Local Help with Food, Shelter, and Utilities During the COVID-19 Crisis

Times are tough out there for many of us right now, but thankfully, our area has a wide array of resources, both public and private, that can help if you need assistance with food, shelter, or utilities. Please don’t feel like you’re alone! These organizations are doing everything they can to help each other under very challenging circumstances.

On the flip side, if you have the resources to help any of these organizations, please consider doing so. They can use any help they receive right now to make the good they’re doing go even further.

Food

Utah Food Bank

The Utah Food Bank has 182 partner agencies in 29 Utah counties. They distribute food free of charge to their partner agencies and also run a variety of direct programs to help children and seniors, the most vulnerable populations in the state.

To find a food pantry near you, just go here and locate all of the food distribution sites in our area. I highly recommending give the site a call or finding their website or Facebook page to see what emergency protocols they might be following during this time, including limited hours or handing food boxes out to people outside.

You can also find a calendar of daily mobile food pantries here, which may be helpful if you live in a more rural area.

If you have financial resources you’d like to donate to the Utah Food Bank, it’s easy to do so right here.

School District Meals for Kids

The Salt Lake City School District is offering sack breakfasts and lunches for kids who are facing food insecurity because they are out of school right now. With so many children receiving much of their food and nutrition in school, this is a serious concern.

Meals are being served each weekday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The sack lunch can be eaten immediately, while the sack breakfast can be refrigerated and eaten the next morning. Go here to see all of the sites where you can go to pick up meals for your kids.

Emergency Food and Hygiene Boxes

Three locations in in our area (Liberty Community Learning Center, Glendale, and Rose Park) are handing out emergency boxes of food and hygiene products for those in need on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. You can see the details here if you’re in need of a box.

This is a partnership with the Salt Lake School District and the Salt Lake Education Foundation, with donations for the items in the boxes coming from the Utah Food Bank and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Make a donation here if you’d like to help continue to fund these boxes.

Mortgage and Rent

First, you should know that there is a federal moratorium on home foreclosures (if you have a Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed mortgage, which most people do). If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payment, give your mortgage servicer a call, and they will work with you to come up with an option that works for your current financial situation. Remember, it’s always better to call than to stop paying!

Homeless Prevention Program

Utah’s Department of Workforce Services has a program that can help you with your mortgage or rent payment once every twelve months if you’re in certain circumstances.

Among other requirements, you must have lost or be about to lose your home, have a child under 18 in the home, and have tried all other means of getting the money or setting up a payment plan. Call the Department of Workforce Services for more information about getting help.

Utah Community Action

Utah Community Action provides a wide variety of assistance for those in need in our area, including rental assistance for those in the midst of a temporary financial crisis in the Salt Lake and Tooele counties. They are still providing deposit and emergency rental assistance over the phone. If you need help, please contact them at 801-359-2444 or see more information here.

Small Businesses

City of Salt Lake

The City of Salt Lake has several emergency resources you can use to get money if you’re a small business owner in need right now. Salt Lake has enacted an emergency loan program to get money out to business owners quickly.

In addition, they have small business administration loans with low interest that can help you out. Find all of the city’s COVID-19 resources for small businesses here and get more information about applying for these loan programs.

Utilities

Virtually all major utility companies in Utah are suspending disconnection of service due to non-payment, as well as foregoing any late fees that normally apply to nonpayment.

However, if you need help, please contact them and work out a payment plan that works for you. Some utility companies also have funds to help qualified customers out with their bills for a period of time, so it’s absolutely worth your time to call them. See COVID-19 information and announcements from Dominion Energy, Salt Lake City Public Utilities, and Rocky Mountain Power.

Home Energy Assistance Target (HEAT) Program

The HEAT program offers winter home heating assistance (November 1 to April 3) and year-round energy assistance for low-income households in Utah. Contact your local HEAT office for assistance if you are need of help, or you can apply online here.

More Resources

I also wanted to point you in the direction of a couple of other excellent resources if you’re struggling right now.

2-1-1

Utah 2-1-1 is a free, confidential way for Utahans, sponsored by the United Way, to find health and social services resources in your community. They can help refer you to organizations that may be able to help in your particular situation. Please don’t hesitate to give them a call to see where they can refer you for more help in this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 Emergency Resources

The mayor of Salt Lake City’s office put out this PDF filled with emergency resources that can help you right now. Just check it out here!

All my heartfelt wishes to those who are struggling right now. The one thing we can take comfort in as that we’re all in this together. It’s inspiring to see the good that’s come from a difficulty. Thank you to all who are working hard to make this world a better place.

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