BROOKLYN COVID-19 Resource Guide

Last update: May 3, 2021

The following list of resources for Brooklyn residents is updated regularly and verified by United for Brownsville. It’s organized by category.

Physical Well-being

Food

  • Refer a Brownsville Resident in need: Receive over $150 in food groceries delivered to their house bi-weekly. Food deliveries consist of fresh vegetables, meat, starches, and breakfast food. Please have residents complete this interest form to receive services. We only have space for 50 residents a week so space is limited.
  • Plentiful – App, website, and text message tool with locations of food pantries all over NYC and the USA. Use this app to help your client find a food pantry that is stocked, open and near where they live
  • NeON Nutrition Kitchens – Opportunity Network (NeON) Nutrition Kitchens, in partnership with the Food Bank of NYC and the NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) is offering one week of free groceries are available to all New Yorkers in five boroughs at the Neighborhood.

Medical help and medication

Health insurance

Apply for coverage through NY State of Health by phone at 1-855-355-5777. At the NY State of Health website you can also request individual help. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus.

Medical support via phone or video visit

  • Teladoc – video and phone visits through a national service.
  • NY Health and Hospital provides care to all workers. Immigration status and insurance status does not matter. If you need help, get help, 1-844-692-4692.

Free delivery of medication

  • CVS  is offering free home delivery of medication and essential supplies. There are three steps to getting delivery:
    1. Sign up for text alerts or the CVS app
    2. Have a medical provider fill your prescription
    3. Wait for a text or app alert that your prescription is ready and request home delivery

COVID-19 testing

What types of tests can I get?: There are two types of tests available for COVID-19: testing for current infections usually done with a nasal swab, and testing for antibodies, usually done with a blood test. Antibodies indicate that you were previously infected with COVID-19. Most testing locations will do both tests in one visit.

How long does it take to get results?: Due to national shortages of supplies and tests, some test results at some locations are severely delayed by as much as two weeks. Previously, results were often available within 2-3 days. A two-week delay in testing does not help you make timely decisions about protecting yourself and others. We recommend calling ahead to ask how long it will take to get results and choosing a site with a shorter turnaround time.

Where can I get tested?

  • Free walk-in options for all New Yorkers:
    • Community testing sites operated by NYC Health + Hospitals offer free testing to all New Yorkers on a walk-in basis, with no appointment necessary.
    • CityMD offers two types of testing for free testing at any location on a walk-in basis, seven days per week. Note: Current turnaround times for test results at CityMD are quite delayed, often up to two weeks as of August 2020.
    • In addition to  these two options, some but not all of the sites searchable through NYS Department of Health are offering free walk-in testing to all New Yorkers.
  • Testing Search: The NYS Department of Health offers an expansive search tool to find a COVID-19 testing center near you. Alternately, you may call 1-888-364-3065 to make an appointment for a coronavirus test. Before you choose a site, ask the following questions:
    • Is the test free, covered by insurance, or fee-based?
    • Do I need a screening or prescription before I get tested, or can I walk in?
    • Do I need to show symptoms of COVID-19, be an essential worker, or meet any other standard to be eligible for testing?
  • NYC Test and Trace Hotline: Call 1-212-COVID19 or 1-212-268-4319, a centralized place for information about COVID testing and the City’s contact tracing program. 
  • For children under 18: Many sites will not offer testing for children under 18 without a doctor’s prescription. If you would like to have your child tested, ask your testing site ahead of time or contact your child’s pediatrician for advice first.
  • Contact your doctor: With the increasing availability of COVID-19 testing, your primary care provider may offer testing on-site or be able to refer you somewhere, potentially with a quick turnaround time.
  • For New Yorkers with symptoms or questions about COVID-19, connect to a medical provider free of charge, 9am to 9pm: call 1-844-NYC-4NYC

Caring for someone with coronavirus

  • CDC, “COVID-19: Caring for Someone with COVID-19 at Home”
  • NYTimes, “How to Care for Someone with Coronavirus”
  • CDC, “10 Things You Can Do to Manage Your Symptoms at Home”
    • For access to this information in Spanish, click here.
    • For access to this information in Chinese, click here.
  • USA Today, “How to Safely Take Care of Someone Sick with the Coronavirus”
  • NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H) is making hotel rooms available for New Yorkers who may need to self-isolate because they have COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms, but their homes do not allow for them to stay six feet away from others, or they live with someone who is vulnerable. Call 1-844-NYC-4NYC (1844-692-4692) and press “0”

Stable and safe housing

  • For information only
    • NYCourts.Gov: Eviction and Housing Court Suspension – Operating plan for NYC civil court during COVID-19 health crisis, providing official guidance on housing court proceedings right now
    • NYC Tenants Resource Portal – A simple, question-and-answer based platform that pulls info from city, state, and federal sources to give you the information you need

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Domestic violence

Based on your answer, it may be helpful to reach out confidentially to one of the services below. Because of the stress and extra time at home, many people are experiencing increased domestic violence and strife.

  • SafeHorizon – If you need immediate help from an advocate please call one of our 24-hour Hotlines (se habla español), 1-800-621-4673

Mental Health

How are you feeling?

Based on your answers, you may benefit from talking to a mental health professional about how you are feeling. A qualified mental health professional is experienced in helping New Yorkers through difficult times in life and keeping everything confidential. Some services are available remotely.

Are you experiencing violence, threats, or emotional abuse at home?

Based on your answer, it may be helpful to reach out confidentially to one of the services below. Because of the stress and extra time at home, many people are experiencing increased domestic violence and strife.

Social Well-being

Internet access for social connection, working, learning, and health

  • NYC DOE Technology Request – Households with school-age children without internet access, computers, or tablets should request internet-connected learning devices from the NYC DOE.
  • All other internet issues – Call 311 to report any issues with internet connectivity.
    • This includes problems signing up for or receiving installation of phone or internet service for reasons related to debts, credit, and past due bills.
    • Request that your information be sent to the Department of Information, Technology & Telecommunications (NYC DoITT, which can help you troubleshoot.
    • If call wait times are longer than usual and you have access to the internet and a device, consider texting 311-692 or using the 311 portal for help.

Volunteering to stay connected and help out during the pandemic

  • Central Brooklyn Mutual Aid – Volunteers offering to run errands, purchase food, or share services
  • Equality Flatbush – A mutual aid group addressing community needs in Flatbush and nearby neighborhoods during the pandemic
  • Help Now NYC – Volunteer companies mobilizing on the state level
  • NYC EDC – Volunteer to create or donate COVID supplies from scratch
  • Call 311 if you are having difficulty knowing which services you are eligible for, how to access services, or any related issues. If call wait times are longer than usual and you have access to the internet and a device, consider texting 311-692 or using the 311 portal for help.
  • Many people who have been impacted by COVID-19 qualify for benefits to help them buy groceries, get health care, or get financial support to make up for lost income. See what support you might be eligible for here.
  • If you would like our team to refer you to a partner or contact you directly, request help here.

Economic Well-being

Money, benefits, and workplace concerns

Bank account

There are many fee-free checking accounts available. Many of these are online and include physical check deposit via your cell phone and reimbursements of ATM fees. Some also include physical locations. One frequently updated list of such accounts is here.

Stimulus checks

  • U.S. citizens and resident aliens who meet income requirements and who cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return are generally eligible. Every American adult earning less than $75,000 (or couples earning less than $150,000) is eligible for a stimulus check from the federal government. Check your eligibility, find out when you should receive a stimulus check, and update your information with the IRS here.
  • The IRS stressed that there is no additional action required for eligible individuals—eligible taxpayers who filed in 2019 will receive automatic payments. Payments are also automatic for people who did not file 2019 taxes and received Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits.

If you did receive your your stimulus check

  • Recovery Rebate Credit – The Recovery Rebate Credit is a tax credit against your 2020 income tax. Generally, this credit will increase the amount of your tax refund or decrease the amount of the tax you owe. If you did not receive your first stimulus check (or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the credit, even if you don’t normally file taxes. Eligible individuals who did not receive the full amounts of both Economic Impact Payments may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
  • Check your eligibility, find out when (direct deposit or mail) you should receive a stimulus check, and update your information with the IRS here.

Your bank is withholding money from your stimulus check

Three organizations that may help are:

  • NYC Consumer Help Finder – If you are having a consumer problem, live in New York, and need free legal information or assistance, you may be able to find help here.
  • Take Root Justice – Email workerintake@takerootjustice.org for assistance if you believe you are facing a consumer or workers’ rights issue related to the coronavirus pandemic, including issues around your stimulus check. Here is a helpful Fact Sheet on CARES Act that can also help.
  • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has attorneys and staff who may be able to assist you. Visit their Get Help page, click on Consumer Protection, and follow the instructions to book an online appointment.

Workplace accommodations during the pandemic

Your boss or employer is requiring you to work in ways that violate New York State laws regarding coronavirus

    • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has attorneys and staff who may be able to assist you. Visit their Get Help page, click on Employment Law, and follow the instructions to book an online appointment.
  • NYC Worker Rights: If you believe an employer is violating either existing labor laws or recently issued executive orders contact 311 or the New York State Attorney General at (212) 416-8700 or email Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov to file a complaint.

You are unemployed

You may be eligible for traditional unemployment assistance and a new form of unemployment benefits created by New York State specifically for the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is for those who would not normally qualify for unemployment benefits. That includes some categories of individuals who were self-employed, contractors, who quit work around the time of the coronavirus pandemic to provide care for family members, and those who were looking for work when the pandemic happened. Find out more and apply for assistance.
  • NYS Unemployment Insurance – After an outcry over inaccessible phone lines, long waits, and processing delays, New York State released a new website for submitting unemployment claims online in May.

Are you looking for employment right now?

You may be eligible for public benefits now even if you were not previously eligible.

  • HRA – HRA is referring as many clients as possible to its ACCESSHRA web portal to sign up for SNAP (“food stamps” or EBT), Cash Assistance, Medicaid, Home Energy Assistance (HEAP), and Fair Fares (MTA).
    • If you do not have internet access: Call 311 or the HRA infoline 718-557-1399. There is also one in-person enrollment office per borough. Recertifications are postponed during the crisis for existing clients.
  • NYS Unemployment Insurance – After an outcry over inaccessible phone lines, long waits, and processing delays, New York State released a new website for submitting unemployment claims online in May.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is for those who would not normally qualify for unemployment benefits. That includes some categories of individuals who quit work around the time of the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps to provide childcare, and those who were looking for work when the pandemic happened. Find out more and apply for assistance.
  • CARES Act (stimulus checks) via IRS – Register to receive your stimulus check if you have not paid taxes recently, track your payment, and find out more information about this plan.
  • Assistance for individuals – the City of New York has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. The linked resources will be updated frequently.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits – You can use your SNAP benefits to shop online for fresh produce and groceries? Participating online stores now accept SNAP benefits for online orders and will deliver to you.

Interested in public benefits but concerned about immigration status

The following organizations may be able to safely answer your questions about immigration status.

  • Immigration Advocates at Medgar Evers College
  • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has attorneys and staff in its Immigrant Protection division who may be able to assist you. Visit their Get Help page and click on Immigration Issues or Financial Counseling and follow the instructions to book an online appointment.
  • Catholic Charities is operating its call center at (718) 722-600
  • CAMBA’s Immigration Legal Services group will make an appointment with you on their hotline at 718-287-0010.

Questions about debt and payment

Are you concerned about paying for bills right now?


Most companies are offering special programs and considerations for customers who are struggling to make payments due to the pandemic and its economic consequences.

It is highly recommended to contact each company directly to discuss the availability of options such as deferring payments, waiving late fees, discounted programs, and other benefits you may be eligible for.

This process can be time-consuming but effective.

Are you concerned about paying off student loans right now?

  • Student Loan Debt Tips During COVID-19: If you are currently repaying student loans, please note that federal student loan borrowers were automatically placed on deferment of payments and interest from April 2020 – October 2020. This deferment may have different long-term and short-term impacts on borrowers depending on your specific circumstances, and it may be wise to talk to a loan counselor or your loan provider directly to understand its impact on you.
  • Two organizations that may be able to provide direct counseling about student loan debt and repayment are:
    • Take Root Justice: email workerintake@takerootjustice.org for assistance if you believe you are facing a workers’ rights issue related to the coronavirus pandemic.
    • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has attorneys and staff who may be able to assist you. Visit their Get Help page, click on Financial Counseling,  and follow the instructions to book an online appointment.
  • You may apply online to suspend collection of student loan debt through the office of Leticia James, NYS Attorney General.

Loans and grants

  • Small Business Grant – United for Brownsville (UB) has created a $50,000 grant targeted at providing relief to essential small businesses that serve young children in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Apply by May 2, 2021.

 

  • Second Draw PPP Loan
    • Determine if you are eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan
    • If you are eligible, you can apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan from January 13, 2021, until March 31, 2021. SBA is currently accepting Second Draw PPP loan applications from participating lenders. http://bit.ly/PPPLender can help connect you with a lender. You can download the following PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender: http://bit.ly/PPPBorrowerApplicationForm
  • Reopening NYC Businesses
    • Find out when and how you can safely reopen your non-essential business
    • Guidance and resources to safely reopen your bar or restaurant
    • Get free face coverings and find non-medical PPE for you and your employees
  • The NY Chamber of Commerce and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce are guiding business owners through grants and opportunities like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which provides low-interest loans and grants to help businesses retain employees on their payroll.
  • If you are not a member of a chamber of commerce, contact your business bank directly to discuss the PPP and other opportunities they might have, including reduced or waived fees and extensions or deferrals on payments.
  • SCORE is a business mentoring program that is operating remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. They may be able to match you with an experienced professional to advise you on maintaining your business through the crisis.

 

Emergency assistance

  • Amazon Gift Card: Open to any Brownsville Resident who is in need of baby supplies like pampers, baby food, and formula or in need of PPE supplies like face masks, Clorox wipes, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Complete this form if interested: Click here!

Information and guidance during COVID

Family plans and supports in case of illness: guidelines

  • CDC, “COVID-19: Caring for Someone with COVID-19 at Home”
  • NYTimes, “How to Care for Someone with Coronavirus”
  • CDC, “10 Things You Can Do to Manage Your Symptoms at Home”
    • For access to this information in Spanish, click here.
    • For access to this information in Chinese, click here.
  • USA Today, “How to Safely Take Care of Someone Sick with the Coronavirus”

Current events, news and information

  • Johns Hopkins – Regularly updated map tracking coronavirus cases worldwide.

Children’s Needs

Remote access for learning

Childcare

  • Care Finder NYC– Through Care Finder NYC, parents can find childcare options and providers can advertise their programs, including real-time availability. Our platform allows providers to receive inquiries directly from families seeking care.
  • DOE Childcare: Learning Bridges – Learning Bridges is a new program that will provide free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. If you are interested in the Learning Bridges program, please visit the link to learn more and complete the survey.

 

Quality at home learning activities (need internet access to view but not to do)

  • Due to limited supply, LL@H kits are only available via UB Trusted Messengers. Interested in becoming a Learning Landscapes Trusted Messenger? Keep reading – Learning Landscapes At-Home kits include activity cards crafted by our Family Advisory Board, a sensory play MarliBox and 10 books. We’d love for PAT members who interact with families regularly to distribute 5-10 kits to Brownsville families. Interested? Complete the interest form
  • The Cut: 28 Indoor Activities for Kids – Includes physical, art activities, games, etc.
  • Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project – Activities and videos for children of all ages that encourage musical learning, discovery, and play.
  • Staples – free 50 B&W Prints, free 30 minute computer workstation, scanning and faxing up to $30 free

Quality remote learning activities

  • Become a Learning Landscapes Trusted Messenger! – Learning Landscapes At-Home kits include activity cards crafted by our Family Advisory Board, a sensory play MarliBox, and 10 books. We’d love for PAT members who interact with families regularly to distribute 5-10 kits to Brownsville families. Interested? Complete the interest form!
  • Brooklyn Public Library Virtual Programming – The list of activities isn’t just limited to kids but does include daily virtual story time, programs like Brainy Babies, and more. Sort activities by the age of your child … or adult.
  • BrainPOP – Animated videos with educational activities and interactive quizzes aligned to state standards. Good for upper elementary to middle school. Free for families during COVID-19 outbreak
  • PBS Learning Media – Free website with thousands of video clips, activities, and games, etc. from PBS stations and shows.
  • Sesame Street in Communities – Toolkits for parents and caregivers to help young children with literacy, social-emotional skills, and family challenges including foster care, homelessness, parental addiction, etc.
  • DocsTeach – Free educational site from the National Archives. Educational activities using primary sources from American History. Good for middle school – high school.
  • Storyline Online – Actors read online books to children

More Information & Support

Having concerns, challenges or difficulties accessing services or meeting needs

It may seem too obvious, but call 311 to ask for help for yourself or a client navigating any essential service during the coronavirus crisis.

311 is positioned to assist with many evolving issues, including issues in all of the categories covered on this page. 311 may also be able to help with issues beyond city services, including consumer services, internet access, signing up for benefits, etc.

If call wait times are longer than usual and you have access to the internet and a device, consider texting 311-692 for help or visiting their online portal.

You want someone to get in touch with you regarding your concerns