COVID-19 help and resources for older foster youth

The COVID-19 emergency fund application is open now

An emergency fund for older youth with urgent needs is now open. Learn more here.

Helpful information for foster youth seeking unemployment, moving expenses, and utility assistance

The next few months are providing uncertainty and challenges for young people across the country. As you work to make sense out of on-line learning, potentially relocating, and just trying to stay balanced and connected during the next couple of months, here are a few things to think about and few resources to help.

Updates on COVID-19

There is a lot of information in the media and we are learning things daily. Foster Success encourages you to monitor the Indiana State Department of Health Coronavirus Response site. You can keep updated on new developments and actions being taken by Indiana leadership to keep our community safe. This site is being updated daily as information from the Governor’s office and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) become available. 

Housing and Utilities

Many campuses are allowing students without immediate access to housing to stay on campus. You may need to move to a different residence hall, but if you work with the Housing staff on your campus, they likely will be able to identify an option for you. If that isn’t an option, a couple of things to explore:

  1. If you are in extended foster care (Collaborative Care in Indiana), contract your case manager to identify options.
  2. If you are not in extended foster care, explore resources like Together We Rise.
  3. If you need assistance with your utilities, look into your local Energy Assistance Program (EAP). Apply for assistance here.
COVID-19 help and resources for older foster youth

Does this mean I don’t have to pay or owe rent during the state-at-home order?

NO, evictions or foreclosure actions or proceedings related to non-payment can be initiated until the state of emergency is lifted. However, if an eviction or foreclosure was initiated prior to the state of emergency, those proceedings may move forward and once the state of emergency is over, evictions and foreclosures for non-payment can begin immediately.

YES, you will have to pay your late rent once the order is lifted. Ask your landlord about potential payment plans. You also may have to pay additional fees for late payments.

For more information visit www.in.gov/ihcda/4464.htm
Violations Complaints: Indiana Attorney General’s Office (317) 232-6330
View the Ask the Experts webinar by Foster Success for more information.

Internet and Phone Connectivity

As more campuses move to online learning and as everyone is spending more time at home, internet connectivity is critical. If you don’t have internet connectivity where you are staying, ior even if you have a current internet provider, you may want to check out some of these options to help you through the next couple of months. 

  • Beginning March 16, the company commits to offering free internet for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don’t already have a Spectrum subscription. It is also opening its Wi-Fi hotspots for public use. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Or for more information, click here.
  • In response to the virus, Comcast also announced it would offer two months of free internet services to low-income households in its service areas and is pausing all disconnect and late fees for the time being. Learn more here.
  • Meanwhile, AT&T said it would not terminate services and would waive internet data overage fees for customers who have capped data plans. Read more here
  • Verizon issued a statement saying it would waive any late fees and not terminate any service for the next 60 days. See more here
  • T-Mobile customers are receiving unlimited smartphone data and an additional 20GB of tethering hotspot data for 60 days from March 13. See details here.
COVID-19 help and resources for older foster youth

Will I owe everything on my utilities during the stay-at-home order?

YES, providers are prohibited from discontinuing services of utility services like gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services. 

YES, you will still be required to pay these bills and any associated feeds once the state of emergency is lifted. 

For energy assistance, visit the site http://www.incap.org/energyinfo.html
View the Ask the Experts webinar by Foster Success for more information. 

Financial, Employment, and Unemployment Support

Filing for Unemployment, Stimulus Checks, Employment Opportunities

Unfortunately, unemployment is a reality that many will face during COVID-19. If you find yourself in a position where your work has been terminated, you may be eligible for unemployment payments.

As of 3/24/2020, all Indiana WorkOne Offices (unemployment offices) are closing their physical locations, so all claims will need to be made online or over the phone when web access is not available.

For information about how to file an unemployment claim in Indiana, visit this informational website or call 1-800-891-6499. To file an unemployment claim, please visit their website

Please note that to file a claim online, it appears you will need:

  • A valid email account – your email address will become your Uplink Username – call 1-800-891-6499 if you need help creating a free email account.
  • Address, social security number, Indiana Driver’s License or valid ID, date of birth and phone number.
  • Last employer’s name, mailing address, phone number, dates of employment and reason you are unemployed.
  • Most recent paycheck stub.

And here is an additional resource to help you file a claim for unemployment from the Indianapolis Star.

Employment Opportunities

Youth looking for employment and are willing to work with the elderly, children, or individuals with disabilities. The State is doing a call out to anyone who can help fill these positions due to COVID 19. Click the link below to fill out your information and then the State reaches out to you for possible work. https://www.in.gov/fssa/5769.htm

Also, businesses including Kroger, Walmart, and Amazon, along with shopping and delivery businesses like Instacart, Shipt, UberEats, Door Dash, and GrubHub are hiring.

COVID-19 help and resources for older foster youth

I’ve lost my job. How can I get standard or PUA unemployment payments?

YES, youth must apply for standard unemployment BEFORE they can access the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). 
 
YES, if you were denied for standard unemployment insurance, you may still be eligible for PUA and you should keep submitting weekly vouchers. 
 
YES, if you have recently found a job, but were unemployed several weeks due to COVID 19, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance and may possibly be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 
 
For more information visit unemployment.IN.gov 
View the Ask the Experts webinar by Foster Success for more information. 

Additional Resources Related to Work

Additional resources from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Resources Connected to COVID – 19 pandemic care be found here.

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks) 

The federal government began disbursing Economic Impact Payments on April 15 based on your most recent tax filing. Learn more about these payments and track your eligibility and payment here

Food Assistance

If you are looking for food assistance including access to food through a food pantry, meal service, and school lunch distribution, explore this map and search for resources in your neighborhood. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides low-income families with resources to buy nutritious food through Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. To apply for benefits, please click here and select the county that you live in.

Additional Support

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): https://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2684.htm is a program that provides cash assistance and supportive services to assist families with children under age 18, helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Mental Health Support

Whether you are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19, the disease and the social isolation we are all experiencing is wearing on people. Utilize the support services that are available to you.

  1. If you already have a relationship with a therapist or counselor, reach out to see what options you have for sessions over the phone or web right now. 
  2. If you don’t have a counselor or therapist whom you regularly work with, then contact your health care provider or insurance company to learn what is available to you in the form of counseling and therapy sessions via telemedicine.
  3. If you are having thoughts of suicide, seek help immediately by contacting Indiana Suicide Prevention online, by phone (800-273-TALK (8255) or by text (Text IN to 741741)

Parenting and Pregnancy Assistance

The Little Timmy Project can help parents in need of diapers. Simply visit their  Facebook page and send them a message for more information.

Animal Care Assistance

Pet Food and Supplies

For residents in need of food and supplies for their pets, but without the resources to do so, many organizations are offering support.

If you are able to afford pet food, but can’t leave your house, you can order online and have it delivered from places such as Amazon.com and Chewy.com. Most grocery stores, such as Kroger, Meijer, and Walmart also have delivery services.

Financial Assistance for Pet Owners

Storage

If there is not an option for storage on your campus, and you need to get all of your belongings out of your residence hall, U-Haul is offering free self-storage as space permits for the next 30 days. You’ll still have to move your things or pay down the road, but this will give you a little more time to determine your options.

Youth Voice

You are not in this alone. Visit the Chronicle of Social Change and share your story or read the experiences of other older foster youth as they provide perspectives on COVID-19. 

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