Dear Friends & Neighbors:
As we navigate the pandemic of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus together (but apart) please use this website to find useful information and tools. It will be updated as frequently as possible and much of the content is also provided on our social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter.
During the pandemic, our office will be closed to the public and working remotely except on the limited days that the legislature is in session. Normal community engagements such as coffee hours are also temporarily suspended during the pandemic. We are available by email at SenEGeiss@senate.michigan.gov and by phone at (517) 373-7800. Please be patient with responses as the volume of calls and emails is higher than usual. Most important, please be safe.
General COVID-19 information & updates
Prevention & mitigating spread
Food assistance Utility assistance
Property tax & foreclosure information
Small business information & assistance
Your mental health, well-being & safety
WEBSITES FOR UPDATES AND INFORMATION
Visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus, CDC.gov/Coronavirus and WayneCounty.com for information, including updates on Governor Whitmer’s executive orders, and information from Wayne County regarding the global pandemic.
PREVENTION & MITIGATING SPREAD
One of the most important things that you can do right now is to make sure that you are following the CDC recommendations of social distancing, washing your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and running water for a least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer that is at least 60% isopropyl alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
State Dept. of Health and Human Services
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has launched a Coronavirus Information Hotline that is available every day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 1-888-535-6136.
Beaumont Health System
People with questions regarding possible symptoms should call 248-551-7000. People can also visit their website for up-to-date information about their COVID-19 response.
Wayne RESA, the ISD that covers the school districts in our Senate district has a handy list of all of the school districts and schools (including some charters) that have set up programs for ensuring that students in their catchment areas still have access to food during the global pandemic. The schools or districts listed also have information on their websites and social media platforms with guidance on what each of their processes are. The districts covered by Senate District 6 are Flat Rock Schools, Huron Schools, Romulus Community Schools, Taylor School District, Wayne/Westland Community Schools and Woodhaven/Brownstown Schools. Summit Academy is also offering food distribution.
Visit this webpage for the full list from Wayne RESA. Their list is updated periodically. Note: it is in table form, so visitors will need to scroll to find their school or school district.Back to menu ^
GENERAL FOOD ASSISTANCE
Many people may need to turn to food assistance as the economic impacts of the global pandemic affect food security. Below are area food banks in Senate District 6. When possible, please call ahead, especially for those linked with houses of worship as some congregations are limiting their worship services in response to mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. List is by community and may be subject to change.
Church of God Mountain Assembly
494 W. Columbia Ave., Belleville, MI 48111
Food distribution held on Thursday nights. Sign-in between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. Food boxes are distributed after service, between 8:30 and 9:00 PM.
Nourishing Gardens Food Bank
24831 Sumpter Road, Belleville, MI 48111
Sundays, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Belleville First United Methodist Church
417 Charles St., Belleville, MI 48111
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Helping Hands Community Lutheran Church
23984 Gibraltar Road, Flat Rock, MI 48134
Wednesdays, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM; must be a resident of Flat Rock
Gleaners Community Food Bank
25670 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180
Wednesdays-Fridays, from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Saturdays, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Fish & Loaves
25670 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180
Mondays, from 9:00 AM to Noon and 1 PM to 7 PM
Tuesdays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Wednesdays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Fridays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Saturdays & Sundays, CLOSED
Note: Fish & Loaves has satellite locations throughout the Downriver Area.
The United Way for Southeastern Michigan also has a 2-1-1 helpline that is confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have established a fund specifically to help during the coronavirus pandemic. Please call for more information.
You can also visit PantryNet.org to locate a food pantry near you.
Finally, if you have school-aged children, please check the Wayne RESA webpage for a location near you providing free meals for students during the emergency school closures. Most are providing FREE pick-up breakfasts and lunches to children in their area even if they do not matriculate in the school district.Back to menu ^
COVID-19 UTILITY ASSISTANCE
Many of the utility providers that we use have put in place COVID-19-related assistance programs.
Comcast is offering 60 days free of their internet essentials program during the coronavirus pandemic.
Charter is offering free access broadband and Wi-Fi for households with K-college students.
DTE Energy is suspending shutoffs, extends senior program amid COVID-19 outbreak through April 5th. Those in the Senior Winter Protection Program have their end dates automatically extended to May 5th. The payment assistance program may be available for customers who contract coronavirus or lose their income as a result of the outbreak. DTE encourages those impacted by COVID-19 to call 1-800-477-4747.
Consumers Energy is suspending shutoffs for low-income customers and seniors through April 5th. Seniors in the Winter Protection Program have their dates extended through April 30th. Those who may need payment assistance can also learn more on their webpage.
Phone and internet
AT&T for the next 60 days will:
Additionally, AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data and will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.
To help people work and learn remotely, businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach. Further, they are underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), which is available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19.
Learn more about AT&T’s Coronavirus response on their website.Back to menu ^
PROPERTY TAXES & FORECLOSURES
Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, citing an abundance of caution, and interests of the health and safety of Wayne County taxpayers and Treasurer Office employees, has announced the closure to the public of the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office beginning Monday, March 16th until Friday, April 3rd. A decision will be made at that time whether to reopen to the public. For full details on the Wayne County Treasurer’s COVID-19 Response, please click here.Back to menu ^
COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Governor Whitmer issued an executive order on March 16th to expand unemployment benefits to:
Access to benefits for unemployed workers will also be extended:
Under the order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.
The order also expands the State’s Work Share program. Employers are encouraged to implement the program that permits employers to maintain operational productivity during declines in regular business activity instead of laying off workers. More information about Work Share can be found here.Back to menu ^
COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESSES RESOURCES
Information on help for small businesses is changing rapidly, with the latest available on the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development website.
The U.S. Department of Small Business Association has information on their website about disaster assistance available, or you can call their national hotline at 1-800-659-2955. Also, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has information on their website as well.
Governor Whitmer is also seeking additional solutions for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, in addition to solutions for self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have access to unemployment insurance. This information will be updated as it becomes available.
Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit the MEDC’s website or call 1-888-522-0103.
The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for additional information.Back to menu ^
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, WELL-BEING & SAFETY
While we are all aiming to practice social distancing during this time of high anxiety, remember that your self-care and mental health and safety are also important. Here are some tools and links to tools that you may find helpful during this period:
Addiction and recovery
Some groups are hosting online Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings during the pandemic, so that those facing addiction and recovery can still find the support that they need and trust so that you can continue your recovery journey, especially during this time of high anxiety when relapse is more likely.
If you are already in a recovery program, stay close to your sponsor by phone, text or other forms of digital communication. If you need crisis counseling or support, learn about ways you can get help on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.
Domestic and intimate partner violence
Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.
For help, guidance, and assistance, visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence website and the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Staying safe while cleaning and disinfecting
What NOT to flush
The Great Lakes Water Authority is cautioning people that the following items are not flushable:
Other than human waste, only toilet paper is flushable.
Avoid mixing chemicals
Use this handy guide to avoid accidentally mixing certain household chemicals together as you are cleaning and disinfecting.
Report price gouging
To report price gouging during the pandemic, please call the Attorney General’s office at 877-765-8388 or report through the consumer protection online portal.
Secretary of State offices
Secretary of State offices in Michigan will be by appointment only for critical services over the next three weeks. Critical services include driver’s license renewals, title transfer regardless of type and testing for an original CDL, Chauffeur’s mechanic and recreational licenses. These measures are aimed at preventing overcrowding.
For more information, visit the Michigan Secretary of State website. Late fees for tabs and license/state ID renewals will be waived during this period.Back to menu ^
Beaumont COVID-19 online risk assessment tool:
This online tool launched March 18 and in its first day had more than 16,500 users. This tool allows patients to answer a series of questions about their symptoms to help them determine whether to stay home or seek medical attention. After answering the questions, the online tool will suggest what action a patient should take, such as:
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 contact:
This email is for COVID-19 issues & questions only, not for other DHHS-related issues.
Emails will be answered seven days a week 8am-5pm
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