Updated April 7, 2020
As of Tuesday, March 24, Communities United For Action's building is closed. Mary & Alison will be working remotely until April 30. Here's what we are doing to make sure we all stay connected:
- Our planned meetings will take place over the phone or online. We will send you emails for call-in numbers, agendas, and other details;
- We will use this time to dig in on the issues with you one-on-one and in small groups. We will use video conferencing as well as the old-fashioned telephone.
- We have developed a weekly Activist Tool-kit to help you make the most of your time at home. Remember, the virus doesn't stop Social Justice!
- We are hosting CUFA Community Chat each Wednesday for our members; and
- We've made a CUFA Facebook group, where CUFA members and the public can post information about our issues and share resources.
Mary & Alison will be available Monday - Friday by contacting CUFA at (513) 853-3947 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by emailing us directly. We will check the CUFA line at least 3 times each day. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Below are some updates and resources we've gathered to help keep you informed and safe. Locally, the Center for Closing the Health Gap published a comprehensive COVID-19 resources page with news and information you may also find helpful.
What if I lost my job due to Coronavirus prevention measures?
The State of Ohio has put emergency measures in place to protect workers displaced by prevention measures, such as the closure of bars & restaurants. If you've been displaced, gather your recent pay stubs and apply online for unemployment here. You can also apply by calling toll-free 1-877-644-6562 or TTY 1-614-387-8408, (excluding holidays) Monday through Friday 8 AM - 5 PM.
If you lost your full-time job in the restaurant industry, you may also be eligible for a grant from the Restaurant Strong Fund.
Who is hiring?
Fifth Third Bank announced they are hiring 1,000 new positions, including in Cincinnati. Learn more about their announcement from Fox 19 here. Search their career page here for job postings.
What if I miss utility payments?
Duke Energy suspended disconnections due to non-payment, effective March 13, 2020. Check out their FAQ page for updates here.
Greater Cincinnati Water Works has also suspended water shutoffs due to non-payment. They are asking people to pay bills online or call them, since they have closed their lobby. Check out GCWW's update here.
We encourage you to communicate with your utility companies to work out a payment plan if you get behind.
Community Action Agency has closed their offices, but are continuing to service clients. Check their website for instructions on how to apply for energy assistance and other programs.
What if I can't pay my rent or mortgage?
Currently, several local courts are suspending court proceedings, including hearing cases for evictions. See the WCPO article here, explaining what the courts are doing in response to the virus. If you are in the middle of eviction proceedings, look for mail to update you on your hearing in the future. If your landlord wants to file for eviction today, the earliest the case would be heard is May.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through April. According to The Hill, "The moratorium will apply only to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a HUD agency that backs affordable home loans issued through private firms." The Federal Housing Finance Agency also issued a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on housing insured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati is still accepting phone calls for assistance. Check out their "Get Help" page or give them a call at (513)241-9400.
How can I get my taxes done now?
The federal government and State of Ohio extended the income tax deadline to July 15. The United Way is offering free remote assistance to prepare taxes for qualifying individuals, as well as other resources for those who prefer to file on their own. Check out their tax assistance website here.
How can I help push for an economic bailout for working people and our communities?
Communities United For Action is a local affiliate of People's Action, a national network of organizations fighting for social, economic and environmental justice. People's Action launched the People's Bailout website to push our national leaders to take action on 5 demands:
Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions.
Provide economic relief directly to the people.
Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives.
Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises.
Protect our democratic process while protecting each other.
Each week, CUFA will post an Activist Tool-kit here with the most timely actions you can take from home.
What if my kids are required to do online learning and I don't have internet access?
If you are low-income and do not have internet access at home, Spectrum has an "Internet Assist" program for discounted WIFI. Right now, they are offering 60 days free and waiving the installation charge for low-income households with K-12 children or college students. This WCPO article has more information on Spectrum's announcement. Spectrum's phone number is 1-844-488-8395.
Are City Council and Hamilton County Commissioners meetings still happening?
Yes, for now.
The City of Cincinnati passed these emergency measures Monday, March 16, 2020. Several administrative board meetings are suspended for 30 days, but City Council will still conduct business. Council meetings are currently not open to the public, except by watching CitiCable. Public comments can be emailed to the Clerk of Council before each meeting, to be read aloud to the Council before the meetings.
Hamilton County Commissioners meetings are televised as well and archived on the Hamilton County, Ohio Youtube channel. Spectrum channel 4 and Cincinnati Bell channel 834 also televise live meetings. Hamilton County Commissioners are urging residents to watch the live televised hearings. Public comments can be submitted here.
Will the City of Cincinnati still maintain services?
The Department of Public Services is suspending some operations, but still maintaining essential city services like trash collection. See the City's update here.
Where do I find the latest health information and advisories on COVID-19/Coronavirus?
What do I do if I am sick?
The Ohio Department of Health has established a call call center to answer your questions about COVID-19, open 9 AM to 8 PM every day: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH
Local and regional hospitals are setting up testing sites, but make sure to call your doctor. Testing sites are requiring a doctor's note currently, and an appointment. See The Enquirer's update on local Coronavirus testing here.