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April Update

April 1, 2020

Metro Government has set up a Covid 19 Hotline at 615-862-7777 and website, which will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. People who have been exposed or who are showing symptoms of infection (high fever and cough) can call the hotline to find out whether they should be tested and where they should go for testing. Community Assessment Centers have been set up and opened as of Monday, March 30. The Assessment Centers will be open from 9am to 3 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Additional information on Covid 19 and available resources can be found at Nashville.gov by clicking on the yellow banner at the top of the page or Mayor Cooper’s daily press briefing is available here.

Here are some of the organizations and agencies focusing on relief efforts:

The Financial Empowerment Center is providing counseling on their website or 615-748-3620

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, in partnership with Mayor John Cooper and the Metro Council, has formed a Small Business Task Force to address the issues facing small businesses in Metro Nashville/Davidson County that have been affected by COVID-19 and the March 3rd tornadoes.

Mayor Cooper has also established a Food Security working group. Nancy Keil, President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, will chair the working group, which includes representatives from Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), the Red Cross, Kroger, Amazon, Lyft and restaurant industry leaders, such as Sean Brock.

NashvilleHealth Chairman Bill Frist, M.D., is chairing Nashville’s COVID-19 Response Fund, created by Mayor John Cooper, together with philanthropic, corporate, and government partners, to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations - getting dollars to where they are needed most. Housed at the United Way, the fund is focusing its initial allocations on helping Nashvillians who are experiencing lost wages or who become ill from the virus receive the assistance they need to stay in their homes and keep food on the table. To apply for assistance or to donate, visit the Covid Response Fund website.

Metro Parks are still open, but Playgrounds, Dog Parks, Basketball Courts, tennis courts, skate parks, and picnic tables are closed to ensure people keep safe distance. This is being enforced by Park police.

Metro Schools are now closed through April 24. MNPS will be providing distance learning materials in grade-/age-appropriate packets at MNPS-run student meal distribution sites, including 16 schools and more than 40 bus stop locations, on Monday, March 30, and every Monday while school facilities are closed. These materials will also be online for students, parents, and teachers to download and use.

In partnership with MNPS, Nashville Public Television (channel 8) will begin airing educational enrichment programming targeted at all student age groups starting Monday, March 30. More details available here.

This week, district officials will be working with high school principals and staff to distribute MNPS-networked laptops to students who need them for credit recovery programs in order to graduate on time at the end of the 2019-20 school year in May. Principals and school staff will be contacting students and families identified as being in need, and there will be a hotline for reservations open starting on Tuesday, March 31, at 615-269-5956.

Breakfast and Lunch Meals MNPS nutrition services and transportation teams were able to provide more than 22,000 breakfast and lunch meals across Davidson County last week and will continue to offer service on weekdays while school facilities are closed. Locations and times can be found online at www.mnps.org/covid19.

In addition to the previously announced meal pickup locations, YMCA and Camp Widjiwagan will be providing meals to children under 18 at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekdays:

  • Camp Widjiwagan, 3088 Smith Springs Rd., Antioch, TN 37013
  • Donelson Middle School, 110 Stewarts Ferry Pike, Nashville, TN 37214
  • Margaret Maddox YMCA, 2624 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

Metro Social Services: MSS is currently offering abbreviated walk-in hours at their main location for customers experiencing an emergency. The hours are 9a-1p until further notice. If it is not an emergency, we encourage you to call 615-862-6432 and a MSS employee will work to support your need. MSS ask that you continue to practice universal precautions and social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Please check their webpage, Facebook and twitter for weekly updates.

Metro Action Commission: The Metropolitan Action Commission receives federal funding through the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) to help with rent, mortgage and rental and utility deposits. The agency also receives funding through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help with utility payments such as electric and natural gas. On Monday, March 30, the Metropolitan Action Commission suspended face to face customer service. However, the agency remains open and customers have a drop box option for all applications and supporting documentation. The application is available on the MAC webpage, or an application mailed can be requested to be mailed, emailed, or faxed by calling 615-862-8860, Ext 70100 or by email at metro.action@nashville.gov. Applicants can print the application and mail, email or bring it to the office drop box in the agency’s lobby. The complete listing of required documentation is on the agency’s webpage. Payments are made directly to the business. All programs require income eligibility based on the federal poverty income guidelines. For example, a family of three with an income at or below $31,995 would be eligible. For a complete list of income eligibility requirements, applicants should visit the Metro Action web page.

Typically, applicants are served once during each application period, which began October 1, 2019 and ends September 30, 2020. However, if someone has been assisted, but has been impacted by the tornado or COVID 19, they are still urged to contact Metro Action.

Department of Human Services: TDHS is accepting applications for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits and the Families First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Cash Assistance program. Applications can be submitted online here.

FEMA: Tornado survivors can register, check the status of their applications and get answers to questions about disaster assistance in several ways:

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Download the FEMA App
  • Call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Multilingual operators are available. The toll-free numbers are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

The deadline for obtaining REAL ID has been extended to October, 2021. At that time, a regular driver’s license will no longer be sufficient identification for airline travel. An extra year has been added because of the need to avoid crowds.

For the folks who are lucky enough to be healthy and still have a job and a roof over your head, you can volunteer to help those less fortunate at Hands On Nashville or make a financial contribution to the Community Foundation or Covid-19 Response Fund.

And please support local restaurants by buying a gift card now to use later when we are back to normal by clicking here or order online here.

The Metro Small Business Task Force website is now live. This site is a collection of federal, state, local, and private resources for small businesses to navigate these times. It includes a list of general resources, current news, articles and other items to assist small businesses with recovery from the coronavirus outbreak and the March 3rd tornadoes.

Mayor Cooper delivered a sobering, but still encouraging State of Metro Address on March 31. The economic realities of the Covid-19 shut-down will have a significant effect on revenues for the final quarter of this fiscal year. This administration has worked hard to bring the budget back into balance and to start rebuilding a cash reserve, but the events of March and April will change the whole equation. The Council now expects to receive the proposed budget in mid-April, and we’ll have till mid-June to make our own adjustments. We are sure that balancing the budget will require either reducing costs significantly or raising revenues or a combination of the two. Stay tuned for more details as those discussions begin.

I am forwarding a message from Council Member Ginny Welsch about the 2020 Census: With all that is going on in our lives right now - coronavirus, tornado recovery – the Census is not top of mind. But it is VITALLY important that everyone fill out their Census form and to be counted. Census numbers determine, among other things, the amount in federal dollars that Nashville receives for 300 different federal programs, including disaster relief. As recent events have shown, this is not to be taken lightly. By now, you should have received information about filling out the Census in the mail. But even if you haven’t, you can still fill out the Census TODAY by going online to the Census website, or by calling 844-330-2020. You can also request a paper Census form at that same number. There are translated web pages and guides in 59 different languages, including American Sign Language and Braille, to help you fill out your Census form. Census correspondence contains a unique ID number, but you do not need the ID to complete your Census form. Online, look for the button, “I don’t have an ID” or chose that option over the phone. The entire process, with or without an ID, generally takes less than 5 minutes. If you know anyone who has been displaced by the tornado, it is essential they fill out the Census form, too. Unless they are displaced, or the residence is condemned, people should be counted at their usual home where they intend to return. This is extremely important, as Metro council and Congressional districts are drawn based on census data. If displaced people are not counted at their usual residence, Nashville could be greatly impacted. So please, complete your Census, and let’s make sure that everyone in Nashville counts!

I hope everyone is successfully avoiding infection and learning how to work from home. It is making a difference that everyone has been wonderfully cooperative with social distancing and staying safer at home. Our thanks go out to first responders and health care workers for keeping the city safe and helping those who do turn up sick. I’m strengthened by all the outpourings of help and compassion I see all over the city. My neighborhood has instituted a daily 6 pm check-in where we gather in front of our respective houses and wave to make sure we’re all OK. During the 2 days of spring that we had over the weekend, we invited the neighborhood children on a safari and put stuffed animals all over the yard for them to find from their strollers in the middle of the street. Even if we can’t hug each other, we can share concerns and great ideas, and that will help us get through this unprecedented challenge better and stronger.

In Conclusion

Keep sending ideas on how neighbors or the city can respond to the challenges of the pandemic at burkley.allen@nashville.gov or 615-383-6604.

Regards,
Burkley Allen
Metro Council At-Large

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