COVID-19 Resources for Philadelphia

Last updated September 21, 2020

This City of Philadelphia COVID-19 webpage is providing updated information and guidance related to COVID-19 in Philadelphia for residents, business owners, event producers, and health care providers.

  • To receive text updates from the City of Philadelphia about COVID-19, text COVIDPHL to 888-777.
  • The Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline is open 24/7 at 800-722-7112.

The Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity offers a collection of COVID-19 resources for individuals, families, and businesses (last updated 4/21).

The City is regularly updating its list of Essential City Services that are open during the COVID-19 crisis (updated 4/17).

Public Transportation

SEPTA riders are asked to wear masks on all transportation lines. SEPTA is providing updates on its website daily.

Behavioral health services

Please check the Community Behavioral Health (CBH) website daily for updates on mental health and substance use providers’ service hours and telehealth options. Philadelphia residents seeking mental health or substance use disorder services should call CBH member services at 888-545-2600.

  • Pennsylvania Statewide Support and Referral Hotline is available at 1-855-284-2494, For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.
  • The PA Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 by texting “PA” to 741741. Services are confidential and free.
  • The Delaware County Crisis Connections Team Warm Line is available at 855-464-9342. The Warm Line is staffed by Certified Peer Specialists to support individuals with mental health and emotional challenges.

Resources for workers impacted by COVID-19

Unemployment compensation

If you lost your job due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for unemployment compensation You can file a claim for unemployment benefits online. Work search and work registration requirements are temporary waived for unemployment compensation claimants. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19.
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19.
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19.
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

Work Search and Work Registration requirements for people currently receiving are temporarily waived for all unemployment compensation claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their unemployment compensation benefits.

Employment opportunities

Free tax preparation

The filing date for Pennsylvania and federal taxes was extended to July 15. If you don’t anticipate owing money, filing can be done by October 15. Free, virtual tax preparation is available for low-income families through the Campaign for Working Families at GetYourRefund.org. Once there, verify your identity, answer some required questions, and upload your tax documents. For issues, visit cwfphilly.org. You can also schedule an in-person drop-off here.

Resources for people in recovery

Sexual health services

If you need sexually transmitted disease (STD)/sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, please call 215-685-6575 or 215-685-6571. Health Center 1 is providing modified services during COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, a medical professional will be available to discuss an evaluation plan and/or determine next steps.

Resources for people experiencing intimate partner violence or abuse

Resources for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Breastfeeding services and supplies:

  • You can reach out to your insurance provider to request a breast pump delivered to your home.
  • Pacify is a free mobile app that provides on-demand access to lactation specialists right from your smartphone. Get the app by:
    • Searching “Pacify” in the Apple Store or Google Play
    • Entering the enrollment code PHILLY at signup for FREE 24/7 access

Baby supplies:

  • The Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network provides food and diapers to families in need. Call 215-247-4663 and press 8# to speak to a staff person. Hours of operation are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm.
  • Catholic Social Services provides emergency food and diapers through several locations in the City.

Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

To find the nearest WIC office in Philadelphia, go to http://northwic.org/locations/ or call the central WIC office at 215-978-6100. All offices are open for eWIC card loading from 7 am to 1 pm Monday through Thursday. Check the WIC Facebook page for new developments @PhiladelphiaWICProgram.

Resources for parents with young children

Resources for youth, young adults, and people who work with youth

Philadelphia COVID-19 Youth Service Dashboard provides crowd-sourced information for young people, their families, and service providers about which youth-serving public service programs are open and accessible during the novel coronavirus crisis in Philadelphia.

Resources for people experiencing homelessness

The City of Philadelphia states that housing will be available to those who are homeless or facing imminent homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

To access services:

  • Call 215-686-7150 to request a housing intake.
  • Call 215-232-1984 to request street outreach from Project HOME. More resources can be found here.
  • Visit the City’s Emergency Housing webpage.

For more information see resources for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Because of practical safety concerns or logistics, the City has had to temporarily suspend several homeless services.

These changes have disrupted the normal flow of food, care, and connection to housing services, and Philadelphians should find alternatives or contact Philly311 by dialing 3-1-1 within the city or OHS by emailing OHS@phila.gov for guidance.

  • Same Day Pay programs employing 20-40 people daily are temporarily on hold; participants typically used the program both as an alternative to panhandling as well as an on-ramp to workforce development.
  • OHS is not  accepting homelessness and eviction prevention applications; right now, no legal eviction can take place in Philadelphia and the courts are closed, so those facing an illegal lockout or eviction should immediately dial 911 and request police.
  • Offices in the Municipal Services Building are closed to the public. If you have to reach anyone at OHS, please stay home and email your OHS contact or OHS@phila.gov.

Resources for immigrants

Resources for older adults

  • The Philadelphia Senior Law Center office is currently closed; however all of their staff are working remotely. Individuals can access services by calling 215-988-1242.

Food assistance

  • Free food assistance for Philadelphia families: Beginning March 30, Philadelphia residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can pick up a free box of food for their household at locations throughout the City.
    • Food sites are open Mondays and Thursdays 10am-12pm.
    • Residents can pick up one box per household. Supplies should last 5 days.
    • Residents do not need to present an ID or proof of income for eligibility.
  • Philadelphia schools are serving meals to students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
    • 63 school food sites are open from 9am-2pm on Fridays.
    • Each child will receive meals for the school week.
    • 31 food sites are open from 10am-12pm on Thursdays.
    • Any child is eligible at any site. No ID is required.
  • The following resources provide information on locating discount food, food pantries, and food banks:

Public benefits and income supports

If you have lost your job, or have had a reduction in your hours, you may be eligible for SNAP (“food stamp”), Medicaid (“Medical Assistance”), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF” or “cash assistance”) or heating bill assistance (LIHEAP). You can apply for benefits through Compass or by calling Benephilly at 844-848-4376. The County Assistance Offices are currently closed to the public, but they are accepting applications. If you already receive these benefits, but you’ve lost income, you may be eligible for an increase in SNAP or TANF. Because the County Assistance Offices are closed to the public, you should submit information about a change in income in one of the following ways:

  • Online through Compass
  • Through free mobile app MyCompassPA
  • By calling the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215-560-7226 (for Philadelphia residents)

The USDA approved maximum benefit allotment for all households receiving SNAP, though no additional benefits were provided for households already receiving maximum benefits. The CLS sued, and with cooperation from the Department of Human Services, lowest-income and no-income households in Pennsylvania can receive additional SNAP on top of their maximum benefit allotment.

Some people and families may also qualify for temporary cash assistance through the TANF Diversion payment program.

Coronavirus tax relief information can be found here.

Telephone health insurance enrollment helplines

Housing

Maximum rental assistance has now been increased from $750 to $1500. The deadline is September 30, and the application can be found here.

The eviction diversion program for landlord/tenant disputes is now functioning. Landlords are required to take this path first before filing against a tenant in court.

City Council is considering an extension of the city-wide eviction moratorium.

Beginning March 27, there’s also a federal eviction moratorium for 120 days on the filing of any new evictions against tenants in any type of federally-related subsidized housing, including LIHTC and Housing Choice Voucher Programs (including “Section 8 housing”). Though this expired on July 24, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures has been extended for homeowners.

Utilities

There will be no gas, electric, water, or landline phone shutoffs in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has not yet lifted, so it appears it may last throughout the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation (November 30). The winter moratorium will begin on December 1.

If you have experienced a loss of or reduction in employment, you may qualify for assistance with your utilities bills.

  • LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program
    • Though the LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program has ended, the regular season will reopen on November 2.
    • Visit Compass to apply, or paper applications are available online.
  • PECO has suspended shut offs due to COVID-19. PECO is also offering assistance programs to individuals facing hardship. Individuals seeking assistance should contact PECO Customer Care as soon as possible by calling 888-480-1533.
  • PGW  is suspending non-payment terminations and will waive new late payment charges until further notice. Regular billing will continue for all customers.
  • The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will not shut off water for nonpayment and has suspended all late fees and penalties for water bills. PWD began restoring water for customers who previously had it turned off on March 13. If you still do not have water you should call PWD righ taway at 215-685-6300.
    • If you have lost water or have questions, please call (215) 685-6300 or email waterinfo@phila.gov.
    • If you have a plumbing issue and need to hire a contractor there are no restrictions as plumbers are essential businesses.
    • The Homeowner’s Emergency Loan Program (HELP) offers zero-interest loans for repairs to water service.
  • Comcast is offering 60 days of free of Comcast Internet Essentials to new customers who apply before December 31, 2020. 
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, Comcast will not disconnect customers’ internet service or assess late fees. Customers must contact Comcast and choose a new billing date at https://www.xfinity.com/myaccount.

Legal services resources

  • The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus Bulletin Board provides up-to-date information on changes to benefits and services.
  • Community Legal Services is open remotely. General calls can be directed to (215) 981-3700.
    • Landlord tenant cases at 267-443-2500
    • Medicaid at 215-227-2400
    • Homeownership issues, including mortgage and tax foreclosures at 215-334-4663
    • Department of Human Services matters involving children at 215-981-3765.
  • Philadelphia Legal Assistance has closed walk-in intakes, but staff are working remotely. The hotline will reopen September 21. To apply for assistance:
    • Call 215-981-3800 Monday through Thursday from 9:30am-12pm for general legal matters or matters related to unemployment compensation, bankruptcy, probate, lawsuit defense, home ownership issues, public benefits, or tax income disputes.
    • Call 215-981-3838 Monday through Thursday 9:30am to 12pm for family law matters.
    • Call 215-334-4663 Monday through Friday 9am-5pm for tax and mortgage foreclosure matters, home ownership issues, mortgage rescue scams, and predatory home buyers.
    • Apply for services online.
  • The Legal Clinic for the Disabled’s office is currently closed; however staff are working remotely Monday through Friday 9am-5pm. Call 215-587-3158 for services.
  • The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania‘s staff are working remotely. To access services:
    • Email intake@aidslawpa.org,
    • Call 215-821-7899 or 215-587-9377, or
    • Complete an online intake.
  • Mazzoni Center provides direct no-cost or low-cost legal assistance to low-income and lower-income, underserved LGBTQ populations. To access services:
    • Call 215-563-0657 or
    • Email legalservices@mazzonicenter.org
  • HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal representation to immigrants who meet their eligibility criteria. They resume general intake on September 14. Call 215-832-0900 Wednesday 9:30am-12pm or Thursday 2pm-4:30pm to be included on their intake list.
  • Criminal record expungement
  • Legal self-help materials are available from Community Legal Services for:
  • The Philadelphia Senior Law Center office is currently closed; however all of their staff are working remotely. Individuals can access services by calling 215-988-1242.
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Civil Legal Aid

Legal information and updates

  • Pennsylvania courts are closed for most reasons. See the PA Courts page for updates. This includes the Municipal Court and the Court of Common Pleas. 

People with family or friends in jail or prison

Pennsylvania State Prisons

The Pennsylvania DOC has suspended all visits. Only staff, vendors and contractors will be allowed to enter any of the state prisons, pending the results of a screening. The DOC has begun video visitation in place of face-to-face visits.

The Pennsylvania Prison Society provides updated information on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania prisons, including frequently asked questions and disease tracking.

Philadelphia Jails

Currently, the Philadelphia Department of Prisons has suspended all civilian visitors due to COVID-19. Incarcerated individuals will be provided 15 minutes of free calls each day and two free stamped envelopes weekly.