COVID-19 Update from Mayor Curtatone & City Staff (March 26, 2020)
Dear Community Members,
- As of 9:30 a.m. today, March 26, a total of 24 Somerville residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5 of them have since recovered.
- Governor Baker has extended the statewide closure of all Public and Private schools and non-emergency daycares to May 4th. Mayor Curtatone has also extended the closure of City buildings to May 4th.
- The MA Dept. of Housing and Community Development announced that families and individuals facing housing insecurity due to the pandemic can seek up to $4,000 through a state program. Details are available online at mass.gov/DHCD.
- On Wednesday, Mayor Curtatone reaffirmed that construction sites in Somerville will remain closed as ordered earlier in the week to protect site workers, their families, and everyone they come into contact with. Projects must close by Friday, with a few exceptions for those that need longer to secure their sites.
- Mayor Curtatone has redirected the focus of all appropriate staff to the COVID-19 crisis. Food distribution, social service supports, public safety, information sharing, 311 service, and more are some of top priorities you may already know about. Here are a few examples of other activities underway:
- The Somerville Arts Council has compiled resources for artists at somervilleartscouncil.org/covid19, has started an online gallery/performance space on Somerville Creates on Facebook, and is reworking upcoming events to go virtual.
- The City’s Economic Development Division is working intensively to support local businesses. Visit their resource webpage at www.somervillema.gov/CovidBizHelp, which includes loan program updates, upcoming webinars, and more.
- A $2 trillion dollar federal rescue package is pending in Washington with supports for households, businesses, unemployment payments, hospitals, and more. Once a final package is approved, we’ll share information on any resources you may be able to access.
Today’s Assistance Tips
With many businesses and schools being closed, we know this can be a time of increased food insecurity in our community. If you or someone you know is struggling to afford food, there are resources available. For information on other forms of assistance such as unemployment or housing supports, visit www.somervillema.gov/coronavirus.
- The Somerville Food Security Coalition has put together a comprehensive website with information about food access during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes their food resource guide, which lists food pantries and other food-related resources. Call an organization before visiting in person as they may have new procedures to follow.
- Project Bread offers a FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333 (TTY line: 1-800-377-1292) to help callers find food resources.
- On Findhelp you can enter your zip code and find programs and services in your area for food access and other needs.
- You can also call 3-1-1 (617-666-3311) any time if you’re concerned about food access and they will connect you with local resources.
- The Somerville Public Schools are continuing to provide breakfasts and lunches to students and families in need. Meals can be picked up between 9 and 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, at the following locations:
- East Somerville Community School, 50 Cross St.
- Healey School, 5 Meacham St.
- West Somerville Neighborhood School, 177 Powder House Blvd.
- Winter Hill Community Innovation School, 115 Sycamore St.
If you’re interested in helping with food access during the COVID-19 outbreak, here are some local options for getting involved:
- Somerville Food Security Connection needs volunteers for tasks like bagging food from Greater Boston Food Bank for distribution and helping with food deliveries. To volunteer, please contact Jennifer Mancia at [email protected].
- Food For Free, which runs the Somerville Backpack Program in partnership with the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative and Somerville Public Schools, is mobilizing a volunteer team. They will be in touch with interested folks regarding opportunities as they become available. Sign up online to volunteer.
- Call Project Soup at 617-623-6111 to learn more about how to help with their food-assistance program.
- If you would like to make a financial contribution, consider supporting a local food pantry or a community-driven response effort or fundraiser.