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A quick and dirty list of places where you should and SHOULDN’T look for help during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- Don’t bother with the Tampa Bay Housing Authority – their website is useless in this situation even though it’s the first one that comes up on Google.
- DO call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at (813)-234-1234 and follow the instructions on the automated message to connect with a specialist who can talk you through ways to pay back rent and other housing assistance. It’s a long wait on the hotline right now (understandably) but stay on the line cause they’re so nice and helpful when you do get a person. I got some awesome info from the lovely Paige when I called 🙂
- Check out this pretty comprehensive list of resources for rental assistance in the Tampa Bay Area. It includes contact information for Metropolitan Ministries, the local Catholic Diocese, and DCF all of which can assist you with rental and financial issues.
- Get a lawyer. Because for some reason there are landlords out there who want to make people pay rent when they literally have NO MONEY. I know right – Wtf!!?? If your landlord is one of those assholes, he/she might be breaking the law by insisting money from you in this tough time. Bay Area Legal Services can help you. Their offices are closed right now but you can always reach them by phone and electronic correspondence.
- Help your representative get the Families First Coronavirus Act passed as quickly as possible. It’s the first of hopefully a lot of legislation that will help people stay afloat in really uncertain times. Call your congressman, email your Senator, take the time – I mean what else you got going on? Check the progress of the bill and find out how to contact your representatives here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=90c2b217-6168-418f-a91f-f1513c01eeb
- Feeding Tampa Bay is always, always there to help even in the absolute toughest of times. They have over 700 member pantries in the Tampa Bay area, mobile food pantries, and a boatload of connections to people who can find you food. Check out their website at http://feedingtampabay.org/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=feeding%20tampa%20bay&utm_campaign=paid&gclid=Cj0KCQjwjcfzBRCHARIsAO-1_OoFjK8t60vXoNDY8D85-5Zw8BgqcYhTIhEis5R7haL1RAYu_ybvOy8aAsfWEALw_wcB
- Petition the Department of Child and Family Services (as well as the State Government and Congress) to modify and activate the D-SNAP program. D-SNAP is an emergency food stamp program with ultra relaxed rules used during hurricanes and natural disasters to help the greater community. Unfortunately it can’t be activated by the local government until the act is modified to include a Pandemic Situation. You can find out more on how to help here: https://frac.org/blog/preparing-for-the-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-on-health-well-being-and-food-security
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