COVID-19 Guidance and Resources


COVID-19 Guidance and Resources


During the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to remind all residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of this virus in your building. The Lowell Housing Authority (LHA) is taking the approach that ANY resident, visitor, staff member or service provider may be affected. We encourage you to take that same approach. It is important to also remain calm and show kindness during this difficult time.

WHAT CAN RESIDENTS DO?

We are urging all residents to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local officials for guidance on precautionary measures, including:
• hand washing
• disinfecting commonly touched surfaces in your unit
• social distancing and self-quarantine
• wear a mask or other face covering
• limit non-essential visitors to your building and unit
• limit any non-essential travel
• seek immediate medical advice if you are feeling sick
• if you are presumed to be infected or have been exposed, please inform your property manager (your privacy will be safeguarded)

WHAT MEAUSURES ARE BEING TAKEN BY LHA?

Our property management staff has given great attention to cleaning frequently touched building components such as handrails, door handles, elevator buttons, trash and recycling chutes, laundry facility, common areas and offices. We have also contracted with a third-party professional cleaning company to further disinfect these surfaces twice a week. This is being done in conjunction with the other preventative measures you have seen including community room closure, postponed social activities, safety and health postings, limited in-person meetings, office closure and discontinued onsite meal preparation,

Because of privacy laws, no one associated with the Lowell Housing Authority or our contracted service providers is at liberty to disclose any identifying information of any affected resident. Please do not ask for details about other residents; we cannot share this information with you. Thank you for approaching this public emergency with a sense of empathy, patience and understanding.

We will keep residents updated as needed. Please contact your property managers office if there are questions, or you wish to share information. We hope that you will remain well and safe during this challenging time.

-Lowell Housing Authority

   SPANISH                      KHMER

 

COVID-19 Testing Sites

Lowell Massachusetts Testing Site

CVS Rapid Testing Site Lowell
32 Reiss Ave., Lowell, MA 01853
Lowell(978) 851-6856 Drive Up: Yes

Lowell Community Health Center
161 Jackson St, Lowell, MA 01854
Lowell978-937-9700 Drive Up: No

Other COVID-19 Testing Sites in Massachusetts and New Hampshire

MA-https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download
NH-https://www.nh.gov/covid19/

Massachusetts Travel Order-Mandatory 14-Day Quarantine (COVID-19 Order #45)

To ensure that Massachusetts remains vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Governor of Massachusetts has instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving in Massachusetts (COVID-19 Order No.45). The order, effective August 1, 2020, requires that all nonresidents, and in some cases residents of Massachusetts, quarantine for 14 days. Any person who is obligated to comply with the 14-day quarantine requirement must complete a Massachusetts Travel Form, providing his/her intended place of quarantine, and contact information to permit DPH to confirm compliance with the requirement. Release from quarantine is permitted following the 14-day period, provided the individual complies with rules issued by the Department of Public Health. There are limited exceptions in the following cases:

  • Person is coming from a State designated as a COVID-19 lower risk State
  •  Person has received a negative test result for COVID-19 from a test performed on a sample taken not longer than 72 hours before the person’s arrival in Massachusetts and can produce proof of the negative test result upon request.
  • Person falls within limited, circumstance-specific exceptions including:

(a) Persons who pass through Massachusetts in transit to another state

(b) Persons commuting for Work or School, which extends only to travel between individual residence and work or school

(c) Patients receiving medical treatment from a physician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and those persons accompanying and providing needed support for the patient

(d) Military personnel who are required to travel to Massachusetts at the order or directive of a Federal or State military authority.

(e) Person performing critical infrastructure services, applying only to when a person is actively engaged in performing a critical infrastructure services function

This order will be enforced by the Department of Public Health and local Boards of Health and may result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation provided for in G.L. c.277, Sec. 70c.

For complete rules, regulations, and exemptions with respect to COVID-19 Order No.45 and to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order

What to Know About Paying Rent & Evictions During the COVID-19 Emergency?

HUD has issued guidance to Public Housing Authorities regarding rent payments and evictions in the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please see below for the HUD issued flyer.

EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED IN MASSASCHUSETTS UNTIL OCTOBER 17, 2020

English      Spanish       Khmer

What to Know About Contact Tracing?

The MA COVID Team and local boards of health are working together on a contact tracing program to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Contact tracing in an important tool is reducing the spread of the virus, along with testing and social distancing. Through the Community Tracing Collaborative, everyone who has tested positive will get a call from the Board of Health or the MA COVID Team, making sure they have the support they need to quarantine and get better, and to find out who they have recent been in contact with.

Please note that the MA COVID Team will never ask for any personal information regarding immigration status, health insurance coverage or request any social security numbers. Telephone numbers will display as MA-COVID Team, and be from two specific area codes. Please view the full notice below.

English

Covid-19 HUD Waivers

In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued PIH Notice 2020-05 that establishes temporary waivers and alternative processes for certain regulatory and statutory requirements of the Low Rent Public Housing (LRPH) Program and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs.  The implementation of these waivers is at the discretion of the Lowell Housing Authority (LHA).  These waivers are intended to provide public housing authorities with the flexibility to adjust program practices in order to prioritize mission critical functions.  These waivers will have a minimal impact on program participants and are intended to ensure the safety and health of our residents, employees and partners.  The LHA has implemented the waivers listed below as of April 10, 2020.

COVID-19 HUD WAIVER NOTIFICATION

COVID-19 ADOPTED TEMPORARY WAIVERS

ADMINISTRATIVE PLAN TEMPORARY AMENDMENTS

Covid-19 Prevention Practices

COVID-19 Prevention and Resources

The Lowell Housing Authority continues to monitor the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are taking the following preventative actions to help reduce the spread of this virus within our developments and ask for your assistance.

Cleaning Practices: Our property management team has increased the disinfecting of high touch areas including doorknobs, vending machines, railings and bannisters, elevators and bathrooms. This same practice of cleaning with disinfectants should be done in our homes and vehicles for all high touch areas including doorknobs, handles, counters and phones.

Limited Gathering Areas: Please assist us by refraining from gathering in entry lobbies. These areas should be used in short frequencies while waiting for a ride or delivery. The lobbies and entryways should not be used for visiting, recreation or social activities. We want to keep these areas clean and clear to reduce the possibility of contamination to our residents and visitors. Residents should congregate in established community rooms or units.

Limit Contact with Others: We urge residents that may be ill to minimize or avoid contact with other residents, LHA staff and members of our community. Please inform any LHA staff member of a sick family member before they enter your unit. Residents are encouraged to call or email your property management office instead of making face-to-face visits. If you are feeling ill, please call to reschedule meetings with LHA staff and contact your medical provider immediately.

Update Contact Information: Please be sure our property management offices have a current and valid phone number and email address. We are monitoring the situation and want to ensure we have correct contact information to deliver any future messages.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us maintain a healthy and safe environment. Informational bulletins will be posted throughout buildings with tips regarding sanitization, cleanliness, and other ways to avoid contracting an illness. Please visit the CDC website for up to date information at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/covid19

Applicants

The Lowell Housing Authority will be temporarily suspending all in-person application and resident services. If you are a new applicant interested in applying for affordable housing programs, please visit https://www.lhma.org/applicants/general-eligibility-criteria/federal-public-housing/ to being your application, or download our federal application here and mail to the Office of Public Housing, 21 Salem Street, Lowell, MA 01854

Download Federal Application

For questions or concerns, please contact the Lowell Housing Authority Executive office at 978-364-5311.

Resident Certifications

The Lowell Housing Authority has temporarily suspended all in-person certifications. Resident certifications will be conducted by postal mail, email, fax or hand-delivery of documentation required to secure drop box locations.

Certifications may also be conducted by video conferencing.  If you are interested in a video conference certification, please contact your property manager, or the Division of Leased Housing Office to schedule.

Eligibility & Hearing Appointments

The Lowell Housing Authority will not be conducting any eligibility appointments in person.  Applicants should communicate with our office by phone or email to ensure requested documentation is in place, and an in-person meeting will be scheduled at a later date.

To limit personal contact, eligibility hearings and resident hearings will be held by phone, or in-person by appointment only. Applicants and residents also have the ability to meet with our office via video conferencing.  If you are interested in scheduling a video conference, please contact our Executive, Leased Housing, or Public Housing Offices to schedule.

Maintenance & Inspections

The Lowell Housing Authority will be temporarily modifying its procedures for addressing inspections and maintenance requests. To limit contact with others as directed by the state of Massachusetts and the CDC, the agency will be reducing the number of inspections and routine maintenance requests of our residents.

Maintenance Requests

Emergency Requests

To ensure the safety of our staff, until further notice, The Lowell Housing Authority will be addressing resident emergency maintenance requests only. Emergency maintenance requests will be attended to within 24 hours, depending on the nature of the emergency. Emergency maintenance requests include, but are not limited to:

  • Any condition which jeopardizes the security of the unit
  • Major plumbing leaks or flooding, waterlogged ceiling or floor in imminent danger of falling
  • Natural or LP gas or fuel leaks
  • Any electrical problem or condition which could result in shock or fire
  • Loss of working heating system from September 15th through June 15th
  • Utilities (electrical, gas or water) not in service
  • Conditions which present the imminent possibility of injury
  • Obstacles which prevent safe entrance or exit from a unit
  • Inoperable fire alarm systems, missing or inoperable smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors
  • Any and all other conditions which pose a threat to the well being of the family/individual occupying the unit

Property managers will be responsible for ensuring that all emergency requests are corrected within 24 hours.  In situations where a 24 hour request cannot be immediately corrected, the family/individual will be relocated to a hotel or other shelter.  Property manager will coordinate these temporary relocations.  All costs will be paid by the Housing Authority, including hotel charges, costs for food while out of the unit, as well as transportation costs.

Routine requests

All residents should continue to submit requests for all routine work orders, and we will attend to them as soon as possible. Residents may submit a maintenance request by contacting their property maintenance line.

North Common Village: 978-453-6982
South Common Village, Faulkner Street: 978-453-7596
Highland Parkway, Harold Hartwell Court: 978-459-5037
Concord River Mill, Lakeview Ave: 978-275-8170
Belvidere Heights, Centralville Gardens, Francis Gatehouse, City View Towers:
978-459-4867

Inspections

The Lowell Housing Authority will not be conducting any interim or annual UPCS inspection. Regular inspections as part of the move-in process for housing eligible families will continue as defined by the agency’s administrative plan. If you have an inspection currently scheduled, you will be contact with the Housing Authority at a later date to reschedule. HQS inspection procedures and scheduling for Housing Choice Voucher Program participants will remain unchanged.

LHA Learning Zone After School Program

In lieu of Governor Charlie Baker’s implementation of a restriction on public gatherings as well as the order to close all K-12 Public Schools within the State of Massachusetts through April 7, 2020 in response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Learning Zone After-School Programs located at both 21 Salem Street as well as 580 Chelmsford Street will remain closed until further notice.

The Lowell Housing Authority will publish notification of the re-opening of the Learning Zone After-School Programs when either the Governor has lifted the restriction on public gatherings or the Authority feels doing so is in the best interest of its residents.

For questions or concerns, please contact

Michelle L. Dinan, Family Self-Sufficiency Director
Phone: (978)364-5368
Email: [email protected]

School Closures and Lunches

Lowell Public Schools will be closed from March 16, 2020-April 6, 2020. For Lowell Housing Authority residents with children who rely on school lunches, Lowell Public Schools will be providing bagged lunches at the following schools:

Rogers: 10:30AM -1:00 PM at the back door loading dock entrance on South Street
Greenhalge: 10:30 AM -11:00AM
Robinson: 11:15AM -11:45AM
Pawtucket: 12:00PM-12:30PM
Murkland: 12:45PM-1:15PM
Lincoln: 1:30PM-2:00PM
Bartlett: 11:AM-11:30AM
Moody: 12:00PM-12:30PM
Residents are asked to drive or walk-up for pickup.

For more information, please visit: 
https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=3773

Education and Technology

Comcast will be providing free low-cost internet for low-income families.  Please visit the link for eligibility details and terms.

https://corporate.comcast.com/press/releases/internet-essentials-low-income-broadband-coronavirus-pandemic

Meal Delivery

The Merrimack Valley Food Bank Nutrition program will be delivering meals as usual to the City View Towers, and Belvidere Heights. Food Distribution will occur in the community room for residents to return to their homes.

Residents receiving Meals on Wheels through Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley should not receive any disruption to their services at this time.  For more information, please contact Meals on Wheels directly at: https://www.esmv.org/programs-services/nutrition-program/nutrition-program-meals-on-wheels/

“Hannaford To Go” Grocery Pick Up
Hannaford has expert shoppers from different departments who will shop for you. Shop online and choose a pickup time at the Lowell Hannaford that is convenient for you. Once you arrive at the scheduled pickup time, just follow the “Hannaford To Go” signs. https://www.hannaford.com/hannaford-to-go

Market Basket Instacart

Shop conveniently online at Market Basket for all your food staples and get home delivery.  https://www.instacart.com/market-basket

Stop and Shop Peapod 

Shop conveniently online at Market Basket for all your food staples and get home delivery. https://www.peapod.com/

Nutrition/SNAP Benefit Assistance

To Activate Your P-EBT Card

Call the phone number on the back of the card: Massachusetts’ EBT Hotline, (800) 997-2555.

Create a PIN: Enter your P-EBT card number. It will then prompt you to enter the last 4 digits of your social security number – do not enter the last 4 digits of your social security number. Instead, enter the last 4 digits of your child’s case number that was provided on the letter you got in the mail. Then enter the child’s date of birth (using the 2 digit month + 2 digit day + 4 digit year. Example: 04/06/2005)

I Didn’t Receive a Letter or Lost My Letter

If you did not receive a letter in the mail from DTA or you lost your letter, call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline (800) 645-8333.

For more information on using P-EBT benefits, please visit For more information on using P-EBT benefits, please visit www.map-ebt.org

Unemployment Assistance

Do you require help in applying for unemployment assistance? Visit the link below to start the conversation.

https://www.mass.gov/forms/covid-19-department-of-unemployment-assistance-contact-request

Prescription Guidance

CVS Pharmacy
Amid a growing number of cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the United States, CVS is now offering free home deliveries on all prescriptions at all of their retail locations. The company announced it will waive any and all delivery fees on prescriptions, attributing it to wanting individuals at higher risk of contracting the virus to be able to stay home if they so choose.

Walgreens Pharmacy
Walgreens is “waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions. The company is reminding customers of a number of available services, including Walgreens Pharmacy Chat, a secure platform available 24/7 online and through the Walgreens mobile app, as well as pharmacy drive thru for customers looking for alternative ways to access their medications,” the company said in an announcement Thursday afternoon. “Customers are also able to use the drive thru to purchase a handful of select products.”

Rite Aid Pharmacy
If you have been exposed to coronavirus or the flu, or if you prefer to use shopping options that help reduce contact with others, we encourage you to use our app to refill prescriptions online and receive texts when your prescription is ready. You can also shop RiteAid.com to have your health and wellness products delivered right to your door. Many Rite Aid locations provide drive-through pickup windows and/or prescription delivery. Contact information for your local store can be found on RiteAid.com. And if you are not already a member of RiteAid’s free wellness+ rewards program, we encourage you to sign up to receive digital updates on COVID-19, in addition to a variety of other valuable benefits.

Religious Services

Mobile Social Groups

The American Association of Service Coordinators

The Institute on Aging’s (IOA) 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line helps seniors and adults living with disabilities. Staffed with trained volunteers, the hotline offers an ear to older adults facing loneliness, depression, isolation, and/or suicidal thoughts.  Make a referral today or call (415) 750-4111 or (650) 424-1411 to connect with IOA.

Presbyterian Senior Living – Mather Telephone Topics

With Telephone Topics, you simply call a toll-free number to listen to a wide range of interesting discussions and programs.

Dial in to…

  • Access Wellness programs
  • Participate in live, guided chair yoga or meditation sessions to stretch your body or mind.
  • Education programs
  • Learn about history, healthy habits, architecture, and more—it’s easy to learn something new!
  • Discussion topics–Share a piece of your mind when you join a lively discussion on sports, movies, and other topics.
  • Music reviews–Listen and learn about opera, early rock ’n’ roll, and other musical genres that get your toes tapping.
  • Enjoy Live performances or master storytelling sessions in the comfort of your own home.
    Call (888) 600.2560 to get started—it’s FREE!

March & April,  2020 Topicshttps://www.mather.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TeleTopicsMARAPR20webemail.pdf

Pets

The MSPCA has temporarily closed, but has provided the Lowell Housing Authority with pet food supplies to assist residents who may be in need of pet supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. These will be distributed to residents in need, while supplies last. For more information, please contact Andrea Hall at 978-364-5300, or by email at [email protected]

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