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Need help in North Texas because of COVID-19? Here are the numbers to call

Whether you need assistance with food, housing, your health or cash flow, there are a number of companies and community resources that are able to help.

WFAA is compiling a list of resources for people who need help during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Looking for a specific type of help? Try typing 'Control F' to search this page for what you need.

Do you know of a service that should be added to this list? Email digital@wfaa.com. This list will be continuously updated. 

Abuse

Domestic violence and child abuse cases have both increased under the new reality of COVID-19. Experts say financial and mental stressors, along with enclosed living spaces, have contributed to the rise. So, if you notice something, hear something or want help, here are a few resources.

  • Childhelp.org can be a resource for both parents and children and is currently available to help and welcomes any phone calls. 
  • The National Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453.
  • Anyone who feels they or someone else is in danger can call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
  • Lena Pope, a nonprofit focused on child well-being in Tarrant County, has created a new hotline "to help counter the stress and challenges felt by many families during shelter-in-place." Caregivers can get support from the hotline for emotional, mental health or behavioral challenges that come about while staying at home. Those interested can call the hotline for free at 817-806-9920 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

RELATED: Domestic violence calls increase as people shelter in place during COVID-19 outbreak

Emergency Assistance

For those in need of help right away, there are resources that can connect with the right services depending on your situation. 

  • VNA Texas offers emergency assistance for the elderly along with a number of other services. Those interested can send an email to gethelp@vnatexas.org or call the group directly at 1-800-225-5862.
  • 2-1-1 Texas offers a variety of different kinds of help and assistance and can connect you with the right local community resources, whether you need help finding food, housing, child care, crisis counseling or substance abuse treatment. Call 211 or 877-541-7905, but be advised they currently have reports of long wait times.

Food

There are a number of meal services and food pantries that can help anyone who is or becomes food insecure during the pandemic. 

  • Brother Bill's Helping Hand offers a drive-thru food pantry that's open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unless it's an emergency, clients must call 214-638-2196 first. The pantry is located at 3906 North Westmoreland Road in Dallas.
  • Catholic Charities Dallas Marillac at 2843 Lapsley St. in Dallas serves seniors and offers breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food is first come, first serve. Call 214-826-8330 for more information. 
  • CitySquare Food Pantry is open from Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pantry offers drive-thru and walk-in services, which are first come, first serve. For more information, call 214-823-8710. The pantry's address is 1610 S. Malcom X Blvd in Dallas.
  • Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep has a food and diaper pantry through the Catholic Charities of Dallas that is open on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Call 469-844-7956 for more information on the pantry's services. It's located at 1064 N. St. Augustine in Dallas.
  • The Crossroads Community Services Pantry at 4500 S. Cockrell Hill Road in Dallas asks clients to bring their own grocery bags, along with a picture ID and proof of their address. Call 214-560-2511 for more information. 
  • Interfaith Family Services offers a drive-thru food pantry. Clients must call first to pre-register. The number is 214-827-7220 and the pantry is located at1651 Matilda Street in Dallas.
  • Jan Pruitt Community Pantry services residents of zip codes 75134, 75146, 75172, 75141, 75241, 75154. Potential clients must call first at 972-591-7849. The pantry is located at 123 Alexander St. in Lancaster.
  • Meals on Wheels in Dallas County is still open and delivering food. Those interested can call 214-689-2639 for more information. 
  • Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Call 972-596-0253 for more information. 
  • North Texas Food Bank in Plano can help those who are food insecure. Call 214-330-1396 for assistance.
  • Pleasant Grove Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is first come, first serve. The pantry is located at 1324 Pleasant Drive in Dallas and can be reached at 214-505-1928.
  • Vickery Meadow Food Pantry and Clothes Closet can help its clients with food once a month and with clothing every three months. Clients must live in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood, so zip codes 75231 or 75243. The pantry is located at 8448 Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas. Call 214-821-5575 for more information.

Health Care

Medicare and Medicaid both cover COVID-19 testing and telehealth virtual check-ins. The programs are experiencing high call volumes, but the general phone line you can call is 1-800-633-4227. Or, click here for more options. 

Mental Health

As the outbreak numbers continue to rise, we become more isolated and our routines become more and more disrupted, it's completely understandable if you're feeling overwhelmed. There are a number of people who are here to help in North Texas.

  • Arlington ISD has created a student counseling services hotline at to "put students in direct contact with school counselors to talk about stress, anxiety and other topics." Students can call the hotline at 682-867-9416 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. during the week for help.
  • The Here For Texas Mental Health Navigation Line is a free helpline that people can call to find mental health and addiction resources that include telehealth options. The line is open from Monday through Friday and will remain open during the pandemic. Assistance in Spanish is available as well. The number to call is 972-525-8181.
  • The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority has a helpline that is open at anytime. The phone line provides mental health support for those dealing with COVID-19, including trauma-informed support and psychological first aid for those dealing with stress and anxiety. Call 833-251-7544 to get in touch with them.
  • Texas Health and Human Services now has a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help those "experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Anyone can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at any time for free at 833-986-1919. 

Legal Aid

The State Bar of Texas, the state’s legal aid agencies, volunteer organizations and access-to-justice organizations have created a toll-free legal assistance hotline for low-income individuals and families across Texas dealing with civil legal problems because of the pandemic. 

Those interested can call 800-504-7030 toll-free for help wherever they live in the state.

Different kinds of legal help being offered by the group include:

  • Bankruptcy and debt-collection matters;
  • Employment issues, unemployment applications and appeals;
  • Child custody, visitation, and support issues;
  • Life, medical, and property insurance claims;
  • Mortgage or foreclosure problems;
  • Public benefits issues (e.g., Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps, Social Security);
  • Healthcare directives and powers of attorney;
  • Consumer protection issues such as price-gouging and scams;
  • Landlord-tenant problems;
  • Disability discrimination; and
  • Family and domestic violence concerns

Housing & Utilities

Whether you need help securing housing or delaying a payment on your utilities, a number of companies have opened up options to customers, in addition to aid groups.

  • Allstate Insurance customers can now request a special payment plan and are allowed them to skip two premium payments in a row with no penalty. Customers can reach Allstate at 1-877-810-2920.
  • Ambit Energy is waiving late payment fees, extending payment due dates, with no partial payment required and reducing monthly payments by allowing customers to pay their balances over five equal installments. Customers can call support at 877-282-6248 to find out more.
  • AT&T will not terminate services for customers for 60 days, regardless of their ability to pay. The company is also waiving late payments and fees and can help support those who are unable to pay their bill. The company is also offering internet access for “qualifying limited-income households at $10/month through our Access from AT&T program.” Customers must call 800-288-2020 or 611, but expect high call volumes.
  • Charter Spectrum is offering free broadband and WiFi for students in grades kindergarten through 12 for 60 days. The offer is available for those who do not already have internet access at home. The company is also creating free public hot spots for internet access, but customers must call 1-844-488-8395.
  • Comcast is expanding a service they already offer for low-income families called Internet Essentials. The service, which is normally $9.95 a month, will be free for new customers for 60 days and is 25 MBPS. The company also won't not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact Comcast. People hoping to sign up for the services can call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish. 
  • Dallas Water Utilities is suspending disconnections for 60 days and offering different kinds of payment arrangements. While they are experiencing high call volumes, customers must call 214-651-1441.
  • The Fort Worth Water Department is temporarily halting disconnections due to non-payment, according to water department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza. This applies to residential, commercial and industrial accounts. Call 817-392-4477 for more information.
  • Interfaith Family Services offers utility and rent assistance for clients who need temporary assistance and permanent housing for homeless families. To learn more, click here or call 214-827-7220.
  • Reliant Energy is providing payment extensions and waiving late fees, helping customers with deferred payment plans and offering bill payment assistance through Reliant’s CARE program. The electric company is also “pausing payment-related disconnects for residential and small commercial customers.” Customers can go online, download the app, or call 1-866-RELIANT to receive that help.
  • The St. Jude Center's Senior Housing for the Homeless offers those who are age 55 and older permanent housing and assistance should they need it. For more information contact Barbara Herron, the program manager, at 469-801-8119 or bherron@ccdallas.org.
  • TXU Energy will waive late fees and extend payment due dates, with no down payment required to help customers. It will also reduce down payments and defer balances over five equal installments. The company also provides additional bill-payment assistance for customers who need help paying a bill through its TXU Energy Aid program. If a customer is unable to pay their bill, they should call TXU Energy at 1-800-242-9113.
  • Verizon is waiving late fees for customers experiencing tough economic conditions because of the outbreak between March 16 and May 13. The company also says it “will not terminate service to a customer who’s been impacted by the events involving the coronavirus.” If customers find themselves needing help due to these circumstances, contact Verizon to discuss available options. Call 1-800-922-0204 for assistance.

Small Business Help

Student loans

Americans with federal student loans will get a little bit of relief for at least the next 60 days.

The U.S. Department of Education says it is dropping interest rates to 0% for at least that long and allowing borrowers to suspend payments for at least two months to help people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

RELATED: People with student loans can suspend their payments without interest for at least 60 days. Here's how

To request a forbearance, borrowers should contact their loan service via phone or online. 

In addition, payments will automatically be suspended for any borrower who is already at least a month behind in payments or falls behind during the forbearance period.

The Department of Education has more information about loans and loan repayment here. 

 Visit StudentAid.gov/login or call 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.

Unemployment

If the COVID-19 outbreak has changed your employment situation, you can file to receive benefits in the meantime.

The Texas Workforce Commission's website now has a section on its website dedicated to the COVID-19 response:

'If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Mondays through Fridays."

Those interested in applying can also use the online claim portal called Unemployment Benefits Services to handle their claim quickly, especially as the line has been experiencing high call volumes. 

RELATED: 'You should not have to worry': Texas Workforce Commission explains issues with unemployment process

RELATED: Texas unemployment rate headed toward double digits, comptroller warns

Additional Community Resources

  • Arlington ISD has created a community support services hotline that is manned by social workers to help parents, students and staff with available community resources as they deal with the effects of COVID-19. Call 682-867-9417 anytime from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on weekdays for help.
  • The City of Dallas has launched a new COVID-19 resource and information hotline that is available 24/7. Residents can reach the automated line by calling 214-670-4636. Dallas officials say the hotline includes local and federal information regarding the novel coronavirus. Information is available in English and Spanish and includes current COVID-19 regulations and testing locations, employment assistance, federal relief payment information, volunteer/assistance opportunities, rental/mortgage and eviction assistance, small business assistance, social services including food pantries, childcare assistance, senior assistance, unsheltered resident assistance, and mental health resources, and utility payment assistance.