OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many people in the Metro are scrambling amid the spread of the coronavirus. To make things easier, many local organizations are stepping up to give aid. We'll keep track of resources available to people in the area here.
FOR RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS IN IOWA
DES MOINES – Governor Reynolds announced an additional allocation of CARES Act funds to support Iowa renters and homeowners at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program has now been allocated a total of $37.4 million, with approximately $8 million remaining available. The deadline to apply for rent and mortgage assistance as well as utility assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention program is Dec. 4, 2020.
“At no fault of their own, many Iowans are struggling to pay their bills as a result of lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Today’s announcement bolsters the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program, which is helping Iowa homeowners and renters make their rent or mortgage payments. Our team will continue to assist Iowans in accessing this critical assistance as the Dec. 4th deadline approaches.”
“Nearly 11,000 renters and 500 homeowners have received assistance with their rent or mortgage payments and another 2,800 have applied for utility assistance to date,” said IEDA and IFA Executive Director Debi Durham. “Our goal is to assist as many Iowans that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are at-risk of eviction, foreclosure or utility disruption as possible.”
The programs are funded through federal CARES Act funds, which requires that all funds be expended by Dec. 30, 2020.
To be eligible for either program:
• Must have a documented COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020.
• Household income at the time of application may not exceed 80% median family income, which varies by county and household size and is included in the applications.
Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program
The program provides current renters and homeowners who are at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19 loss of income with rent or mortgage assistance for up to four months. The total maximum in assistance per household is the lesser of $3,200 for rental assistance and $3,600 for mortgage assistance or four months actual rent/mortgage payment amounts. Payments are made directly to landlords and mortgage servicers and applied to the applicant’s account.
The state has allocated $37.4 million of federal CARES Act funds to the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program to date.
Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program
The program provides eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments are made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account.
The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for utility assistance programs.
For a full list of eligibility requirements and to apply for either program, visit iowahousingrecovery.comthrough Dec. 4, 2020.
COVID-19 ARTS AND CULTURAL RECOVERY IN IOWA
Gov. Reynolds Announces COVID-19 Arts & Cultural Recovery ProgramIowa Department of Cultural Affairs to grant $7 million for relief
DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs today announced the launch of an Iowa Arts & Cultural Recovery Program. The statewide grant program will provide short-term relief to arts venues, cultural organizations and creative workers who have lost significant business or income due to the pandemic.
“Art, history, culture and creativity are vital to Iowa communities and further promote our overall quality of life,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Right now, many cultural venues are financially at risk and this program will provide new resources to help them adapt their operations, maintain jobs, and re-open safely as we return to a new normal.”
The state has allocated $7 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for the Iowa Arts & Cultural Recovery Program. The statewide program, an extension of the Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund, is offered through the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and will be administered by two of its divisions, the Iowa Arts Council and the State Historical Society of Iowa.
The Iowa Arts & Culture Recovery Program will provide relief grants ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 for arts and cultural organizations struggling to make up for reduced admissions, ticket sales, and other revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also will provide relief grants for eligible Iowa artists who are experiencing financial hardship and can demonstrate lost revenue and/or increased expenditures due to the ongoing public health emergency.
“We are grateful to Governor Reynolds for recognizing and valuing the importance of arts and culture by preserving jobs and supporting operations at destinations across the state,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. “Even though the arts and cultural sector has served Iowans in innovative new ways this year – through virtual learning, outdoor performances and online concerts – these new grants are necessary to sustain Iowa’s museums, performing arts theaters, music venues, and an entire industry that is critical to Iowa’s long-term goals of workforce development, creative placemaking and tourism.”
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs opens the Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund to new applications on Dec. 1. Nonprofit cultural organizations, eligible music venues and individual artists may apply to the program through Dec. 11.
Grant funds may be used to offset lost revenue from closures, canceled events or business interruptions and applied to the costs of facilities, payroll and other eligible expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020. Grant funds also may be used for expenses associated with reopening, adopting COVID-19 cleaning and safety measures, or adapting programs to virtual formats.
Grant applications and a full list of eligibility requirements can be found online at iowaculture.gov [lnks.gd]. Application questions should be directed to Veronica O’Hern, the Iowa Arts Council’s grant services and artist program manager, at email@example.com.
To help explain the application guidelines, the Iowa Arts Council will offer a pair of one-hour webinars on Friday, Dec. 4 – one at 10 a.m. for organizations and music venues [lnks.gd], and another at 2 p.m. for individual artists [lnks.gd]. Interested participants are encouraged to pre-register for the webinars at iowaculture.gov.
The Iowa Arts Council staff also will be available to answer questions during virtual office hours Dec. 7-11.
MASKS/GROCERIES/SNAP BENEFITS FOR NE RESIDENTS
Additional Supplemental SNAP Funds to be Issued January 8
Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be issuing emergency supplemental allotments to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who receive benefits for the month of December on January 8. On November 5, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, DHHS would file a request with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutritional Service (FNS) to provide emergency allotment funds for Nebraska households that are receiving SNAP benefits. As previously announced, emergency supplemental allotments for the month of November will be issued to eligible SNAP households on December 8.
SNAP recipients will not have to take any action to receive supplemental support as recipients will be issued increased benefits directly on their EBT cards. Households receiving SNAP benefits will see supplements to their benefits based on a maximum allotment scale. If there are four individuals in a household and that household is currently receiving $500 in benefits, the supplement will raise their benefits to the maximum allowed for households of four, which is $680 per month – or an increase of $180. Total benefits will be different based on each household’s regular monthly allotment for the month in which they qualify for benefits.
Household Size - Maximum Size Allotment
Assistance with rent, mortgage payments, utility payments, groceries, telehealth, phones and more
Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska has been awarded $1.9 million in Community CARES Response & Recovery funding to help those Nebraskans impacted by COVID-19.
The statewide effort will provide direct support to individuals and families in need of assistance for such things as overdue rent or mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure, utility payments, groceries, and smart phones or tablets to be used to access needed Telehealth services, and for school-aged youth to access online school platforms.
For complete details, you can find the https://www.lfsneb.org/2020/08/27/people-impacted-by-covid-19-now-have-further-resources-to-help/.
Free Masks in Douglas County
Free cloth masks are available Monday through Friday at the Douglas County office building at 1111 South 41st Street from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Simply go to the security desk and ask the guard for your mask.
CARES Act utility assistance funds available for Douglas County residents
Metropolitan Utilities District and Omaha Public Power District customers in Douglas County, struggling to pay their bills due to COVID-19 impacts, may now apply for utility assistance from a federally funded program.
In July, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $4 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for utility assistance.
Funding is administered through Dollar Energy Fund and local agencies. Customers may apply for assistance through a secure online portal at: dollarenergy.org/MyApp/.
Those who need help through the application process may contact a partner agency or call 1.888.650.9132 to hear a list of the partnering agencies.
M.U.D. customers are encouraged to visit mudomaha.com/covid19relief for more information, including eligibility guidelines, documentation requirements and additional utility assistance programs.
OPPD customers may visit oppd.com/eap for more information on CARES Act and other energy assistance programs.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Hope and Help Are Available To Prevent Suicide
LINCOLN, Neb. (DHHS) - Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, as well as other public health events, can cause emotional distress and anxiety. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or powerless is common during an epidemic or pandemic. These feelings of distress and anxiety can occur even if you are not at high risk of getting sick.
However, as COVID-19 spreads on, secondary outcomes of the pandemic—such as economic stress—are colliding with depression and a rising suicide risk. Suicide is a tragic reaction to a stressful life situation. It may seem like there’s no way to solve your problem or address your pain, but reaching out can help you regain your perspective and help you cope with life better.
“No matter how much pain you’re experiencing right now, you’re not alone,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Feeling suicidal doesn’t mean that you are weak or flawed. It only means that you feel hopeless in the moment. There is a way back to feeling normal again and there are people who want to help you get there. With time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and help keep you safe. If you, a loved one, or someone you know feels suicidal, please seek help immediately. Let’s save the lives of Nebraskans.”
Warning signs of suicide include:
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Aggressive and/or anxious behavior
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawal from friends, family and community
- Dramatic mood swings
- Impulsive or reckless behavior
Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If have a friend or loved one engaged in any of the following, of if you recognize these symptoms in yourself, please seek help:
- Giving away possessions
- Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- If you are near any items that you are thinking about using to hurt yourself, put them away and out of reach. If you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs, stop. It will only make you feel more out of control.
- To keep yourself from feeling suicidal, get the help and treatment you need, build your support network with friends, family, your minister or pastor, and support groups.Take one step at a time.
Warning signs aren't always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret. Just like signs of a stroke or heart attack, know the warning signs of suicide to save a life. Mental Health First Aid and Question, Persuade, Prefer (QPR) classes teach participants how to interact with a person who is suicidal. The next sessions are as follows:
- Mental Health First Aid virtual session will be held on Dec.15. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07egu2ksoe857aebb2&oseq=&c=&ch [link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com]
- Question, Persuade, Refer course will be held January 8 at noon. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eh1t1ys6ca6a8913&oseq=&c=&ch [link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com]
- A youth-focused Mental Health First Aid course will be held on January 12. For more information or to register, visit https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07eh1t65zd62a10b66&oseq=&c=&ch [link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com]
If someone is imminently threatening suicide and has the access and the means to do so, call 911.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis?
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
- Nebraska Family Helpline, (888) 866-8660. They can engage Crisis Response Teams
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
Hotlines for those suffering mental illness during the pandemic:
- The Nebraska Family Helpline at 1-888-866-8660.
- The Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Behavioral health resources available for Douglas County residents during COVID-19 pandemic
There’s no doubt about it, the COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of people on edge. It’s an uncertain time, causing stress, anxiety and fear. People are worried about contracting the virus, protecting vulnerable populations, financial setbacks, schoolwork at home for students and many more. Fortunately, there are organizations ready to assist Douglas County residents and ease some of those concerns.
“There are resources out there for you, so please do not hesitate to use them,” said Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson. “We do not want people to panic. We want people to take this seriously and take care of their whole selves."
Here are free behavioral health resources available for the public:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress
Talk with a counselor, a doctor, or a clergy member anytime of the day or week. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Interpreters are available as well.
Messaging: text TalkWithUs to 66746. More information: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
Boys Town National Hotline
The Boys Town National Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is staffed by specially trained Boys Town counselors. This is a great resource for parents/caregivers and families.
Hotline: 1-800-448-3000. Email for speech- and hearing-impaired: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information: https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx
The Nebraska Family Helpline
A great resource for families concerned about a youth experiencing mental or behavioral health issues. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Helpline: 1-888-866-8660 More information: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Nebraska-Family-Helpline.aspx
Sarpy County Sheriff's Office offers help with grocery pickup:
Starting today, people who are sick, elderly, or caretakers of this demographic in Sarpy County may call the Sarpy County Sheriff Helpline at 402-593-1593 for needs such as picking up prescriptions, groceries, or other necessities. A uniformed Sarpy County Sheriff’s Deputy will pick up and deliver medications, food, or other necessities in a marked police cruiser. This helpline may also be utilized by the general public to make a non-emergency police report via telephone.
Medical Care Networks in the region offering answers to your questions:
Methodist Health System - The Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline is staffed every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Operators can address questions about the disease, connect you to your county health department or discuss concerns about exposure.
Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at (402) 815-7425 (SICK).
Iowans experiencing any type of legal problem due to the pandemic, such as facing eviction, being denied unemployment benefits, experiencing employment issues, or being a victim of identity theft, can call 1-800-332-0419.