The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is continuing to work together with departments across the City of Alexandria as well as City partners to support individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. DCHS encourages residents to share these recent updates and newly added resources and services with others, particularly those who are in need, those living in communities not speaking English as a first language, and vulnerable residents, including those who may not have access to traditional media.
As a reminder, the City’s website is now accessible in 10 different languages, which can be accessed through a drop-down box in the top right of each page. In addition, the City has a growing number of resources specifically related to COVID-19 available in multiple languages, including:
COVID-19 Health Literacy Project Fact Sheets. Accessible in more than 30 languages. Created in collaboration with Harvard Health Publishing, the information includes when and how to seek care, COVID-19 and pregnancy and fact sheets for various aged children and youth
COVID-19 Resource Catalog. City and Alexandria Health Department information products in multiple languages are available as downloadable PDFs for distribution or reproduction by residents, businesses and organizations
World Central Kitchen. World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit food distribution organization founded by chef José Andrés, will alternate food distribution between Ramsay Elementary School and Casa Chirilagua on Thursdays at 5 p.m. See the flyers for details. English May 21 Casa Chirilagua | Spanish May 21 Casa Chirilagua | English May 28 Ramsay Elementary | Spanish May 28 Ramsay Elementary
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer for Families with Children. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is a temporary food benefit available in Virginia to families with children who would have received free or reduced-price meals if schools were open. The purpose of the P-EBT benefit is to supplement existing nutrition programs for low-income households during the pandemic. It does not replace meals provided through the school programs during unexpected closures, such as the summer meal programs that will begin when the school year ends. The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will issue benefits to eligible households with a total benefit of $376 per eligible student. Virginia households are eligible if they have students who are either eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or enrolled in a school that provides free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision or another provision. Households do not have to apply for P-EBT; schools will provide information for all eligible students directly to VDSS. If someone believes there are eligible students in their household but do not receive P-EBT by the middle of June, they can call 804.726.7000. For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions in English and Spanish.
Read FAQs regarding SNAP and Medicaid.
Resources for Workers, Job Seekers and Small Businesses
Job Opportunities Available as COVID-19 Contact Tracers. Staffing agencies in Virginia are hiring COVID-19 contact tracers, most of whom will be working from home, full time or part-time. Language and cultural competency, familiarity with the community and the ability to build rapport are skills needed. These jobs are filling up very quickly and may already be filled. Anyone interested should apply directly to the hiring agencies. Get a list of hiring agencies at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus or read or download the list. Those interested should also complete this free course. For job search support, contact the Workforce Development Center at 703.746.5990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see other job opportunities, visit wdc.alexandriava.gov.
Weekly Featured Jobs Flyer. Every week, the Workforce Development Center posts a list of employers who are hiring for a range of positions. View the flyer or follow Workforce Development Center on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for the latest flyer and other job opportunities.
Recovery Resources for Small Businesses. As Virginia businesses and communities look forward to safely reopening, the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network and Alexandria SBDC have developed a Business Recovery webpage to help owners carefully plan for and execute their businesses’ new strategies. Learn more
Virginia 30 Day Fund Provides Loans for Small Businesses. The nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Virginia-based small businesses. The loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage for employees, and save jobs. Help is designed to be quick, easy, and free of red tape, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term.
Temporary Shelter Services for Those Experiencing Homelessness Extended until June 13. Temporary shelter services for vulnerable single individuals experiencing homelessness in Alexandria are available at Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street). It is currently scheduled to operate 24 hours a day until June 13. Services are only for singles; any families in need should call 703.746.5700 for assistance. Those who seek services at Charles Houston will need to be screened by the Homeless Services Assessment Center (HSAC). If they are seeking services during business hours, they are encouraged to go to 2525 Mount Vernon Ave. to complete the screening on a walk-in basis. If it is after hours, they should go to Charles Houston for the night and will be directed to 2525 Mount Vernon Ave. for the screening the next business day. Phone screening appointments are also available as needed by contacting the call center at 703.746.5700. Learn more about services for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Mortgage and Housing Assistance. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have partnered to launch a new mortgage and housing assistance website to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn about mortgage relief options, protection for renters, avoiding scams and con artists and mortgage basics.
Recent News and Guidance
- City of Alexandria and Alexandria Health Department Support Neighborhood Health COVID-19 Community Testing Initiative. The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department provided logistics and public health support for a pilot initiative by Neighborhood Health on May 16 to provide community testing for COVID-19. “Community testing” refers to testing residents regardless of whether they have symptoms of the virus or not. So far, virtually all other COVID-19 testing in Alexandria has been available only to people with symptoms. The May 16 testing event was intended as the first step in the process to expand community testing as capacity expands in the future. The Alexandria Health Department and Neighborhood Health coordinated the event with Arlandria-based nonprofits Casa Chirilagua, Community Lodgings and Tenants and Workers United to reach Alexandrians in the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 so far. Learn more.
City Council Approves COVID-19 Support Programs. At its May 12 meeting, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved three programs to provide support to vulnerable Alexandrians and small businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic. These rent relief, food security support and small business programs will be funded by $13.9 million allocated to the City through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $4 million Residential Rental Assistance Program will target eligible renters who have suffered income loss due to COVID-19; the $2.4 million Food Security Plan will support large-scale food distributions, home delivery for seniors, and augment ongoing food programs; and the $2.4 million Small Business Grants Program will provide eligible businesses with grants to offset costs and investments related to reopening. The programs are not yet accepting applications; additional information will be announced as soon as it is available.
CDC Updates Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families. Grieving the loss of a loved one, along with the fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic, can be overwhelming. It may be difficult for people to make decisions about how to safely grieve and honor their loved one. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided updated guidance for individuals and families working with funeral directors, community and religious leaders, and others to plan and hold funeral services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance also includes recommendations for adapting funeral-related traditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
New CDC Cleaning Guidance for Businesses and Homes. New guidance from the CDC outlines specific best practices for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes. As states begin considering reopening plans, the CDC urges all organizations to make a cleaning and disinfecting plan to ensure that both employees and the public stay safe. A flowchart on the CDC website helps you determine what to clean and disinfect and how to do so safely.
Caring for Someone Sick at Home. New guidance from the CDC includes updated information on caring for someone with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting. The guidance outlines what to do when someone has symptoms of COVID-19 or when someone has been diagnosed with the virus, as well as strategies for caregivers to keep themselves safe. This information also should be followed when caring for people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms. Notably, older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for developing more severe illness from COVID-19. People at higher risk of severe illness should call their doctor as soon as symptoms begin.
Read previous articles highlighting updates on services and programs available to those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
For the latest on the COVID-19 crisis, including Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line at 877-ASK-VDH3. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911. To get alerts, text ALEXCOVID19 to 888777.