1. If you are an artist ...
... Apply for the Houston Arts Alliance’s Artist and Arts Worker Relief Fund, which helps secure food, health care, and housing security for artists and arts workers who have lost their income and securities because of Covid-19. The fund is reviewing applications through December 31. houstonartsalliance.com
— Emma Schkloven
2. If you are a stressed-out parent juggling work and virtual school ...
... Visit Teaching to Give, a nonprofit that offers free tutoring services for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The sessions, which are led by area high school students, are held online so both tutor and pupil can study while social distancing. teachingtogive.org
3. If you are a health care worker in a pinch to find trustworthy care for your good dog, cat … tree frog?
... The HTX Covid Sitters have got your back, no problem. These students from both the Med Center institutions and colleges across Houston offer volunteer pet sitting services, even with less than a week of lead time. Visit the group’s website and fill out the request form. htxcovidsitters.org
— Timothy Malcolm
4. If you are uninsured and in need of health care ...
... Contact the Hope Clinic. Being uninsured in the United States often leads people to skip out on seeking basic preventive care, but if ever there were a time to stay in tip-top shape, it’s now. Fortunately, the Hope Clinic, with its four Houston locations, is ready to help.
As a federally funded health center, the Asian American Health Coalition-founded community clinic won’t turn anyone away, says program management and outreach manager Asha Minix. For its uninsured patients (a quarter of everyone the clinic treats), it offers an income-based sliding-scale discount for treatment. To qualify, bring an I.D. and proof of income, like a pay stub or tax return.
All locations feature pediatric, OB/GYN, and primary care services, and specific locations also provide dental, vision, and behavioral health services as well. The staff of 18 full-time providers and 30 residents offers care in more than 30 languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, and Arabic. Plus, they are aware that navigating the systems to actually obtain various kinds of aids can be confusing, so “we provide wraparound services,” says Minix. Coordinators will assist patients with non-medical issues as well, like connecting the food insecure with local food pantries. hopechc.org
— Catherine Wendlandt
5. If you are a furloughed or laid-off server ...
... Get in touch with Southern Smoke. Since 2017 the Southern Smoke Foundation has been giving funds to hospitality industry workers needing emergency pay, which means it’s been busy during the pandemic. If you’re an out-of-work or furloughed food-and-drink worker and need money to pay bills, visit the Southern Smoke website to fill out an application form. southernsmoke.org
6. If you are in need groceries and are unable to go to a food distribution center ...
... Call Houston Justice’s Covid Outreach Helpline, which offers food deliveries and help with emergency food stamps, among other services. The hotline accepts calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. houstonjustice.org
7. If you are behind on your rent ...
... Start off by seeing if your landlord is open to a payment plan. “This is a good option if your landlord is willing, but keep records,” Dana Karni, managing attorney for Lone Star Legal Aid’s Eviction Rights to Counsel Unit, says. “If you reach an agreement to modify your lease, you want to be sure to get that in writing. You do not want to find yourself in a he-said she-said situation down the road.”
If you aren’t able to work something out, it’s not a bad idea to seek out legal counsel, Karni advises. From March to September 2020 only about 3 percent of the 13,573 eviction cases filed in Harris County had an attorney, Karni notes. If legal aid feels out of your financial reach, there are multiple resources for getting help in Houston, including the newly created Eviction Defense Coalition. Lone Star Legal Aid, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, South Texas College of Law, The Earl Carl Institute at TSU, and the University of Houston have partnered together to offer their legal services to help ensure defendants have access to qualified lawyers during this crisis
Even if you’re not sure you’re eligible, call the coalition’s Eviction Hotline (713-982-7340), she urges. Lone Star also offers free legal aid for those who qualify along with resources to represent yourself. No matter what route you take, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t the only person struggling with this right now, says Karni. “This problem is pervasive.” lonestarlegal.blog
— Denise Cathey
8. If you are suffering from Covid-19 and need care (or quarantine) ...
... Contact pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus’s downtown nonprofit Bread of Life. The nonprofit has served as a catch-all (and a blessing) for Houstonians impacted by Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic—distributing groceries and PPE while offering housing assistance, free mental health care, Covid testing, senior outreach, and then some—it’s little wonder they launched a community health arm, Covid-19 Connects, in April to protect our city’s most vulnerable. Through local partnerships, the initiative offers care and safe places to quarantine for Houstonians who require far more health care than the average person. But anyone can hop on its partnering app, Umanity, to find much-needed resources from food box deliveries to clinical services, too. Coolest of all? The Rasmuses’ efforts are funded in part by Beyoncé. covid19connects.com
— Gwendolyn Knapp
9. If you need mental health support ...
... Or just someone to talk to, call the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD’s free Covid-19 Support Line, which offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to individuals experiencing stress and anxiety related to the pandemic. More than half of American adults have reported that Covid-19 has taken a toll on their mental health, with one survey finding that 14 percent of those polled reported high levels of psychological distress. In other words, this is hard on everybody, so don’t feel bad for feeling bad. And if you need to talk to someone about it, this line is in operation 24/7. 833-986-1919, theharriscenter.org
10. If you are in need of Internet access ...
... Comcast is offering two months of free internet to low-income families through December 31. Every Friday, Comp-U-Dopt gives away a free, refurbished laptop to a Harris County student, enrolled in K-12, who doesn’t have a working device; the nonprofit also offers laptop giveaway programs for students in grades 3 through 8 and 9 through 12. Also check out WiFi Map, which can help you find a free internet connection in your neighborhood. internetessentials.com; compudopt.org; wifimap.io