COVID-19: Resources for Youth & Families

COVID-19: Resources for Youth & Families

Check back often, as additional resources will be added frequently:

Table of Contents:

  1. HOTLINES
  2. MENTAL HEALTH
  3. FOOD ACCESS
  4. BENEFITS
  5. HOUSING
  6. CONFLICT, ABUSE & CRIME VICTIMS
  7. CHILDCARE
  8. HEALTHCARE
  9. SUBSTANCE ABUSE
  10. EMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, & WORKER’S COMPENSATION
  11. UTILITIES
  12. TALKING TO YOUTH ABOUT COVID-19
  13. EDUCATION
  14. SELF-CARE
  15. OTHER RESOURCES

 

COVID Information – prepared for VYH by Stephanie Orta and Zach Newmyer, Moravian College Nursing Students

HOTLINES

  • United Way of Pennsylvania: Text your zip code to 898-211 for resources and information in your community.
  • 2-1-1 – Pennsylvania 211 East is a free, confidential, non-emergency, 24-hour information and referral service that connects Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon, & Schuylkill County residents with health and human services.
  • Northampton County – 24 hour/7 day hotline available for anyone in a social service crisis: 610-252-9060

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Crisis Health Line: TEXT “Help” to 741741 or Text “PA” to 741-741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (24 hours)
  • Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
  • PA Mental Health Support Line can be reached toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-2494 or for TTY, dial 724-631-5600
  • NAMI Keystone PA Helpline – 888-264-7972 (M-F, 9am – 5pm)
  • Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline at 877-565-8860
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
  • Northampton County Peer Line: 855-727-3377 (24 hours)
  • Lehigh County WARM line: 610-820-8451 (6am – 2am)
  • Lehigh County CRISIS Intervention: 610-782-3127 (24 hours)
  • Philadelphia: DBHIDS 24-Hour Mental Health Helpline: For help for yourself or someone you know, call the 24 hour helpline at 215-685-6440
  • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text to 838255
  • Mental Health and COVID-19 Information and Resources https://mhanational.org/covid19
  • The PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has temporarily suspended certain requirements for providing behavioral health services via telehealth.
    • Staff may deliver telehealth services via telephonic and video communication applications such as FaceTime or Skype available on smartphones, and through telephonic only devices when video technology is not available.
  • All KidsPeace outpatient locations in Lehigh and Monroe County will continue to offer free walk-in mental health assessments by clinically trained professionals – no appointment needed. The assessments allow for fast evaluation of mental health condition and if needed crisis intervention – relieving the pressure on hospitals and emergency rooms as they prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases. KidsPeace is committed to providing walk-in assessments at these offices as long as they are open during the emergency.  The service is available during business hours at these locations:
    • Allentown (two locations)
      • 801 E Green Street (across from Dieruff High School); 610-799-8910
      • 451 W Chew Street, Suite #105 (St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Hospital Campus) 610-776-5465
    • Bethlehem
      • KidsPeace Broadway Campus Family Center (1620 Broadway, Bethlehem) 610-799-8600
    • Monroe County
      • 1151 Pocono Boulevard, Suite #2, Mt Pocono, PA 570-243-8787
  • Northeast Treatment Centers
    • Bethlehem: The physical office is closed. Counselors will be calling their clients and doing individual sessions over the phone. There are no groups at this time. They are taking referrals and doing intakes over the phone. They accept Magellan, Northampton County funding and self-pay. Call them at 610-868-0435.
    • Easton: The physical office is closed. Counselors will be calling their clients and doing individual sessions over the phone. There are no groups at this time. They are taking referrals and doing intakes over the phone. They accept Magellan, Northampton County funding and self-pay. They primarily work with drug and alcohol diagnoses but also work with co-occurring diagnoses as well. Call them at 610-253-6760.
  • Step by Step: Outpatient services are being offered via tele therapy. This includes the intake, counseling and psychiatry. They encourage the individual to call and if they can be seen right away, they will go on a waitlist. Visit their website:
    http://www.stepbystepusa.com/. Their phone number is 610-776-1224 and their intake line is 610-867-0688.
  • Additional Lehigh Valley Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Recovery Resources from the Center for Humanistic Change (Pages 14-20)
  • Philadelphia:
    • Youth Help Empowerment Project Health Center Mental Health Support Line: Call 215- 344-1632 for mental health support
    • Mazzoni Center (LGBTQ Health and Well-Being) Behavioral Health Center: Teletherapy for current Patients, call 215-563-0652 for more info
    • Therapy Center of Philadelphia: Physical Location Closed, but teletherapy is available, Call (215) 567-1111 for more info
    • Mental Health Partnerships: Connecting Peers Virtually to Certified Peer Specialists, visit https://www.mentalhealthpartnerships.org/ and use the chat box for more info
  • Additional Information:

FOOD ACCESS

  • Individuals and families in need of assistance should contact their local food bank through Second HarvestFeeding PA or Hunger-Free PA to find a food pantry or other distribution site in their community .
  • Call 311 for food pantry help and to verify hours.
  • Call the WhyHunger hotline at 1-800-5HUNGRY to find food pantries near you or visit https://whyhunger.org/
  • Text your zip code to 1-800-548-6479 to receive a list of food pantries near you.
  • Food Access Information – PA Dept. of Agriculture
  • Philadelphia Food Access Resources – Youth Matters (Pages 2-13)
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Food Resources can be found HERE.
  • Greater Lehigh Valley food access information for Families, Adults, Elderly, Healthcare Workers, & Truck Drivers (Center for Humanistic Change, pages 6-10)
  • Greater Valley YMCA will serve Grab & Go meals to youth 18 and under – no Y membership required. Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday (serving multiple days of meals together) – visit: https://www.gv-ymca.org/ for locations and more information
  • As long as it is safe and possible, Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley will provide homebound senior citizens and adults with disabilities with home-delivered meals, grocery shopping and other services.
  • Easton Hunger Coalition
  • United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA Community Services 410 Olive St. Scranton, PA 18509: Angel’s Attic food pantry is currently open Monday-Friday 9am- 5pm. Households of any size can come and receive a bag, as needed (1 per day maximum).
  • Keystone Mission and the Weinberg Food Bank (CEO) are offering an Emergency Food Assistance program.
  • Catholic Social Services Food Pantry, 638 Hemlock Street Scranton, PA 18505, Extended Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:00PM-4:00PM
  • Harrisburg Downtown Daily Bread: Soup Kitchen door on Willis St. Alley.  Breakfast 7 a.m. – 7:50 a.m. Lunch 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m
  • Philadelphia Food Assistance Information
  • Many schools are providing meals:
    • Food access information for youth under age 18 (Center for Humanistic Change, pages 4-6): Allentown, Bangor, Bethlehem, Easton, Nazareth, Northampton, Parkland, Pen Argyl, Saucon Valley, Southern Lehigh Wilson.
    • Click here for Lehigh Valley locations
    • Scranton Area School District: Effective Monday March 23rd, 2020 and until further notice free breakfast and free lunch will be provided to all children in the community 18 years old and under.  Children will be offered both breakfast and lunch for multiple days between the hours 10 am and noon.
    • Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, & Susquehanna County School District food distribution information HERE.
    • Harrisburg Area School District Grab & Go Meals information HERE.

BENEFITS

  • SNAP:
    • The federal rule that says able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) would be subject to a three month time limit on receiving SNAP has been halted until further notice.
    • Non-ABAWD SNAP cases are prohibited from termination for the next three months, and work requirements will be modified for flexibility.
    • Emergency SNAP applications can be expedited and issued in 5 days. Pennsylvanians can apply for SNAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us.
    • A full list of what is covered and not covered by SNAP can be found in our SNAP Handbook, section 503.3.  These are specified in federal regulation and no
      changes or modifications were made as a part of the COVID-19 bill that Congress passed.
  • TANF:
    • The PA Department of Human Services is suspending face-to-face interviews and will not terminate or sanction recipients based on RESET requirements until further notice.
  • WIC:
  • Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments Information
  • Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) Helpline (Statewide): 877-570-3642
  • Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) Helpline: (Southeast PA):215-563-5848
  • Philadelphia Benefits Information – Youth Matters (Page 20)
  • BenePhilly (Philadelphia): 844-848-4376
  • County Assistance Offices (CAOs) are continuing to operate, but are closed for in person services. People should apply online or update info on the COMPASS website . To connect with the Consumer Assistance Center via phone the number is 1-866-550-4355. Please call PHAN’s helpline 877-570-3642 if you need help.

HOUSING

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court prohibited evictions, ejectments or other displacements from a residence based on failure to make a payment through July 10th.
  • Foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration information 
  • The Allentown Warming Station has transitioned to a Code Blue Shelter (opening only any night the weather is forecasted under 32 degrees)
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Shelter Resources can be found HERE.
  • Philadelphia Housing & Utilities information
  • Philadelphia Housing Resources – Youth Matters (pages 14 & 15)

CONFLICT, ABUSE & CRIME VICTIMS

Victims of child abuse, domestic abuse and other crimes against vulnerable Pennsylvanians can still receive help during the state’s COVID-19 response.

CHILDCARE

  • Starting Monday, March 23, the Greater Valley YMCA will be running the “Here for You” Program at their Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton/Phillipsburg and Nazareth branches. The program will provide childcare options for Emergency Responders and Medical Personnel. It is the Y’s hope to help meet this crucial community need during this difficult time. Please help us spread the word and learn more about the program/download enrollment forms HERE.
  • Lehigh Valley Baby & Infant Essentials information

HEALTHCARE

  • All major medical, Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plans, including those available through www.healthcare.gov, should  cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment. Many insurers have announced that they will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 testing without any copays, deductibles, or cost-sharing for consumers.
  • Need help with insurance and/or COBRA? Capital BlueCross will continue to be available to assist people with options. Those who lose their insurance can contact Capital BlueCross at 855-505-2683 or rosann.humphrey@capbluecross.com.
  • Pennsylvania Health Access Network – Please call PHAN’s helpline 877-570-3642 if you need help.
  • Loss of job-based coverage qualifies individuals for a special enrollment period. If individuals enrolled in Marketplace plans lose income, they may qualify for increased subsidy, or may now be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Please go to www.healthcare.gov to update your income and learn more about your options.
  • Medicaid (Medical Assistance) and CHIP covers medically appropriate laboratory testing for COVID-19 without copays.  Associated treatment for COVID-19 is also covered, although there may be a nominal copay. If you cannot afford the copay at the time you receive the service, you will not be denied treatment, although your provider may send you a bill for the copayment amount.
  • Medicaid applications are still being processed, and individuals should apply as normal. Individuals should note on the  application if they have a health emergency related to COVID-19. DHS will continue to prioritize Medicaid applications where there is an immediate health concern, and self-attestations will be accepted.
  • Excepted benefit policies, short-term, limited duration (STLD) health insurance
    coverage, and/or health care sharing ministries can have significant limitations on
    coverage and may not provide the same level of access.
  • If consumers have questions about their insurance policy, contact your insurance or the Department of Health’s consumer hotline at (877) 881-6388.
  • Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD)
    • Consumers who are eligible for MAWD can be granted Good Cause during periods
      where they are furloughed from employment. MAWD coverage will not be canceled
      based on a lack of employment. Additionally, Good Cause can be granted to waive
      MAWD premium payments for up to two months.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services partially approved PA’s 1135 waiver which
    allows DHS to provide flexibility for Medicaid services and providers to ensure that they are adequately prepared to face the challenges of this crisis.
  • Medicaid recipients will be allowed to obtain early refills of all prescriptions at their pharmacy point-of-sale in order to make “stay at home” orders easier to follow.
  • Philadelphia Medical Information – Youth Matters (Pages 18 – 19)
  • Immigration
    • Generally, humanitarian immigrants like refugees and asylees, people who have had green cards for more than five years, and “lawfully present” children under 21 and pregnant adults can get Medical Assistance (MA).
    • Emergency MA is available to individuals who have an immigration status that makes them ineligible for MA. These individuals must have a medical condition that has severe symptoms, requires medical attention quickly, and can lead to serious harm to a bodily function or part without treatment. COVID-19 qualifies as an emergency medical condition in PA.
    • Receiving MA is very unlikely to harm your immigration case, and MA follows strict privacy rules. The information you put on an MA application will be used only to determine MA eligibility and to make sure those who are eligible are able to receive and use their MA benefits.
  • FamilyWize provides discounts to lower the cost of prescription medications. Whether you’re insured or uninsured, use FamilyWize to save on prescriptions and share it with friends, family and neighbors.
  • Coronavirus & Babies
  • Testing:
    • Philadelphia – Where to Get Tested for COVID-19 – Youth Matters (Pages 18 – 19)
    • Where to Get Tested for COVID-19 – Lehigh Valley (Center for Humanistic Change, pages 10-11)
    • Testing is available through the PA Department of Health (DOH) and commercial
      laboratories. In both cases, physician referral is needed.
    • For testing through the DOH, consultation with the DOH is required. Physicians should call for consultation if:
      • The patient is a contact of a confirmed case and is sick;
      • The patient resides in a congregate care setting and is sick;
      • The patient is a healthcare worker and is sick;
      • The patient is hospitalized with relevant symptoms and has no alternative
        diagnosis.
    • For testing through a commercial laboratory, consultation with the DOH is not required, and physicians can test if:
      • The patient does not meet the above criteria, but is symptomatic;
      • The patient does not meet the above criteria, is asymptomatic, but wants to be
        tested.
    • Testing is free for consumers who are uninsured. If individuals believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and do not have a primary care provider, they should visit a local ER, clinic, or urgent care center.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

  • Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
  • Lehigh Valley Drug and Alcohol is temporarily conducting all evaluations via phone effective 3/23: Contact the Intake Unit during regular business hours M-F from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The evaluations will take approximately one hour to complete. Call 610-923- 0394 for an evaluation.
  • Bethlehem Recovery Center of Northampton County: The social aspects of the agency are mostly shut down at this time. Individuals seeking virtual meetings are being directed to their Facebook page which offers a listing of meetings with no cost to the individual. If the individual is in crisis, they can contact the office and staff will help them connect to the appropriate resources. An individual can call the Intake Unit to arrange evaluation at 610-923-0394.
  • Northeast Treatment Centers
    • Bethlehem: The physical office is closed. Counselors will be calling their clients and doing individual sessions over the phone. There are no groups at this time. They are taking referrals and doing intakes over the phone. They accept Magellan, Northampton County funding and self-pay. Call them at 610-868-0435.
    • Easton: The physical office is closed. Counselors will be calling their clients and doing individual sessions over the phone. There are no groups at this time. They are taking referrals and doing intakes over the phone. They accept Magellan, Northampton County funding and self-pay. They primarily work with drug and alcohol diagnoses but also work with co-occurring diagnoses as well. Call them at 610-253-6760.
  • Recovery Revolution Teletherapy is being offered for individual sessions. Groups are continuing to run face-to-face at the office. They are currently accepting new clients. This agency is strictly outpatient. Their phone number is 610-599-7700.
  • Treatment Trends Center of Excellence for Opioid Use Disorder is providing assistance for individuals needing information and access to treatment, including care management and recovery support provided by CRS. Please call 610-432-7693.
    • Treatment Trends Outpatient Program Confront is providing assessments and treatment by telehealth. Please call 610-433-0148.
    • Treatment Trends Halfway Home of the Lehigh Valley is providing residential non-hospital treatment. Please call 610-439-0218.
    • Treatment Trends Keenan House is providing residential non-hospital treatment. Please call 610-439-8479.
  • Additional Lehigh Valley Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Recovery Resources from the Center for Humanistic Change (Pages 14-20)

EMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT & WORKERS COMPENSATION

  • Employment
  •  Unemployment:
    • If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves.
  • Unemployment Compensation (UC):
    • Individuals can file for unemployment using this website: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file. Individuals can also call 1-888-313-7284. However because of increased demand we encourage folks to apply online as much as possible.
      • The one-week wait time necessary to apply for unemployment benefits has been waived until further notice.
      • You may be eligible if:
        • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
        • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
        • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
        • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
    • If you are eligible for UC, you will receive two approval letters and a four-digit PIN,
      which will arrive in the U.S. mail.
    • If approved, your first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks of filing.
    • Continue filing your bi-weekly claim (every two weeks) – even while waiting for approval
    • Pennsylvania has set up a website for frequently asked questions around UC. It can be found here.
      ○ Philadelphia Legal Assistance has created a comprehensive FAQ document on UC which can be found here.
  • Workers’ Compensation (WC):
    • If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for WC by either:
      • Notifying your employer to file a typical “disease-as-injury” WC claim, which
        requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in
        the workplace
      • Notifying your employer to file an “occupational disease” WC claim, which
        requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your
        occupation/industry than in the general population

        • If your COVID-19 claim is denied, you may file a petition with the Office of Adjudication
  • Visit https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx for more information.
  • Essential Business Fact Sheet 3/24 – Spanish

UTILITIES

  • Electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utilities are prohibited from terminations due to an emergency order signed by Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille on Friday, March 13th. This will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster, related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.
  • PPL Electric Utilities won’t cut service to any customers for unpaid bills until further notice and they have waived all late payment fees, effective March 16.  They also have several programs available to help customers who are having a hard time paying their bills:
    • OnTrack offers a lower, fixed monthly bill and debt forgiveness for customers who make 150 percent of the poverty level or less.
    • Operation HELP is funded by our company, employees and customers, and can assist customers who make 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less. Grants help pay customer heating bills, including oil or gas heat. PPL Foundation recently donated an extra $500,000 to Operation HELP. To apply for either Operation HELP or OnTrack visit www.pplelectric.com/billhelp or call 1-800-342-5775.
    • CARES can help customers who are experiencing a temporary hardship. Learn more or apply by calling 1-800-358-6623.
    • Learn more about energy saving tools, tips, and programs HERE.
  • Comcast’s Internet Essentials program will be offered free for 60 days to new customers. Customers are eligible to receive Internet Essentials if they are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch program, Medicaid or SNAP and live in a Comcast service area. Furthermore, Comcast has pledged not to disconnect a customer’s service or impose late fees if they can’t pay their bills during the pandemic.
  • RCN – InternetFirst information (English)
  • RCN – InternetFirst information (Spanish)
  • Philadelphia Housing & Utilities information

TALKING TO YOUTH ABOUT COVID-19

EDUCATION

SELF-CARE

OTHER RESOURCES:

 

CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF VALLEY YOUTH HOUSE PROGRAMS & SERVICES