Veterans Mutual Aid - NYC Metro

Updated 7/20/20 - Since mid-March, veteran volunteers and NYC Veterans Alliance staff have been helping veterans and their families with the realities they're facing during this pandemic. Whether it's an emergency hotel stay when housing programs fail, or nutritious groceries when they're too expensive or unavailable, or help with overdue essential bills, or just a knowledgeable, friendly fellow veteran to check in with -- we want to be there for you. Please let us know what you need by filling out our Veterans Mutual Aid Request Form:

You can also call us at 929-265-4549. You've asked us questions--and we want to help with answers. Here's the latest updated information:

Help for Tenants / Housing Instability

New York COVID Rent Relief Program  Now through July 30 you can apply for a one-time rental subsidy that will be sent directly to your landlord. Applicants will not need to repay this assistance. 

Send Your Landlord Notice - If you can't pay rent right now, send your landlord notice as soon as possible. In New York and other states, governors have put some rent relief measures in place. In New York, Gov. Cuomo announced an extended moratorium on evictions until August 20th. Our friends at JustFix.NYC have worked with nonprofits across the country to create a new tool to help you for FREE with sending notice to your landlord citing the legal protections that apply to where you live. The tool will also put you in touch with legal and advocacy resources in your area who can help you get the relief you need. Some other resources:

Evictions and Coronavirus FAQs by New York Legal Assistance Group

Tenants Rights Hotline by Met Council - 212-979-0611 (ingles y espanol) or more info

Report attempted evictions - Anyone with knowledge of City marshals attempting to execute on warrants of eviction can report this activity by calling DOI’s Bureau of City Marshals at (212) 825-5953.

Get Help from the NYC Public Advocate - Are you experiencing wrongdoing by a landlord or government agency? The Public Advocate is working during COVID-19 to help New Yorkers resolve complaints. 

Sue your Landlord for Repairs and/or Harassment Through an Emergency HP Action Proceeding - Due to the covid-19 pandemic, Housing Courts in New York City are only accepting cases for the following conditions, or others that threaten the health and safety of your household, including: no gas, no heat, no hot water, lead-based paint, vacate order issued, toilet not working, or harassing you. 

Affordable Apartment Primer - Housing is a top concern for all New Yorkers, and finding solutions for your specific situation can be very challenging, so we'll cut to the chase--there's no easy answers in NYC right now, and there are hundreds of veterans who are currently homeless (the vast majority in shelters) and unable to find permanent housing. Evictions are suspended for 90 days (see above), but that may not end your worries.

If you have a tough-to-solve situation, reach out to us at hello@nycveteransalliance.org or 929-265-4549 and we'll do our best to help you find solutions. 

Help for Homeowners

Mortgage Relief - New York State has issued guidance to mortgage providers to provide relief to homeowners impacted by COVID-19. 

Utilities Relief - Utility companies are suspending shutoff of utility services in both New York and New Jersey.

NYC Comptroller Resources for Homeowners - Check out this comprehensive listing of relief policies and ways to get help.

IRS Relief

Economic Impact Payments - Did you get your $1,200 payment from the IRS? If not, go here to find out how to ensure you receive this: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

Help with Unemployment

Unemployment Relief - New York State has waived the 7-day waiting period for anyone needing to file a claim for unemployment insurance as a result of COVID-19 closures and quarantines. As in, you can file as soon as you find yourself out of work. 

What NY Workers Need to Know and Do About the CARES Act

Info About Pandemic Unemployment Insurance

Job Opportunities - Check out our listing of job resources and opportunities. 

Help for Businesses

Relief for NYC Small Businesses - NYC is providing relief measures for qualifying small businesses.

Food/Grocery Assistance

Grab & Go Meals - As of 4/3/20, the City of New York offers 3 free grab-and-go meals for K-12 students AND adults at the locations that are already serving meals every day for students. You can text FOOD to 877-877 to find the location nearest you. Vegetarian and halal/kosher meals are available. 

NYC Emergency Food Delivery Assistance - The City of New York is providing assistance to New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis by delivering meals to those who cannot access food themselves.

Nutrition Kitchen Free Groceries - NYC's Neighborhood Opportunity Network operates Nutrition Kitchens in all five boroughs, where you can pick up free, nutritious groceries. 

FoodHelp.NYC - Apply for food assistance benefits and view a map of food pantries and community kitchens. Or call 866-888-8777 or 311 for information on locations and hours to get immediate help with food in NYC.

Get Food NYC - The NYC Department of Sanitation has a new mapping app to show free food distribution locations closest to where you live. Just enter your address and scroll over the dots nearby your home! 

Plentiful App - The United Way has developed a free app for any smartphone that will show you food pantries open near you. Just text "FOOD" to PANTRY (726-879) from any phone for the link to download it. 

Invisible Hands - If you need grocery delivery--whether you can pay for it or not--you can place a request for delivery from an all-volunteer startup in NYC.

God's Love We Deliver - Apply for you or your loved one to receive meal delivery from a nonprofit serving individuals living with chronic illnesses or disabilities. 

Meals on Wheels - Meals on Wheels focuses on caring for individuals whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, prepare meals or socialize with others. Generally programs serve adults 60 and over, although age requirements can vary by program and areas served. 

Free Baby Formula - WIC members can have baby formula delivered FREE to all New York City boroughs. Dial 718-405-9111

Family Services of Westchester - FSW serves older adults 60+ who need shopping and doorstep delivery of groceries in Westchester and southern Putnam County. Seniors can inquire about receiving grocery or medication deliveries by calling 914-242-7433 or email Karen Ganis at kganis@fsw.org.

Financial Assistance

What to Do If You Fall Behind - If you are facing falling behind on debts, mortgage payments, car payments, or are otherwise looking at debt collection or potential bankruptcy, you may want to look at credit counseling or debt relief services. Please read this information from the federal government on different ways to approach your situation. 

PenFed Foundation - PenFed is providing emergency cash assistance to qualifying veterans and military members. 

VFW Unmet Needs Grants - The VFW offers emergency cash assistance to qualifying veterans, military members, and families. 

NYC Cash Assistance - NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) has a program to assist with immediate cash needs. 

Wounded Warrior Project Grants - As of 4/9, WWP is offering cash grants to veterans who have been previously registered with the organization. 

DAV Grants - As of 4/13, Disabled American Veterans is offering grants of $250 to disabled veterans who are unemployed as a result of COVID-19. This includes self-employed veterans who are contractors and small business owners. 

Semper Fi Fund - Semper Fi Fund has been providing meals and cash assistance to combat wounded veterans during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Operation First Response - Financial assistance is being provided for wounded servicemembers and veterans with a VA rating of 50% or higher.

USA Cares Veteran & Family Support System - Assistance is provided on a case by case basis. 

Modest Needs Grants - Modest Needs offers grants designed to promote the self-sufficiency of individuals and families who, because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance. Special consideration to persons living alone (single persons with no dependent children), veterans who have recently returned home from military service, teachers, and first responders.

Veterans Claims, Benefits, and Help

Free Benefits Counseling for New Yorkers - New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs staff are working remotely, but you can still get help with filing a VA claim and free counseling from fellow veterans on VA and New York benefits and services for veterans. The intake phone center is currently down, but staff are ready to get in touch with you if you send an email to dvsinfo@veterans.ny.gov

Rapid Response Referral Program - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has a free, 24/7 hotline for veterans of any era, their spouses/partners, or their families to get help with accessing benefits, services, or just to have someone to talk to. This is a nationwide service. Call 1-855-91RAPID or go HERE.

New Jersey Veterans Network is a group of New Jersey veterans and volunteers dedicated to helping our veterans and their families live better lives. Their mission is to identify veterans and connect them with resources and programs designed to meet their unique set of needs. Call 973-332-1556.

VA Financial, Benefits, and Claims Relief - As of 4/3/20, the Department of Veterans' Affairs has announced new relief measures for veterans. 

GI Bill Continuity - As of 3/21/20, Congress has passed legislation to make sure student veterans continue to receive educational benefits without interruption even if schools have moved to distance learning. Call the VA's GI Bill hotline at 1-888-442-4551 to resolve any issues or concerns you might have. 

If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and range from mild to potentially fatal. This can be a scary illness, which is why we all need to do all we can to halt its spread. See symptom guidelines from the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

If you are in New York, you can call the New York State Department of Health's COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to talk with a healthcare professional about any symptoms you are experiencing and to learn whether you should be tested or seek emergency care.

If you need COVID-19 information and assistance in New Jersey, go to covid19.nj.gov

If you are enrolled in VA Healthcare, see the VA's guidance on COVID-19 , call your nearest VA facility, or call 844-698-2311 (press #3 to be connected), log in to HealtheVet, or use VA telehealth to consult with a VA provider about your symptoms before you plan to visit a VA facility in person. 

Mental Health Assistance

Rapid Response Referral Program - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has a free, 24/7 hotline for veterans of any era, their spouses/partners, or their families to talk with peer-to-peer support specialists. This is a nationwide service. Call 1-855-91RAPID or go HERE.

Headstrong - Headstrong is (virtually) open to treating current and new veteran clients during the COVID-19 emergency. Sign up online or contact Sam Dickinson, LCSW, Headstrong Counselor at Szd2014@med.cornell.edu

NY Presbyterian Military Family Wellness Center - Anyone interested in our services can reach out directly to our intake specialist, Sara Such at sara.such@nyspi.columbia.edu or Matt Ryba at 347-949-1193 or matthew.ryba@nyspi.columbia.edu to set up new services.

NYU Langone Steven A. Cohen Military Family Center - The stress of the COVID 19 pandemic and feelings of isolation that accompany quarantine can be extremely difficult, especially for military families. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Center at NYU Langone Health is able to provide emotional support to the families of veterans, reservists, National Guard, as well as active duty military personnel. These services are available to both their significant others and their children. Services are provided via telehealth, which eliminates the need to leave the house. They are free of cost and completely confidential. To find out more information, contact their intake coordinators at 855-698-4677.

Veterans Crisis Line - Are you a veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. 24/7/376 call, text, or chat support is available for all veterans, service members, reserve and National Guard members, and their loved ones. Call 1-800-273-8255, press 1 - or text 838255 to reach a caring professional.

NYC Well - NYC's connection to free, confidential mental health support. Speak to a counselor via phone, text, or chat and get access to mental health and substance use services, in more than 200 languages, 24/7/365. Provides peer support and short-term counseling via telephone, text and web; referrals and warm transfer to other services; follow-up to check that you have connected to care and it is working for you. Call 1-888-692-9355.

Talkspace - This is a paid service, but is a robust online platform that connects you to a therapist for as long as you choose. Currently offering 7-day free trial, and a discount for veterans. Therapists with a competency in serving military and veterans will indicate so in their profile. 

PTSD Coach - PTSD Coach is a free app designed for those who have, or may have, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This app provides you with education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help you manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD. PTSD Coach was created by VA’s National Center for PTSD and DoD’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology.

Planning for the Future

Making a Household Plan - Take the time to make a plan for your household to not only contend with the current situation, but for future potential escalation of circumstances. Make a plan for the possibility of you or your household members to seek emergency medical care. Make a plan for how your household, including your pets, will be managed if emergency medical care is needed. Check in with neighbors and make a list of your emergency contacts. Put all of your significant personal documents and records in one place in case they are needed in a hurry. Also see Ready NY for more helpful preparedness tips!

Updating Your Will - Regardless of your age or life expectancy, it's always good to have a plan to leave behind for your loved ones. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has a unique partnership with FreeWill to provide you with a way to create or update your will, advance health care directives, and more at no cost to you. 

Planning Your Legacy - All veterans are entitled to benefits at the end of their lives. We've gotten questions from family members of veterans who are near the end of their lives or recently passed who don't know what benefits are available to them, or what their veteran's wishes are/were. Whether you're young or old, please make sure you let your loved ones know this information. Learn more and get started HERE.

NYC Burial Assistance - Families of those who pass away shouldn't have to struggle. If you're a NYC family member struggling to pay for a dignified burial for your loved one, you may qualify for assistance from HRA.

Be Wary of Scams & Misinformation

Be wary of information without verifiable sources--and be ESPECIALLY suspicious of anyone trying to charge you money for information, testing, or anything else related to COVID-19. Bad actors will be out there trying to exploit this situation--let's be vigilant.

If you think you're being scammed or overcharged, call 311 (in NYC) or make a complaint to the New York State Attorney General at 1-800-771-7755. 

Ways to Help Others

Donate Blood - Blood reserves are critically low right now. If you can, consider donating now. 

Donate Your Bike - Have a bicycle you're not using? Donate it to an essential worker or volunteer helping others. 

Volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps - New Yorkers certified in healthcare are asked to volunteer their services if available. 

Team Rubicon - Sign up to volunteer in your local community during COVID-19 with Team Rubicon USA.

Invisible Hands - Volunteer for a NYC startup that's coordinating home deliveries for New Yorkers in need.

Help Main Street - Purchase gift cards from your favorite local businesses to keep the cash flowing to them.

Relief Funds for NYC Restaurant Workers - Contribute to relief funds for local businesses that are shut down.

Your NYC Council (or Local Elected) Office - Contact your elected officials to ask if there are safe volunteer opportunities or ways to donate goods in your neighborhood.

Stay Informed & Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Social distancing and washing your hands thoroughly (20 seconds) with soap are important protective measures for you and others. Whether you're old or young, healthy or sick, and regardless of whether you ever have symptoms--we all have a part to play in stopping the spread of this dangerous virus wherever we can. Keep at least 6 feet apart from others if you go outside--but otherwise please stay home no matter who you are to reduce spreading the virus.

Need a mask? Request one HERE.

 

Get comprehensive facts, statistics, and tips on the COVID-19 illness and pandemic from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

 

Have resources to add? Send them to adrienne@nycveteransalliance.org - we're in this together!