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
- Paid Leave and UI Options
- Immigrant Rights
- Food Assistance
- Stimulus Payments
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 While some of the information is out of date, the majority of the content is still relevant.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 19, 2021] COVID RULES: Coverage through HealthSource RI (ENGLISH)
- COVID-19: Resources Guide for Undocumented Immigrants (coming soon)
- COVID-19: Resources Guide for DACA, TPS, and DED holders (coming soon)
- Affordable Health Insurance for Immigrants 2021(ENGLISH/SPANISH)
Paid Leave and Earnings Replacement
- [APRIL 9, 2021] COVID-19 Understanding Paid Leave and Unemployment Insurance (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [APRIL 9, 2021] COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Updates (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [APRIL 9, 2021] Caregiving during COVID-19 (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [APRIL 22, 2020] COVID-19: Understanding Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
- [JUNE 21, 2021] THE NEW CHILD TAX CREDIT – WHAT TO KNOW AND HOW TO CLAIM IT (ENGLISH/SPANISH)
Other Important Timely Information
If you cannot pay your rent, you can be protected from eviction due to non-payment of rent through July 31, 2021, if you meet these 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 your rent because of loss of income, wages, hours, work, or because of high medical expenses
- You are trying your best to make a payment, and if you were evicted, you would become homeless, need to move into a shelter, or with relatives
To get the protection, you must sign a declaration form which you can find here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf. Keep a copy and give one to your landlord.
Apply for rental assistance at the HomeSafe (https://www.rihousing.com/rentreliefri/) program. Applications are only accepted online, but there are community helpers who can assist you with the application. Click here for information on how to find a community helper. You can also call 2-1-1 for information about other rental assistance.
If you receive a notice of eviction or have other housing problems, The Center for Justice (491-1101) or RI Legal Services (274-2652) may be able to help.
There is no longer broad protection against gas and electric shut-off. However, you may protected from shut off if you are experiencing financial hardship and (1) there is a child under age 2 in your family; (2) you have a serious illness or disability or (3) everyone in your household is 62 or older. For more info, see: https://www.nationalgridus.com/RI-Home/Bill-Help/Shut-Off-Protections
There are several programs at National Grid that can help you pay your bill and avoid shut-off. You can enter into a “COVID-19 payment plan” to manage your back bill. For more info, see: https://www.nationalgridus.com/RI-Home/Bill-Help/more-time-to-pay
You may also be eligible for a discount on your rates. If you (someone in household) receives SNAP, LIHEAP or SSI, there is a 25% discount. If someone receives Medicaid or RI Works, the discount is 30%. For more information and application, see: https://www.nationalgridus.com/RI-Home/Bill-Help/Help-Making-Payments
You can apply for LIHEAP through a local CAP agency. For more info, see: https://www.nationalgridus.com/RI-Home/Bill-Help/Grant-Programs
The George Wiley Center (728-5555) or the Center for Justice (491-1101) may be able to help.
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