior center location. Seniors needing these resources can call 214-819-1860 to enroll.
  • Crossroads Community Services food pantry details can be found here.
  • Meals will be provided to all children at most district middle and high schools and will be distributed twice a week, on Monday and Thursday between 10 AM and 1 PM. On Monday you will receive Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday will have Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper for the rest of the week, including Saturday. For pick up locations and menus, visit this link.
  • KIPP charter schools providing healthy, ready-to-heat breakfast and lunch to any student 19 or younger in our communities, not just to students enrolled at a KIPP Texas campus. Our meal pickup details are all available through the Texas Education Agency’s new meal finder website.
  • The City of Dallas WIC Program will be offering WIC benefits by phone only from  March 21, 2020 to April 3, 2020. Please contact us using one of the following:
    • If you need benefits for the first time, please enroll at www.texaswic.org, and you will be contacted. Call 214-670-7200. Or call 1-800-942-3678. Update your contact information by emailing olga.sauceda@dallascityhall.com. Breastfeeding questions? Call 214-670-7222.
  • Pet food resource – any family, community organization, or rescue group who needs help with dog food; please feel free to reach out to Ninfa Beltran with the SPCA at nbeltran@spca.org. She will be coordinating and facilitating the distribution of dog food.

Insurance Issues

The Texas Department of Insurance has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance related questions.

For Businesses

  • The City of Dallas has issued a Second Amended Emergency Regulation Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to section three of the Second Amended Emergency Regulation Order, businesses impacted by COVID-19 must visibly post the Second Amended Emergency Regulation Order on their facility and provide a copy to their employees upon request.
  • The City of Dallas Department of Code Compliance will issue notices of violations for businesses that do not comply with the Second Amended Emergency Regulation Order.
  • The Stay Home Stay Safe Order permits restaurants and microbreweries, micro-distilleries or wineries to operate for takeout and drive-in or drive-thru only.
  • The City of Dallas Office of Economic Development has created a web page with information for small businesses.
  • The State of Texas has officially declared a state of emergency. Businesses are encouraged to fill out Economic Injury worksheets to prepare for distribution of disaster relief funds.
  • loan program has been established by the Small Business Administration, specifically for those impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Facebook also has a $100 million Small Grants Program accessible here.
  • For businesses struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February, the Texas Comptroller’s Office is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest. We ask that you contact our Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due.
  • The Texas Restaurant Association has launched a restaurant relief fund.
  • Businesses and residents with questions regarding essential status can email BusinessCOVID19@dallascounty.org.
  • City of Dallas – Office of Business Diversity – Home 
  • TWU’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs has created an AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant. 

Mental Health Resources

  • The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has extensive resources available for mental health support, including those facing a mental health crisis. Call the toll-free COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919.
  • The Metrocare Coronavirus Support Line is available during our normal business hours Monday through Friday for those Dallas County residents experiencing high anxiety or depression during these turbulent times. Metrocare’s professionals will assist individuals in accessing our mental health services and provide referrals for other services that may be needed. The Metrocare Coronavirus Support Line for Dallas County is 214-743-1215.
  • North Texas Behavioral Health Authority – Individuals can contact the 24/7 COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-251-7544. Those needing support outside of the COVID-19 crisis can still contact our NTBHA 24/7 Crisis Line at 866-260-8000.
  • The Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology  is providing tele-counseling to new and existing clients. We use a HIPAA compliant platform and accept all insurances including Medicare and Medicaid. For tele-counseling call:  214-526-4525.
  • Grant Halliburton Foundation’s “Here For Texas” Mental Health Navigation Line is operational Monday thru Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. We have also identified a number of telehealth options, which are in high demand right now. If you know anyone who needs resources, call the Navigation Line at 972/525-8181. More information here. You can find a list of other mental health resources and helplines here.

COVID-19 Mental Health Articles

Domestic Violence Survivor Resources

Student Loans Deferment

The US Department of Education has suspended federal student loan payments and waived interest. The Office of Federal Student Aid has specific details.

 Childcare Resources

  • The Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized childcare program is making changes to their requirements in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Please check their website regularly for announcements coming soon.
  • Due to COVID-19, YMCA branches are currently closed; however, they continue to offer limited childcare programming on a daily basis, supporting the childcare needs of first responders, medical professionals, government officials, and those that must continue their work in this challenging time. This care will be offered until further notice, at 11 YMCA branches across the Dallas Metroplex, in accordance to state guidelines.
  • Dallas Afterschool has moved all training and support to a virtual mode, and is now offering  virtual tutoring. For more information, email tutoring@dallasafterschool.org.

Educational Resources

  • The talkSTEM YouTube Channel houses over 250 videos for your free use! The channel includes various sections organized by content, including STEM in the Real World – Engaging, short, theme-based STEM videos based on math/science concepts and subject matter. See our latest playlist for Pre K – 2nd Grade : Math in the Early Years. More information and resources here.
  • Free downloadable worksheets are available for all parents and educators. Suitable for K-12. Find them here. 
  • Parent and Educator Youtube Guide
  • At-Home Learning resources can be found here. 
  • Rec@Home is a weekly video series created by Dallas Park and Recreation, giving step-by-step demonstrations for fitness workouts, children’s crafts, and healthy eating. Watch on Youtube here.
  • The Dallas Public Library is now issuing library cards by email and phone. Loan periods are being extended, and digital resources are available at www.dallaslibrary.org.  A link to more information for residents is here.
  • Dallas ISD is providing 10,000 mobile hotspots for students who would otherwise not have access to high-speed internet service from home. More information here.
  • SPARK! is providing educational content online, free of charge.
  • Dallas Region Communities in Schools has created a page of resources.

 Senior Resources

Employment Resources

  • Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas has resources for job seekers. Those seeking employment can register at workintexas.com.
  • The Dallas Regional Chamber has launched a virtual job board that offers listings to individuals who need leads for in-demand jobs; access to online courses to upskill into high-demand, well-paying jobs; childcare resources for parents involved in essential work; and links to help workers to file for unemployment claims.
  • You can email Goodwill at jobs@goodwilldallas.org with your name, city/zip code, contact number and any additional information. A Goodwill Job Connection Center Manager or Specialist will contact you directly and set up an appointment for virtual employment services. You can also contact a Job Connection Center by phone at the location nearest you:
  • 3020 N. Westmoreland Rd, Dallas, TX 75212: 214-638-2800 x185
  • 1661 E. Northwest Hwy., Garland, TX 75041: 214-227-5549
  • 919 W. Main Street, Lewisville, TX 75067: 972-436-3681

HIV/AIDS Resources

Faith Community Resources

  • Texas Baptists is a statewide faith-based non-profit with about 5,300 affiliated churches across Texas and beyond. Our services primarily are offered to leaders of affiliated churches seeking to navigate the pandemic. Our COVID-19 Response page is here. We would be interested in learning how churches could volunteer their parking lots as drive through testing sites, or their facilities as makeshift hospitals if needed. Resources include:
    • Relief grants to bivocational and small church pastors
    • Resources on multimedia streaming, online giving and other church administration
    • Free downloads of adult and child Bible study materials
    • Disaster relief through our ministry partner TBM.
  • Jewish Family Services has a list of resources and services here: JFS COVID-19 Updates 
  • Faith in Texas has a list of resources here: COVID-19 Resources 
  • Catholic Charities of Dallas has a list of resources here, including community food pantries, disaster relief services, immigration legal services, and refugee services.

Other Resources

  • Paid Sick Leave information: City of Dallas employers must provide employees with paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member. An employee may use paid sick leave for the employee’s or their family member’s illness, injury, healthcare, and reasons related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. For more information or to file a complaint, call 214-670-FAIR (3246) or visit www.dallascityhall.com/paid-sick-leave
  • The Texas State Department of Public Safety has suspended expired IDs: driver’s licenses, IDs, commercial drivers licenses, and election identification certificates expiration dates will be extended.
  • In response to the COVID-19 crisis, The Dallas County Clerk’s Office will be closing its Vital Records and Recording Divisions to the public. All transactions will be done either by mail, document drop off, or by appointment only. The public closure will take effect starting Monday, March 23, 2020 through May 1, 2020, but may be extended based on COVID-19 status.
  • Dallas County Tax Office: In the interest of public health, we have provided the following alternative options in lieu of face-to-face transactions in the Dallas County Tax Office. Click here for online and by-mail instructions on common Tax Office transactions. 

How Can You Help?

  • Meals on Wheels needs volunteers.
  • Dallas ISD needs volunteers to assist their Food & Child Nutrition Services team with meal distribution at school sites.
  • Go to dallasisd.voly.org; register as a volunteer and complete the brief online volunteer orientation.
  • Send an email to volunteer@dallasisd.org to indicate your interest in helping with meal distribution.
  • The North Texas Food Bank needs volunteers.
  • Carter BloodCare and other blood banks are experiencing shortages. Consider donating.
  • Jewish Family Service (JFS) have established the S.H.E.F. Emergency Assistance Fund. The S.H.E.F. Fund is a non-profit effort established to provide “bridge” support to as many restaurant hourly workers as possible throughout North Texas. JFS will be providing case management assistance and connecting these workers to eligible benefits, employment opportunities, counseling and other resources as they navigate this crisis. If interested, you can donate to this fund at www.jfsdallas.org/donate and in the Additional Comments section type “SHEF Fund” or you can send a check with the same notation to JFS at 5402 Arapaho Road Dallas, Texas 75248. 
  • If you would like to assist with providing Protective Personal Equipment (PPE):
  • Submit your information on this website – https://www.helpdallascounty.org/. Medical providers and cities will have access to this comprehensive list of providers so they can reach out to get what they need. This will likely be the fastest way to get your information to the people who need it most.

Protect Yourself Financially from the Coronavirus

Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 Job Interrupted —A To-Do List for Tough Times

Information from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

 Financial Peace of Mind in the Age of Coronavirus

Information from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

 Avoiding Coronavirus Scams

Information from the Federal Trade Commission

Grant Opportunities

The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health have made these grant opportunities available:

 Grant Opportunities for Non-Profits

  • The Communities Foundation will announce a collaborative fund to provide grants for non-profits engaged in the Covid-19 response. The North Texas Cares Fund is for non-profit service providers ONLY who are responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and can be submitted via www.NorthTexasCares.org.Criteria for eligibility and consideration includes:
    • Must be 501c3 organization Must provide services in the North Texas area
    • Must provide services that address immediate response or long-term relief efforts in response to COVID-19
    • Requests need to focus on first responders and/or support for vulnerable populations– (examples could include seniors, children, homeless, low-income)

 Cultural Institution Resources

Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition compiled the below resources:

 #OneDallas

Best regards,

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  Ashley Long
  Assistant, Councilmember Chad West

  City of Dallas | www.dallascityhall.com

Mayor and City Council, District 1

1500 Marilla St, Room 5FN

Dallas, TX 75201
O:  214-671-8917
ashley.long@dallascityhall.com