The Economic Progress Institute staff are especially focused on how COVID-19 is impacting low-income communities throughout Rhode Island. These communities, which are disproportionally communities of color, are bearing greater burdens than most - both from the virus’s spread and disruptions to the economy.
On this page you can find factsheets on these topics:
- Health Care
- Workers’ Rights and Options
- Food Assistance
- Stimulus Payment
- The State Economy
These materials are meant to help Rhode Islanders and community helpers understand the resources available to them during this crisis. We also have recorded webinars with important COVID-19 information to help Rhode Islanders. While some of the information is out of date, the majority of the content is still relevant.
- [JULY 7, 2020] Do I Need to Return to Work During COVID-19 (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [JULY 7, 2020] Worker Safety Rights. Sick Leave, and Unemployment During COVID-19 (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [November 25, 2020] weR1 Fund Cash Assistance (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [OCTOBER 22, 2020] COVID-19: Resources Guide for Undocumented Immigrants (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [OCTOBER 22, 2020] COVID-19: Resources Guide for DACA, TPS, and DED holders (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [JULY 7, 2020] Affordable Health Insurance for Immigrants 2020(ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [APRIL 20, 2020] COVID-19: What to Know About WIC (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [JULY 7, 2020] SNAP/EBT Online Factsheet (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- P-EBT Factsheet (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
Paid Leave and Earnings Replacement
- [NOVEMBER 18, 2020] Caregiving during COVID-19 (Paid leave and UI options)
- [OCTOBER 15, 2020] COVID-19 Stimulus Payment Flyer (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [JUNE 17,2020] COVID-19: Stimulus Payment for Formerly Incarcerated
- [APRIL 22, 2020] COVID-19: Understanding Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [MARCH 23, 2020] COVID-19: Rhode Island Earnings Replacements (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [MARCH 23, 2020] COVID-19: Paid Leave and Unemployment Insurance (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
The State Economy
- [MARCH 23, 2020] COVID-19: Protecting Rhode Islanders and the State’s Economy
Other Important Timely Information
PREVENTING EVICTION: FILL OUT THE CDC DECLARATION FORM AND APPLY FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE. IF YOU RECEIVE A COURT DATE FOR EVICTION – GO TO COURT
Pursuant to a September 5 order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, renters are protected from eviction until January 2021, if they meet certain conditions:
- you have applied for rental assistance*
- your income is less than $99,000 per year ($198,000 for a joint tax return)
- you can’t pay rent because of loss of income, wages, hours or work or high medical expenses
- you are trying your best to make a payment
- if you were evicted, you would become homeless, need to move into a shelter, or with relatives.
To get the protection from eviction, adult renters need to sign this declaration form. Make a copy for yourself and give the declaration to your landlord. Once you give the signed form to your landlord, you cannot be moved out of your home until after January 1, 2021.
The landlord can still file an eviction and get a hearing date in court. (This is a new protocol set by the RI District Court on November 3.) IF YOU GET A NOTICE TO GO TO COURT, you must go to protect your right to stay in your home after January 1. There are funds available to help pay for back rent. Call 2-1-1.
*Rental assistance is available from the Safe Harbor Program https://www.uwri.org/safe-harbor-housing-program-tenant-application/. You can also call 2-1-1 to find out about other rental assistance.
- The Safe Harbor program at United Way of Rhode Island has funds available to assist tenants and landlords with rent that is owed. It is very important to apply for rental assistance before the end of December. These funds may not be available after December—that is unclear until further action is taken in Washington.
The protection from eviction and rental assistance is available to tenants regardless of immigration status.
Free legal help is available from The Center for Justice (491-1101) or RI Legal Services (274-2652).
AVOID UTILITY SHUT-OFFS: ENROLL IN A DISCOUNT RATE PROGRAM WITH NATIONAL GRID
The protection against utilities (gas and electric) shut-off ended on September 30 and people may now receive a shut-off notice for failing to pay their bill. However, if the person is enrolled in a discount rate program with National Grid, they are protected from shut-off until April, 2021. Enrollment can be at any time – including when the person receives a shut-off notice. Eligibility is based on household income. If the person’s whose name is on the utility bill is receiving SNAP, SSI, Medicaid Assistance, RI Works or LIHEAP, they meet the income test. If they are not receiving one of these benefits, they may be able to get a statement from a local CAP agency that income is within the LIHEAP limits. Click here for the application for the discount rate program.
The George Wiley Center (728-5555) or the Center for Justice (491-1101) may be able to help people enroll and answer questions. Visit the Center for Justice website for more information.
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank Food List is updated regularly to reflect changes in food assistance program operations in response to COVID.
In addition to the meals programs in school, “Grab n Go” meals are available for children who are learning from home either full-time or part-time and are not in the classroom. All children under age 18 are eligible, regardless of immigration status. Check with your school about how meals are provided and any requirements to pick up meals without a child present. You can also click here to see the list of Grab and Go sites.
Older Rhode Islanders
- Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging: Older Adult Local Resources
- Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging: Project HELLO
Rhode Islanders with Disabilities