Dear friends and neighbors,
As we enter the second week of the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, I am inspired by the way that Washingtonians have responded to this unprecedented challenge. We are staying home and bit by bit we are flattening the curve. By staying vigilant and staying true to this order, together we can and will save lives.
Below you will find some key resources and links that may be helpful if you need health information, assistance getting by, or if you have lost your job, or own a small business.
State and Local Resources on COVID-19
- For the state’s most comprehensive and up-to-date information on COVID-19 please visit: coronavirus.wa.gov.
- The Department of Health has fact sheets available in 14 additional languages.
- The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department is a solid resource for questions related to the virus, contagion, and response. You can also contact them at 253.798.7470.
- Pierce County has established a coronavirus impact site highlighting alerts and links to local services.
- Tacoma Public Utilities is providing extended payment plans, with fees and interest waived.
- The Utilities and Transportation Commission offers energy assistance programs.
- The federal government also has assistance programs to help with telephone and heating bills.
- Comcast is offering free WiFi hot spots, unlimited data, and no disconnects or late fees.
Property Tax Due Date Extension
- The Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer has postponed the due date for first half property tax payments from April 30 until June 1st. More details can be found in this Tacoma News Tribune article.
- If you need assistance feeding yourself or your family, visit the Food Lifeline website to find a partner food bank, food pantry, or hot meal program in your area. This food is free and available to you, even if you don’t qualify for food assistance benefits.
- Local schools are also providing meals for students. Here is a link to a map with addresses of Pierce County student meal distribution sites.
- Evictions have been halted for at least this month by order of the Governor, but if you need legal assistance either with an eviction, an unemployment claim, or other legal matters the following options are good, free legal resources:
- The Northwest Justice Project statewide CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral) Line. CLEAR is a toll-free legal hotline for people with low incomes: 1.888.201.1014.
- Washington Law Help offers information in multiple languages on an array of legal issues such as debt collection, family and safety, and senior issues and also features a COVID-19 page.
- Locally, you can connect with Tacoma-Pierce County’s Free Civil Legal Aid Program or call 1.888.822.5134.
- The Unemployment Law Project provides legal assistance with unemployment claim. You can view their website or call 1.888.441.9178 or 206.441.9178.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance-related questions.
- Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner – COVID-19 Resources: Information from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Business Grants, Loans and Taxes
- Governor Inslee announced that up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state will also be able to waive penalties and late fees for certain late business tax payments, and a number of taxes and fees will be waived for both business owners and residents.
- The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing small businesses and non-profits low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help with operating expenses.
- The Washington State Department of Revenue can provide extensions on taxes or waive penalties.
- The Attorney General has announced that his office is investigating complaints of price gouging during the COVID-19 public-health crisis. Learn more here, including how to file a consumer protection complaint.
Financial Resources for Consumers
- The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by the Coronavirus. Resources include information about banks and paying credit card bills.
- If you need help with your student loans, you may be able to temporarily suspend your payments by applying for a deferment or forbearance from the US Department of Education.
Childcare and Family Services
- The Department of Children, Youth, and Families is providing updates and information on childcare and the foster care system.
These are certainly trying times, but the challenges we face also reveal the strength of community. Staying the course, we will stay healthy and strong.
Be well and take good care,