ALERT: Phishing Emails & Fake SBA Loan Relief Web Page
August 12, 2020 - The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is currently tracking an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief web page via phishing emails. These emails include a malicious link to the spoofed SBA website that the cyber actor is using for malicious re-directs and credential stealing.
Small business owners and organizations at all levels should review the alert and apply the recommended mitigation's to strengthen the security posture of their systems.
- Small Business Assistance
- Resources for Employees/Job Seekers
- Senior Citizen Resources
- Food Assistance
- Substance Use & Mental Health
- Homeowners & Tenants
Small Business Assistance & Resources
- Small Business Strong - Small Business Strong is a partnership between several organizations across the Commonwealth created to provide high-quality services to Massachusetts small businesses to help them bridge through the current economic crisis, with a particular focus on those that are minority- and women-owned, at no cost to small business owners. It provides access to a group of professional volunteers, able to provide guidance and advice on how to best addresses challenges they may be facing, and further consultation in the areas of Finance and Accounting, Operations, Marketing and Digital, Human Resources and Law. Visit the Small Business Strong website at www.smallbstrong.com.
- COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- COVID-19 Business Services - MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center BizTeam
- WesternMass List of Business Resources: Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties
- WorkShare Program (Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development) - In terms of employer-related services, the WorkShare program is one of the state’s primary tools to help small businesses avoid layoffs during a downturn. More information on that program can be found here.
- Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council COVID-19 Resources
- Small Business Loan Resources & Information (Small Business Administration)
- Small Business Administration’s Administrator, Jovita Carranza, announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020 for borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. For more information, please refer to the Press Release.
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Small Business Assistance for COVID-1
- Coronavirus Small Business Issues and Solutions Guide
Local Small Business Information!
Mitigating the Coronavirus is challenging for everyone, but especially for our local small businesses and their employees. See how they are adapting and how you can help by visiting Northampton.live.
Resources for Employees/Job Seekers
The Division of Unemployment Assistance waived the one week waiting period for unemployment collection, and relaxed related requirements, including the requirement to look for other work while on unemployment.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is open and accepting applications as of 8:30am today.
- The PUA program is open to the following individuals:
- Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors;
- Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits;
- And claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law.
You can apply at: www.mass.gov/pua
- The PUA program is open to the following individuals:
Community Legal Aid Unemployment Benefits Help
Other Assistance and Guidance
- Unemployment Insurance Portal
- COVID-19 Job Seeker Services - MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Centers
- Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations
- Information on Unemployment and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- COVID-19: Department of Unemployment Assistance Contact Request
Resources for Senior Citizens
- NORTHAMPTON SENIOR SERVICES RESOURCE LIST FOR SENIORS & CAREGIVERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- COVID-19 Updates To Resources
- Coronavirus: What Older Adults Need to Know- National Councils on Aging Personal information and protection tips
- AARP Community Connections - Neighbors Helping Neighbors
- COVID-19 State & Federal Updates
- Area Agency for Services for Seniors - Highland Valley Elder Services
- Community Services and Assistance - Community Action
- Mass 211 Hotline
- Antimicrobial Products for Use Against COVID-19
- Coronavirus Prevention – OSHA-based information
- National Institute on Aging regarding COVID-19 and how older adults should deal with the virus (VIDEO)
- Nursing Home Abuse - Nursing home abuse is any form of injury or neglect a resident receives in a facility equipped to provide proper care. Nursing home abuse is different from a single accident. It is a series of repeated failures on the part of the staff to keep someone safe.
- Coronavirus Scams: What the FTC is doing – a list of current scams and how to avoid them.
- Community Food Distribution Project
- Bags and boxes of food are available for pickup three days a week at Jackson Street School in Northampton and once a week at several other locations around the city. Pickup is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The school acts as a distribution site for the project because its size, unlike the Survival Center building, allows for proper social distancing.
- Food is also delivered to several sites — Hampshire Heights, Florence Heights, Meadowbrook Apartments, and 236 Pleasant St.— for pickup on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Groceries can be delivered to doorsteps at Hampshire Heights, Florence Heights and Meadowbrook Apartments to those who fill out a form at cutt.ly/growfoodshares.
- Updates and information for the Northampton Survival Center community on our response to COVID-19
- Grow Food Northampton - COVID-19 Updates and Helpful Links
- Meals on Wheels - Highland Valley Elder Services
Government Food Programs
If you currently receive subsidies from a government food program these are the latest updates we have on the status of these benefits.
Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)
No negative case actions for current DTA cash assistance (TAFDC/EAEDC) cases DTA is stopping all negative cash assistance case actions during the COVID-19 crisis. This means that, prospectively, no one should be terminated or reduced for any reason-- including sanctions, failure to verify information, reaching the time limit, etc. DTA has not yet worked out what to do about clients whose cash assistance cases are being reduced due to a sanction or over-payment.
This is currently a policy for TAFDC and EAEDC cases only - SNAP policies and procedures to be shared in the coming days. Thank you to DTA for quick action to ensure some of our lowest income families do not lose cash assistance during the crisis.
EBT Card Purchases
Policy re: allowing friends/family to use EBT card to purchase food**
A reminder that households can give permission to friends, family, or other trusted people to use their EBT card on their behalf, with no need for formal documentation or written paperwork. The federal rule about this says: "States shall not require households to notify or provide the State information regarding individuals making purchases permitted by the household on an ad-hoc basis." 7 CFR 273.8(f)((9)
**This may be helpful to remind seniors, persons with disabilities, and other populations who are particularly vulnerable and at risk from COVID-19, and who may need to ask others to go shopping on their behalf.
Because of COVID-19, you currently cannot apply in person at DTA.
Apply online: DTAConnect.com Downloa
Apply over the phone by calling Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at (800)645-8333, the Food Bank of Western MA at (413) 247-9738, the Greater Boston Food Bank (617)427-5200, or other MA SNAP outreach partners listed here: Mass.gov/snap-outreach. (Note: not all SNAP outreach partners are able to take phone applications during the crisis, so call first to see if open.)
Department of Transitional Assistance SNAP Senior Assistance Office (833) 712-8027 DTA Assistance Line Call (877) 382-2363 for questions about your benefits. Talk to a case manager between 8:15 am-4:45 pm, M-F. During off hours you can access case information via their automated system.
COVID-19: Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Resources
Online Support Groups and Recovery Meetings
- Alcoholics Anonymous Online Intergroup - Directory of online audio/video meetings 7 days per week.
- SMART Recovery - Online community where participants help one another recover from addictive behaviors.
- WEconnect and Unity Recovery - Free online daily all recovery meetings.
- Narcotics Anonymous - Online meetings in various time zones using multiple platforms.
- Herren Project - Live online support groups and recovery meetings, moderated by trained clinicians.
- In The Rooms - Free weekly online meetings for those recovering from addiction and related issues.
- Learn to Cope - Online support forum open to families, friends and loved ones who have someone in their lives who is struggling with addiction.
- Al-Anon Family Groups - Electronic meetings for anyone affected by alcoholism in a family member or friend.
- Allies in Recovery - Online support for families dealing with a loved one’s addiction, using the evidence-based CRAFT method (Community Reinforcement and Family Training ); free for Massachusetts residents.
- CDC - Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
- Hazelden Betty Ford - Tips for Staying Connected and Safeguarding Your Addiction Recovery
- SAMHSA -Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
- Shatterproof - How I’m Coping with COVID-19 and Social Isolation as a Person in Long-Term Recovery
- WHO (World Health Organization) - Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak
Hotlines & Helplines
- 211 - 24/7 Massachusetts hotline with real-time COVID-19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages. Dial 2-1-1 from any landline or cellphone.
- Massachusetts Behavioral Health Access - Locate openings in mental health and substance use disorder services.
- Network of Care Massachusetts - New statewide comprehensive and searchable directory with information about more than 5,000 mental health, substance use and social service resources including program description, contact information, populations served, eligibility and fee information.
- Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline - Statewide, public resource for finding licensed and approved substance use treatment and recovery services. Call 800.327.5050 to get help, 8am-10pm Mon-Fri and 8am-6pm weekends.
- Veterans Crisis Line - Free, confidential resource for Veterans in crisis and their families and friends, including Veterans not registered with the VA. Dial 800.273.8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone, or text 838255 to connect with a qualified VA responder.
Emotional & Mental Health
- The National Disaster Distress Helpline is available with 24/7 emotional support and crisis counseling for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns. Calls (1-800-985-5990) and texts (text TalkWithUs to 66746) are answered by trained counselors who will listen to your concerns, explore coping and other available supports, and offer referrals to community resources for follow-up care and support.
- Massachusetts General Health Psychiatry Guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19
On Monday, April 20, 2020, Governor Baker signed An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency into law. This act is the strongest eviction and foreclosure moratorium in the country. The bill bars evictions and foreclosures in Massachusetts until after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted, preventing renters and homeowners across the state from being forced out of their homes.
The moratorium temporarily halts all stages of eviction, specifically:
- stops landlords from sending notices of eviction and filing new eviction cases
- stops courts from scheduling non-emergency hearings, entering judgments (including agreements for judgment), and issuing executions
- stops sheriffs from levying on executions to remove tenants
- applies to most evictions with limited exceptions for true emergencies involving conditions or conduct endangering the health and safety of others
It also prevents late fees and negative credit reporting for COVID-19 affected tenants.
(1-4 family owner-occupied properties)
The moratorium temporarily:
- stops residential foreclosures from going forward
- requires lenders to offer a mortgage forbearance for homeowners affected by COVID-19, with payments added to the end of the loan
- prevents negative credit reporting for homeowners in forbearance
- gives landlords access to tenants’ last month’s rent to cover expenses
The moratorium also pauses evictions on small businesses and makes it easier to access reverse mortgages.
The moratorium will remain in effect for either 120 days from April 20, 2020, or 45 days following the end of the state of emergency, whichever is sooner. This can be extended by the Governor to ensure it does not end before the state of emergency is lifted plus a reasonable time period.