As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads to the Bay Area, resources are being made available to provide help to the most vulnerable populations, which include the unhoused, disabled, elderly, and poor residents. Those who wish to help are being encouraged to connect with some of these resources to provide assistance economically and/or through their labor.
Californian workers who can no longer work can file for unemployment and the state has waived its usual one week waiting period to access the program.“If a medical professional says you’re unable to work if your hours have been reduced, or your employer has shut down, you can file a claim,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. KQED has published a guide to filing for unemployment during the pandemic
“I’m getting calls already from people that are hungry and it’s obviously going to get worse unless we help each other,” said Talya Husbands-Hankin, a volunteer with Love and Justice in The Streets.
Free breakfasts and lunches for Oakland Unified School District families will be available on Mondays and Thursdays between 8 a.m and 12 p.m. Students do not need to be present for family members to pick up food. Food for multiple days can be picked up. North Oakland families can pick up food at Sankofa Elementary School. Central Oakland, pick up food at Oakland High School and Garfield Elementary. East Oakland, pick up at Bret Harte or Elmhurst United Middle Schools, Fremont or Castlemont HighSchools, and Life Academy/United for Success, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, and Madison Park Upper.
Oakland residents who are over 60 and/or residents who have compromised immune systems can connect with Oakland At-Risk Match. The organization connects people who are at risk for contracting COVID-19 to people at low-risk who can provide help. Those under 60 and healthy can sign up to deliver groceries and other essential supplies to those unable to safely leave their homes. Disabled and/or elderly residents can contact the Disability Justice Culture Club (DJCC) and fill out a needs support form.
DJCC has also been delivering COVID-19 sanitary protective gear and groceries to those who need help. People can help them financially by donating to their Venmo @DJCultureClub. People can volunteer their labor by filling out this form.
COVIDMutualAid has set up a spreadsheet for those who need people to help with specific tasks as well as some offers for direct financial support. Those who need help can connect with those offering help.
Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Program (RAP), informally known as the rent board, is offering counseling for tenants. RAP has committed to connecting tenants with housing counselors within 24 hours during the pandemic. Tenants can visit the site to file paperwork or call:
Central Legal De La Raza, an organization that advocates for immigrant and low-income tenant rights, is temporarily canceling its legal clinics.“We encourage clients to reach out by telephone to request legal consults and assistance.
Their number is: 510-437-1554.
Love & Justice in the Streets and The Village, help unhoused people in Oakland and are making an urgent call for those who are able to donate to do so as the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for unhoused people to get the resources they need.