May I Help You?  A Guide to Information

by MaryAnn Friedlander

As a WEPL librarian working from home, I soon realized just how much I missed coming to the library, seeing patrons and answering questions that make a difference in someone’s life.    As a person, I also realized that we are living through life changing situations that are stressful, life altering and just plain scary.

One shortage that is not happening is an overabundance of information, news and scams happening on the internet, the radio and TV.  What I would like to do, is to provide guidance to find answers to issues you may be experiencing or help provide Information that points you to resources that can guide you to answers you may need.

Today, I want to jump in and provide general information websites that can be starting points if you have questions about community resources or if you have a small business that is need of help.

 

Lake County Specific Information

United Way Lake County

Food Pantries: https://www.uwlc.org/food-pantries

Free Home Delivery Grocery Program for Seniors: https://www.uwlc.org/sites/uwlc.org/files/REV_Flyer_Home%20Delivered%20Grocery%20Program.png

Other Free Help and Resources are available https://www.uwlc.org/covid-19-help-resources

Information for Lake, Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties

Tri-C has a list of community Organizations offering support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the resources include:  Internet providers, Utilities, Health Care Links, Student Meals and Emergency Meal distribution, Hunger Centers, Legal Aid, Job and Family Services (unemployment information), Voting Information, United Way and the Willowick Pet Food Pantry.  https://www.tri-c.edu/administrative-departments/business-continuity/covid-19/community-resources.html

Additional Information and Resources are listed on the Economic & Community Development Institute website. https://www.ecdi.org/covid-19/

Financial assistance: 

Cleveland City Council has announced plans to take legislative action with the goal of suspending evictions for at least 60 days for people experiencing economic hardship caused by the novel coronavirus.

Cleveland Water and Cleveland Public Power (CPP) have temporarily stopped disconnection of residential services for non-payment. If you have recently been disconnected for non-payment, please call Cleveland Water at 216-664-3130 or CPP at 216-664-4600.

HFLA of Northeast Ohio is offering emergency, interest-free loans to people affected by the coronavirus. Loans of up to $1,500 are available for purposes including, but not limited to, lost wages, child care costs due to school closures, and medical costs. Learn more and apply here, or call  216-378-9042.

Painesville City has temporarily stopped the disconnection of residential services for non-payment during the month of March. If you have questions about your connection, contact 440-392-5797.

The State of Ohio has extended unemployment benefits to workers in quarantine and employees of businesses that temporarily shut down due to coronavirus. Learn more here.

Food resources: 

Chardon Local Schools will be offering meal services and other resources for families during the school closure. Please visit their Facebook page for the latest.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District is offering free meals for all children in the city of Cleveland ages 18 and younger as well as shuttle service to and from the 22 meal pickup sites. Schools will also provide instructional material for students to use during their time off. Learn more here.

Geauga County Department on Aging will continue its home delivered meals program and will be offering Congregate Meals “to-go” at each of its senior center locations. Learn more here.

The Geauga County Hunger Taskforce supports independent food pantries and other resources for area residents in need. Call 440-285-2261 or visit their website here.

Greater Cleveland Food Bank works with partners across the community to deliver and distribute food to residents in need. Access food programs here, or call 216-738-2067.

The Lunch Box, Painesville City Local Schools‘ mobile food service program, will distribute pre-bagged lunch and breakfast meals to all children under 18 while schools are closed. Please visit their Facebook page for more information.

United Way of Lake County offers a listing of area food pantries by city. You can find more information here.

Civic engagement: 

The U.S. Census Bureau is monitoring the coronavirus situation and modifying its operations accordingly. Completing the census form online is highly encouraged. You can learn more here.

Vote by mail: Following the suspension of the March 17 primary election due to the current public health emergency, you may request an application from your county board of elections to vote by mail:

Small Business Resources for OH are listed on:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2020/03/27/state-resources-available-for-businesses-affected.html

  • Office of Small Business Relief, housed within the Ohio Development Services Agency, will provide several resources for economic support, including considerations for small businesses and nonprofits, as well as layoff alternatives and banking updates. Information available online also includes a FAQ for business owners addressing common questions about essential businesses, loan eligibility, disaster relief, unemployment compensation and other assistance opportunities. Click here for more information.
  • Ohio’s Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has created a COVID-19 job search portal for essential employers who are hiring during the crisis and trying to fill positions to match the need. Visit the site here.
  • The state of Ohio has a resource page for businesses. Visit the site here. The latest statistics on the disease’s spread in Ohio can be found here.
  • The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has set up a special COVID-19 website to answer employer and employee questions about unemployment. Visit site here.
  • The Small Business Administration has Economic Injury Disaster loans available for small businesses and nonprofits. Visit the state’s SBA office here. Those impacted should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov. Additional information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available at SBA.gov/disaster.
  • JobsOhio has a list of economic resources for Ohio businesses. Visit that list here.
  • JobsOhio also announced it has provided a $2 million growth loan to Appalachian Growth Capital to help areas of the state hit hardest by the pandemic. AGC provides small business financing to 32 counties in southern and eastern Ohio. Click here for information on loan inquiries.
  • Small Business Development Centers of Ohio are located throughout the state. Find out more here.
  • OhioMeansJobs has resources for individuals looking for jobs, as well as employer. More information is on its website.
  • Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has a variety of resource links for individuals and employers.
  • If you’re a business owner and have laid-off employees, provide them with this mass layoff form to begin the claims process.
  • For more information about unemployment, click here and here.
  • Ohio’s Benefits website for food, medical and child care support can be found at this portal.
  • Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation system is deferring insurance premium installment payments for March, April and May until June 1, 2020. Visit here for more details.
  • A health insurance grace period requires that insurers to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. Employers can defer payments up to two months while keeping their workers insured.
  • Shared Work Ohio allows business owners to cut employee pay between 10% and 50% and provides a portion of the benefit the employee would receive through unemployment to that employee. The program is designed to allow employers to reduce payroll costs during times of business decline without having to lay off employees. Visit jfs.ohio.gov for more information.
  • The Ohio Department of Transportation has modified the process for haulers carrying heavy loads of essential goods. The state usually requires haulers with loads classified as “oversized” to seek advanced permission from ODOT before they travel in and through the state. Haulers carrying essential goods can download and print the permit at transportation.ohio.gov.
  • ODOT has also announced it has created a new permit that will allow food vendors to sell food to truck drivers and other essential personnel at the state’s 86 rest areas. It will be no cost to vendors. More information, along with the request for a permit, can be found here.
  • The Ohio Department of Health has a clearinghouse for local, state and federal resources and funds. For small businesses and nonprofits, it includes resources for economic disaster loan programs, bar and restaurant relief, daycare ratio updates and more. For individuals, it has links to unemployment resources, health insurance relief, school meals and more. Visit the site here.
  • The Ohio Department of Health has a list of public health and executive orders signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and director Amy Acton in response to COVID-19, including stay at home, state of emergency and more. Visit the site here.
  • For guidelines for screening employees for COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health has recommendations for checking workers for coronavirus, which DeWine has recommended they do each workday. Visit the site here.
  • Ohio Department of Education COVID-19 updates: Updates for educators and administrators on information and resources during Ohio’s ordered school-building closure. Visit the site here.
  • Ohio Bankers League pandemic resources: Roundup of customer assistance programs and measures by banks across Ohio. Visit the site here.
Even though the WEPL buildings are closed, we are still here to help provide you with information.  You can reach us at virtual.reference@welibrary.info and we will answer your questions the same day or by the next business day.

 

MaryAnn Friedlander is Assistant Manager at the Eastlake Public Library

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