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COVID-19 Response

Food Pantry
wash your hands
Arabic Resource

Keeping Families Safe

En Español Aqui

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put out valuable information about the COVID19 and we ask that you take some time to familiarize yourself with ways to prevent exposure, to stop it from spreading and for treatment. Great resources can be found on the following website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

October 1 Update:

St Joseph County Health Department Public Health Order 3-2020

Here is an updated health order established by the health department. Visit their website for more information here.

July 27th Update:

Mask Requirement – Indiana 

Governor Holcomb has set in place an executive order making masks mandatory is public sessions where social distancing is not possible. Mandate will stay in place until August 26. For more information visit https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/.

June 29th Update:

Mask Requirement  – St. Joseph County

Health officials in St. Joseph County said Monday that it is extending its current face mask requirement through September 7, 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The current requirement for face mask usage expires July 4. The new order continues the requirement through early September.

Full Article:

St. Joseph County will require face masks through September 7 – ABC 57

June 22nd Update:

New Testing Sites – No Requirements

The Indiana State Department of Health has opened testing for everyone. Testing is available at 1901 S Kemble Ave, Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM. Registration is required by going online to lhi.care/covidtesting or calling 1-888-634-1116.

List of Testing Sites

You can find a list of testing sites near you here.

May 12th Update:

Free Testing Sites – Beacon Health System

Please follow this link and check out Beacon Health System’s COVID-19 Response page which shares upcoming dates and locations for testing.

COVID-19 Hotline & Symptoms – Saint Joseph Health Systems

Please follow this link to see Saint Joseph Health System’s response page which shares their COVID-19 hotline, precautions, symptoms, screening info and ways you can help stop the spread of the virus.

St Joseph County Department of Health

Stay informed! A very helpful resource to our community is our very own St Joseph County Department of Health. Stay up to date on press releases, testing sites, and prevention by visiting their website.

Unemployment for Self Employed

Indiana is now providing unemployment support to those who are self employed through the CARES Act and Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development. You must apply for standard unemployment benefits and be denied before you can access the PUA application. Click the links below:

Unemployment Benefits

What can PUA Offer?

Start a Claim

Indiana University South Bend – Community Resource Guide

If you are looking for resources in the community, IUSB has outlined local services and businesses for various needs. Click here to download.

April 7th Update:

Quick Links
We understand the urgent need for resources in our community at this moment, which is why we have provided some helpful links:

Unemployment:
English Version*
https://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Unemployment_Insurance_Brochure-One_Page-Final.pdf

Spanish Version*

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Claimant_Handbook_SP.pdf  – Resource Manual

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Indiana_Unemployment_FAQ_Employers_Sp.pdf  Unemployment FAQ for Employers

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Indiana_Unemployment_FAQ_Sp.pdf  Unemployment FAQ for Claimants

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/DWD_UI_One_Pager_on_Covid-19_Sp.pdf  – Unemployment Coverage Basics

Phone: 800-891-6499
*If you are calling about unemployment insurance, DWD is requesting that individuals only reach out with questions on the day corresponding with the first letter of their last name to assist with the wait times. Here is the schedule:

Monday: Letters A-E
Tuesday: Letter F-I
Wednesday: Letters J-M
Thursday: Letters N-T
Friday: Letters U-Z
Friday: If you missed your day

Utility Bills (Indiana):
If you need help with utility bills, follow this link: https://www.hud.gov/states/indiana/renting/energyprgms

Rental Help (Indiana):
If you have questions or are looking for rental assistance, follow this link: https://www.hud.gov/states/indiana/renting

 

March 26th Update:

FOOD PANTRY
Our food pantry will continue to operate on Wednesdays from 2PM to 4:45PM.  We will have a hand sanitizing station outside of our pantry area.  If we have enough volunteers bringing pre-packaged food boxes and delivering to cars, clients will not need to enter the building. With triple and quadruple demand we need help purchasing supplies, packing boxes, etc. Please email jurek@lacasadeamistad.org if you can help. You can mail us a check or click on the link to support this effort: Facebook Fundraiser

 

March 23rd Update:

Governor Eric J. Holcomb ordered Hoosiers to stay at home until April 7 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because the order may cause confusion as to what is or is not permitted, the governor’s office provided a list of frequently asked questions and the answers.

When does the order take effect?
The Stay-At-Home Order takes effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

When does the order end?
The order ends on Monday, April 6, at 11:59 p.m. ET, but could be extended if the outbreak warrants it.

Where does the order apply?
The Stay-At-Home Order applies to the entire state of Indiana. Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you must stay home.

Is this mandatory or a recommendation?
This order is mandatory. For the safety of all Hoosiers, people must stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

How will this order be enforced?
Staying home is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Adhering to the order will save lives, and it is the responsibility of every Hoosier to do their part. However, if the order is not followed, the Indiana State Police will work with local law enforcement to enforce this order. The Indiana State Department of Health and the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission will enforce the restaurant and bar restrictions.

Will the Indiana National Guard enforce this order?
No. The Indiana National Guard is aiding in planning, preparation and logistics with other state agencies. For example, the Indiana National Guard assists in distributing hospital supplies the state receives.

What is an essential business?
Essential businesses and services include but are not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, doctor’s offices, health care facilities, garbage pickup, public transit, and public service hotlines such as SNAP and HIP 2.0.

A list can be found in the Governor’s executive order at in.gov/coronavirus.

What is an essential activity?
Essential activities include but are not limited to activities for health and safety, necessary supplies and services, outdoor activity, certain types of essential work, and to take care of others.

A list can be found in the Governor’s executive order at in.gov/coronavirus.

I work for an essential business. Will I be allowed to travel to and from work?
Law enforcement will not be stopping drivers on their way to and from work, traveling for an essential activity such as going to the grocery store, or just taking a walk.

Will the grocery store/pharmacy be open?
Yes, grocery stores and pharmacies are essential services.

Can I still order take out/delivery from restaurants and bars?
Yes, restaurants and bars can continue to provide takeout and delivery, but should be closed to dine-in patrons.

Can I get my groceries delivered? Can I still get my online orders delivered?
Yes, you can still receive packages, get groceries delivered, and get meals delivered.

How can I get medical care?
If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider.

If you suspected you have COVID-19, please call the healthcare provider in advance so that proper precautions can be taken to limit further transmission. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately, but please call in advance if possible. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

Nonessential medical care such as eye exams and teeth-cleaning should be postponed. When possible, health care visits should be done remotely. Contact your health care provider to see what telehealth services they provide.

What is the guidance for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities?
State-operated developmental centers, intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities and community integrated living arrangements will continue to provide care. All in-home direct care staff are considered essential staff and should continue to support individuals in the home setting.

If you have specific questions about your support and services, reach out to your provider or individual service coordination agency.

What if I still have to go to work?
You should stay home unless your work is an essential function such as a health care provider, grocery store clerk or first responder. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing.

A list of essential businesses can be found in the Governor’s executive order at in.gov/coronavirus.

What if I think my business should be closed, but they’re still asking me to report to work?
Essential businesses will remain open during the stay-at-home order to provide services that are vital to the lives of Hoosiers. If you believe your business is nonessential but still are being asked to show up to work, you may discuss it with your employer.

A certain service is essential for me, but the governor didn’t include it. What do I do?
The stay-at-home order was issued to protect the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers. Although some businesses such as fitness centers and salons will be closed, essential services will always be available. For a list of essential businesses that will continue to operate during the order, visit in.gov/coronavirus.

Will public transportation, ride-sharing and taxis continue?
Public transportation, ride-sharing and taxis should only be used for essential travel.

Will roads in Indiana be closed?
No, the roads will remain open. You should only travel if it is for your health or essential work.

Can I still take a plane out of Indiana?
Planes and other types of transportation should be used for essential travel.

What if my home is not a safe environment?
If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are able and encouraged to find another safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out so someone can help. You can call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or your local law enforcement.

What about homeless people who cannot stay at home?
The administration wants to protect the health and safety of all Hoosiers, regardless of where they live. State agencies are partnering with community organizations to ensure the homeless population has safe shelter.

Can I visit friends and family?
For your safety, as well as the safety of all Hoosiers, you should remain at home to help fight the spread of COVID-19. You may visit family members who need medical or other essential assistance, such as ensuring an adequate food supply.

Can I walk my dog or go to the veterinarian?
You are allowed to walk your dog and seek medical care for your pet should they require it. Practice social distancing while out on walks, maintaining at least 6 feet from other neighbors and their pets.

Can I take my kids to the park?
State parks remain open, but welcome centers, inns, and other buildings are closed. Families will be able to go outside and take a walk, run or bike ride, but they should continue to practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increasing spreading the virus.

Can I attend a religious service?
Large gatherings, including church services, will be canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19. Religious leaders are encouraged to continue livestreaming services while practicing social distancing with one another.

Can I leave my home to exercise?
Outdoor exercise such as running or taking a walk is acceptable. However, gyms, fitness centers and associated facilities will be closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. While exercising outside, you still should practice social distancing by running or walking at least 6 feet away from other people.

Can I go to the hair salon, spa, nail salon, tattoo parlor or barber shop?
No, these businesses are ordered closed.

Can I leave my home to do laundry?
Yes, Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers are considered essential businesses.

Can I take my child to daycare?
Yes, daycares are considered an essential business.

Can I pick up meals at my child’s school?
Yes, Schools that provide free food services to students will continue on a pickup and take-home basis.

March 20th La Casa Update:

Update on our COVID19 response,

Greetings, as changes are communicated, we want to provide detailed information about the crisis to our families, staff and volunteers and give updates on our plan of action. Read our social media posts as well for additional information. 

CITY/STATE ANNOUNCEMENT
The City of South Bend and the State of Indiana have given updated responses to the crisis. The key changes are that in South Bend only essential travel is allowed (details below) and from the state that all Indiana schools will be closed at least until May 1. Families need to start planning how they will handle this long closure. 

CENTER CLOSURE
Due to the “only essential travel” recommendations, La Casa de Amistad will now be closed for all in-person services. Please call the office at (574)233-2120 and leave a detailed voicemail with a clear name and phone number.  We will be checking voicemails throughout the day and answering them as quickly as possible. 

FOOD PANTRY
Our food pantry will open a special session this Saturday from 2PM to 4PM. Just bring your ID and come get a prepacked food box. We will continue to operate on Wednesdays from 2PM to 4:45PM. We ask for community volunteers to help, please contact Jurek at jurek@lacasadeamistad.org. We will have a hand sanitizing station outside of our pantry area.  If we have enough volunteers bringing pre-packaged food boxes and delivering to cars, clients will not need to enter the building. We also will need additional funds to increase our food pantry reach. We anticipate an increase in need and an increase in food pantry users. We have increased the goal on our FB fundraiser, please give if you can: https://www.facebook.com/donate/

SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL BUSINESS
Another way we have helped the community is by translating several resources. One key resource is about supporting our local restaurants which are still open. Whether it is buying gift cards from your favorite coffee shop or getting take-out, please support local small businesses throughout our community during this health crisis. Travel to pick-up food either from a grocery store or take-out from a local restaurant is still allowed. Web resources: https://www.takeoutcovid19.com/

PROGRAMS
Our staff will continue to communicate with our families, students and clients during the crisis to keep them informed of resources and important program updates. We will answer phones as best we can during business hours and answer voicemails as quickly as possible. 

Please be safe, please follow all the CDC and local leadership guidelines (linked below) and we will all work to keep our community safe.

 

March 19th Update from City of South Bend:

Mayor James Mueller, along with the County Commissioners, has declared a local disaster emergency and issued a travel advisory urging residents to stop non-essential travel to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

The travel advisory, which goes into effect at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, has been issued at the Watch level, meaning essential travel only.

Certain types of travel are considered essential, like going to work and the grocery store, picking up food from restaurants, visiting the doctor’s office, dropping off kids at a daycare, picking up prescription and traveling for emergencies.

March 15th Update:

Greetings. As we continue to monitor, update, and review our COVID-19 response plan, we want to keep everyone updated about this constantly changing environment. La Casa de Amistad is committed to providing access to the most accurate information available and to ensure our community’s safety. We are continuously working with our staff, board, and local partners like the South Bend Community School Corporation, Venues Parks and Arts, Boys and Girls Club, Ivy Tech Community College, and the health department and at the same time getting advice from our legal partners and our insurance providers. Below you will find some key elements about our plan and how it will affect La Casa’s programs and services.

OFFICE HOURS
La Casa de Amistad will remain open to answer phone calls during regular business hours as long as we have sufficient staff. We will not be taking walk-in clients.  A sign will be posted on our doors for clients to call, if they come to our building. We will make adjustments as necessary in special and/or emergency situations. We are committed to supporting our community but must ensure our team and others in our community are being kept safe. Our office will be answering phones from 9AM to 6PM, Monday through Thursday (we close daily for lunch from 12PM to 1PM). Our office phone number is 574.233.2120

VOLUNTEERS
If you are an adult who is local, healthy, no part of an at-risk population, and is willing to volunteer, please contact Nancy Diaz at nancy@lacasadeamistad.org. If you are one of the many college volunteers whose college courses have been moved online, we ask that you not attend programs at this time. We are in communication with our  local colleges and universities and have contacted all current volunteers with instructions. 

PROGRAMS OVERALL
The CDC recommendation for areas of high viral spread include maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from one another in activities/events involving small groups of people. Most of our programs operate in tight spaces and we must make adjustments to nearly all operations as described below.

As a reminder, we follow the South Bend Community School Corporation calendar for closings and special dates for all our youth programs (Yo Puedo Leer, Crece Conmigo and Adelante). We are working to coordinate our plans with their announced schedules and dates. The South Bend Schools are scheduled to reopen after their spring break on April 14th, 2020. 

YO PUEDO LEER (preschool)
Yo Puedo Leer will be run on a regular schedule on Monday March 16. Take home students packets will be put together for our families which will include activities and lessons for families to follow for the week. Additional packets for families will need to be picked up on Monday, March 23 and Friday, March 27.  These packets are to encourage families to help their children stay on track in their development and to be ready for kindergarten.

YOUTH PROGRAMS
La Casa de Amistad has partnered with the South Bend Community School Corporation to provide meals and eLearning support during the schools closure. Due to volunteer shortages, we will not run our regularly scheduled after-school programming.  We will however be offering a safe space for students to do homework, have access to Wi-Fi and be able to receive school lunch. La Casa’s eLearning Site will run from 9AM to 2PM, Monday through Thursdays. We ask families who have access to childcare and internet elsewhere to use those resources so our site can be used for those families who are in real need.  If you would like your children to use our site, they must be enrolled and verified before attending. Students enrolled in current programming will have priority when registering. We will not allow drop-off of unregistered children. 

Starting Tuesday and until further notice, we ask parents to please drop-off their children through the door on the  side of our building and to not enter to reduce potential transmission. Children will be screened everyday following CDC recommendations upon arrival into the building. 

CITIZENSHIP CLASS & IMMIGRATION CLINIC
All Citizenship Classes have been suspended until April 14, at this time students will be notified of any further changes. Classes are being suspended mainly due to the fact that many volunteers and students fall within the high-risk category.  We will be offering one-on-one study groups and Facetime/Skype study opportunities for students with upcoming naturalization interviews in the next 4 weeks. We will provide updates on decisions about adjusting semesters and length of programming based on conditions after April 14.  

Our Immigration Clinic and Legal Program will be rescheduling any scheduled upcoming in-person appointments and will be conducting all consults and procedures over the phone until April 14th or upon further notice. 

ENL & SPANISH CLASSES
Evening language programs, both English and Spanish classes, are postponed until further notice. We will adjust semesters and length of programming based on safety guidelines and when we are able to commence programs again. 

FOOD PANTRY
Our food pantry will continue to operate on Wednesdays from 2PM to 4:45PM. During this time, we have permission to lift the “get food only once a month” restriction and will allow any family to have access to food every week through our food pantry. We ask for community volunteers to help, please contact Jurek at jurek@lacasadeamistad.org. We will have a hand sanitizing station outside of our pantry area.  If we have enough volunteers bringing pre-packaged food boxes and delivering to cars, clients will not need to enter the building. We also will need additional funds to increase our food pantry reach. We anticipate an increase in need and an increase in food pantry users. We have posted a Facebook fundraiser to cover costs of these additional supplies. You can mail us a check or click on the link to support this effort: Facebook Fundraiser

EVENTS
Our upcoming jointly sponsored Naturalization Oath Ceremony at Notre Dame on April 3, has been canceled. The naturalization candidates participating in this ceremony will be rescheduled to other locations/dates.
Our upcoming DACA Renewal clinic on April 4 is also canceled.
The April West Side Wednesday luncheon will be rescheduled or canceled. 

For information on other upcoming events which we are hosting and might be cancelled, please follow us on Facebook to be updated with the most current information. www.facebook.com/lacasadeamistad 

OVERALL
The sudden and extended lack of university volunteers will impact many of our programs. We are instructing our students/volunteers to stay home if feeling sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, while also calling their physician for approval as to when to return. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has put out valuable information about the COVID19 and we ask that you take some time to familiarize yourself with ways to prevent exposure, to stop it from spreading and for treatment. Great resources can be found on the following website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html?

La Casa de Amistad will also be following cleaning guidelines and other suggestions put forth from Gibson Insurance, our partner, in keeping our community safe. Their updated information is available on this website: https://www.gibsonins.com/coronavirus-resource-center

There are many resources available to families during the shutdown. Many of our partners, like Comcast have offered their Internet Essentials program for two months for new customers.  We ask that you contact them directly, please do not call us about details. https://www.internetessentials.com/

For information and questions about  coronavirus for people without access to a healthcare provider,  please contact the St. Joe County COVID-19 Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 (United Ways’ call system).

OUR STAFF
Our staff will not be coming in to work if they are feeling any related virus symptoms and have been instructed to take technology and files home daily so they are able to work remotely. We are committed to our team, and to ensure this does not impact them economically, our team will be paid throughout the shutdown. 

We will work to continue to keep all those who work with us; whether you are a volunteer, student, partner, community member or local leaders, informed of updates here at La Casa de Amistad.  If you have questions or concerns you can email sam@lacasadeamistad.org.