Additional resources to assist students (food, health care, childcare, unemployment,
etc.) during this time of uncertainty as we navigate our way through this COVID-19
Below are some resources that may help address student need, as our communities grapple with the impact of COVID-19 . While by no means is this list exhaustive, it is meant to provide a high-level overview of some key resources with direct links for more information and how to apply.
Please check out Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon's excellent summary on accessing food resources during these unprecedented times. Assure students that SNAP benefits will be issued as normal, and that they can apply online and do not need to go into a DHS office. This webpage also has a great run down of resources, including Oregon Food Bank's Find Food Page and a list of school districts providing nutrition services to their students during closures.
Oregon Health Authority has information about how to access healthcare (apply for Oregon Health Plan, find care, etc.), as well as the latest updates on COVID-19.
ERDC has been expanded to help families during this challenging period. DHS has eliminated co-pays and increased the income-eligibility from 185% of FPL to 250% or 85% of median wage. See Press Release. Students can access ERDC app and mail/submit it to a DHS office. More info can be accessed via 211 or DHS DPU phone line, 1-800-699-9074.
During these challenging times that disproportionately impact many of the students we serve in STEP, it's critical we continue to provide holistic support and help navigating resources. Please find ways to offer these services to students virtually during any closures. Other tangible resources to consider: laptops, tablets, or hotspots can be purchased with STEP funds and loaned to STEP students. In addition, when awarding support services to students (tuition, fees, books, tools, transportation), please consider the impact this current public health crisis will have on their unmet need. If you have questions or other ideas, please email me to discuss how we can address students' need and maintain grant compliance. (https://www.linnbenton.edu/future-students/other-learning-opportunities/step-program.php)
Filing for Unemployment:
COVID-19 is having a decided impact on our economy, and the employment of many of our students. More information on filing for unemployment can be found here: Oregon Unemployment Insurance. Encourage students to find out about the TUI program and STEP resources available through OED, that may be able to help support their college completion and career goals with added resources. WorkSource also has services to help while searching for new employment.
Consolidating Campus Resource Info:
As recommended by the Hope Center, please consider how you can streamline and consolidate campus benefit information and access to emergency funds, proactively mitigating obstacles that could limit students' access Various Community Resources (including help getting connected to those listed above and housing/utility assistance help):
- 211info can help you find services
- CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155
- TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211)
- EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
- HOURS 7 days per week, 8am-11pm
Lastly, in the midst of all of this, please don't forget to try to encourage students to file their taxes and claim the EITC--cash that they may be leaving on the table, and that could be really helpful during these challenging times. Info about free online tax filing can be accessed here: Cash Oregon. We also need to stay apprised of the Public Charge Rule change that could be causing many of our immigrant students and their families to turn down crucial benefits that they qualify and are entitled to receive to support the health and basic needs of their family.