Stories

COVID-19 Tools & Resources

As FUSE fellows are working within their agencies to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, these are some of the resources they’re surfacing and deploying. Here, we provide a curated list of examples to inspire replication:

CHILDREN & YOUTH

DIGITAL DIVIDE

DISASTER RESPONSE

EDUCATION

ELDERLY ASSISTANCE

EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

FOOD SECURITY

HOMELESSNESS

SAFETY GEAR

SMALL BUSINESSES & NONPROFITS

TRANSPORTATION

CHILDREN & YOUTH

 

Child care programs

The CDC provides advice on preventing the transmission of COVID-19 within child care and school communities, reacting quickly if a case is identified, and teaching remotely.

Discounted child care

Indianapolis Mayor and civic leaders announce a child care program that serves families of the city’s first responders, as well as information and assistance for residents.

Child care for essential workers

For many essential healthcare providers at Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, school closures have meant scrambling to find child care, so FUSE fellow Anna Vold was redeployed to find emergency child care infrastructure. She tapped into existing child care resources and systems created by a variety of agencies, assessed needs through surveys, connected the dots between agencies that can provide child care and those who need it, secured additional locations through home-based and center-based licensed child care providers, and helped provide vouchers to compensate trusted child care providers. Anna is also working to deploy county volunteers to help hospital-based child care centers, as well as to assist libraries that are preparing crafts, kits, and materials for kids to keep them entertained and engaged.

Reaching out to youths in foster care

Nonprofit Think of Us, which helps improve foster care programs through technology, is answering COVID-19 questions from youths and posting related information.

 

DIGITAL DIVIDE

 

FCC’s low-income programs

More than 650 companies and associations have signed the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge to maintain internet and telephone access for residents during the pandemic. The FCC is also calling for more access to low-income programs, and its Lifeline program provides discounts on various telephone and internet services to eligible low-income subscribers.

Public/private partnerships

Get Connected Los Angeles, a partnership including L.A., the California Emerging Technology Fund, and EveryoneOn, helps residents find low-cost internet options, access to computers, and digital literacy services.

Library hotspots

Increasingly, libraries have been loaning Wi-Fi hotspots, helping people who don’t have Internet connections in their homes. But with library closures, this has become difficult to maintain. In Sussex County, Delaware, its 14 libraries are now offering Wi-Fi hotspots in their parking lots during the COVID-19 crisis. Although not equivalent to at-home access, it does provide a means for bringing digital connectivity to communities in need.

 

DISASTER RESPONSE

 

Developing a government nerve center

McKinsey reports on crafting a centralized rapid-response team to coordinate activities across areas of responsibility.

Centralized websites

Many cities are creating centralized hubs with local COVID -19 information and resources to update residents and businesses. BhamStrong, for Birmingham, Alabama, and StocktonStrong, for Stockton, California, are two early adopters. States are doing the same, including California and Massachusetts.

Data dashboards

Cities, like Boston, are creating dashboards to show such information as the number of COVID-19 cases in the city, state, and country. States, such as Massachusetts and Texas, are doing the same.

Private sector help

Working together to meet public health needs, companies, such as clothing brand GAP, are making protective gear for healthcare workers, and American distillers are making hand sanitizer for first responders.

Virtual town halls

Hosting virtual town halls is a quick way to safely congregate local officials with their constituents. Town halls can be focused around themes like economic development, personal safety, and education. Oakland, California, for example, held a town hall that gave residents a chance to ask questions about the COVID-19 crisis, as well as learn about resources and recent developments. To facilitate the meeting, the city provided a way for residents to submit questions in advance. In New Orleans, the city is using virtual community meetings to help keep critical infrastructure projects progressing.

Re-deploying agency staff

Cities or counties are redeploying staff, like library employees, and placing them in urgent positions, like in the city clerk’s office to process ballots. Work with these employees to set up internet and technology so they can work at home.

Self screening tool

In partnership with the CDC, Apple created a COViD-19 screening tool to help people understand symptoms and recommended actions.

Interactive map for social distancing

This interactive map of the U.S. shows projections of hospital cases in each state, and how people can positively impact those numbers through social distancing.

 

EDUCATION

 

Distance-learning resources

Nonprofit Common Sense’s free tips and tools support school closures and transitions to online and at-home learning. Its Wide Open School provides online learning experiences for families and educators. Common Sense Media reviews and recommends entertainment and tech.

Google’s “Teach from Home” hub

Google’s temporary hub of tools for teachers includes advice on topics such as teaching remotely with and without video calls, making lessons accessible, and keeping students engaged.

Video conferencing

Zoom offers advice on using video conferencing for remote learning.

Increased library services

Library systems across the country, such as the San Jose Public Library (SJPL), Los Angeles Public Library, New York Public Library, and St. Louis Public Library, are offering residents eLibrary cards for gaining access to eBooks, eMedia, and more. Many, such as SJPL, are also compiling educational resources. The San Jose Public Library helped create standards for virtual programming, matching each branch with a school district to streamline communication.

 

ELDERLY ASSISTANCE

 

California list of resources for older adults

California’s Department of Aging compiled resources specifically for older adults, from advice on dealing with social isolation to locating elder care and more.

Map with location of free meals

To help older adults find food services, L.A. County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services created a map that shows location and details for meal sites.

 

EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

 

Matching workers with jobs

To help out-of-work residents find jobs, Vallejo, California, is collecting information from businesses that are hiring and sharing it with the community. Onward California is a statewide initiative doing the same.

Helping businesses help their employees

To mitigate the financial shock of income interruption, Vallejo, California, is working closely with the Workforce Development Board in Solano County to establish bridge capital for businesses to retain employees, provide unemployment insurance, and fill jobs.

Resources for employees

The L.A. County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center provides information specifically for workers experiencing difficult times due to CORONA-19.

 

FOOD SECURITY

 

Food distribution program

Donors, volunteers, and community stakeholders in East Los Angeles created a food storage and delivery system at the local YMCA to help the most vulnerable residents of Boyle Heights, including elders, the homeless, and undocumented residents. Supplies are delivered using YMCA shuttle vans, and delivery includes wellness checks.

Simplifying food service search

To help residents easily find food services, Stockton, California, created an I’m Worried About Food link, which includes general information, as well as specific details for youths, seniors, low-income, and vulnerable residents. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has released a map displaying locations of free food distribution sites in the region.

For those who are having trouble finding distributed meals, L.A. County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services created this map, which shows exact locations and details for each meal site. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has also released a map displaying locations of free food distribution sites in the region.

 

HOMELESSNESS

 

Resources for helping people experiencing homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has compiled links to numerous resources that address general issues but also specific topics, such as preventing the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness.

Provide shelter-in-place and safe spaces

FUSE alum Cynthia Shields oversees housing and homelessness programs in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. During the COVID-19 crisis, she’s focusing on opening isolation and quarantine locations for those experiencing homelessness, living in congregated shelters, as well as those who are involved with the behavioral health, child welfare, medical, and justice systems. To provide shelter-in-place spaces for youth, single adults, and families, her team has secured the use of empty buildings and hotels, taking on the logistics of leases, insurance, and occupancy permits, and contracting with service providers. Her team has set up hygiene stations in the most populated encampments, and is working with the health department to implement healthcare within the shelters. She’s also been tasked with locating personal protection equipment for the staff working at these sites.

Set up hygiene stations

Stockton, California, installed hygiene stations, including portable restrooms and outdoor hand-washing stations, to help protect people experiencing homelessness. In San Francisco, the city installed 30 hand-washing stations in addition to its public restrooms.

 

SAFETY GEAR

 

Extending N95 mask use

Inventor and designer Sally Dominguez worked with fashion designer Amy Kuschel to design a system that enables N95 to be reused for weeks.

Centralizing protective gear data

Making Protective Gear for Angelenos to address the COVID-19 crisis, developed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office, provides information for companies and organizations interested in producing and requesting essential protective gear. In Philadelphia, CoverAid PHL is a coalition of stakeholders collaborating on solutions for protective equipment.

Instructions for personal-use masks

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is tough to maintain. Its website offers guidance on how to make, wear, and maintain masks.

 

SMALL BUSINESSES & NONPROFITS

 

Daily resource updates

The COVID-19 Business Resource Center is updated daily with real-world funding, resources, and support for small business owners adapting to the impacts of coronavirus.

Explanations of worker-related issues

The National Employment Law Project has compiled information on a range of COVID-19 topics, including worker safety and understanding the unemployment insurance provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Localized websites with small business resources

Local governments, such as in Long Beach, California, are creating centralized hubs with resources and information specifically for small businesses. Other examples include BhamStrong, StocktonStrong, and VallejoStrong.

Helping small businesses resiliency

The L.A. Economic Workforce Development Department established a microloan program and compiled guidelines to help small business owners be resilient through the CORONA-19 crisis.

Funding opportunities and policy development

Managed by the nonprofit Small Business Majority, Venturize is an online resource for small business owners and is providing daily updates on funding opportunities and policy developments across the U.S.

Small business loans and webinars

Opportunity Fund, which provides loans to underserved small business owners, is working to help struggling businesses with loans, resources, and webinars on such topics as managing cash during emergencies.

Small business relief programs by city

Living Cities has a continuously updated Google doc of relief programs for small businesses in cities across the country.

Webinars about securing resources

Business accelerator Gener8tor is hosting webinars to help small businesses secure resources to weather the CORONA-10 crisis.

Advice for founders and investors

Articles, podcasts, and tweetstorms for founders and investors about managing businesses during the corona crisis, from digital bank Grasshopper.

Resources for L.A. County businesses

The L.A. County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center provides information specifically for businesses, including access to capital, avoiding layoffs, and helping workers.

Information and resources for nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits is providing resources and information to help nonprofits respond to the CORONA-19 crisis.

Emergency financial resources

GrantSpace lists emergency financial resources related to COVID-19 for nonprofits, individuals, small businesses, and more.

Grants to fill financial gaps

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a social enterprise working to revitalize communities, established the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, which offers grants to help small businesses fill financial gaps, such as paying rent and meeting payroll, until they can resume normal operations.

Federal guidance and funding options

The U.S. Small Business Administration has an extensive list of resources and funding opportunities.

Paycheck Protection Program explained

Next City breaks down the Paycheck Protection Program into an easy-to-follow format.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Tools for public transportation officials

The National Association of City Transportation Officials compiled resources, webinars, and tools to help cities and transit agencies respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Expand the bicycling network

As COVID-19 discourages the use of public transportation, several cities have expanded their bicycling network. Bogota, Colombia, is installing tens of kilometers of emergency cycleways, and New York City is adding emergency bicycle lanes to plug gaps in the existing network.

 

Photo by Cesar Carlevarino Aragon on Unsplash

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