Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates from the PHA
The Providence Housing Authority (PHA) is taking action to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We want to do everything we can to protect our residents, PHA staff, and others in our community. We are closely following the recommendations of public health agencies like the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC), especially in light of the Governor’s Executive Orders. The PHA remains committed to continuing to provide high quality customer service throughout this difficult time. Please continue on below for additional updates and notices regarding the PHA’s response to this epidemic.
The PHA is open and working diligently for the individuals and families we serve while practicing social distancing and limiting in-person interaction whenever possible.
What is the PHA doing about during the Coronavirus Crisis?
Just a few ways the PHA is working with our residents, participants, vendors, partners, and the community at-large to slow the spread of the Coronavirus:
- A suspension of eviction activity and late fees through at least July 23, 2020 in accordance with the CARES Act. Section 8 tenants also cannot be evicted or lose their voucher based on nonpayment during this period. We ask tenants to continue paying their rent and to notify the PHA if there is a change in their income. While we have suspending evictions based on economic circumstances, the PHA will take necessary enforcement actions up to and including seeking eviction, against tenants in cases of perpetrating domestic violence and other behaviors that endanger the safety of our community.
- Offering appointments via telephone and accepting documents via email or fax whenever possible. We have also set up drop boxes at all our developments and outside our Administrative Offices at 100 Broad St.
- Cancelling in-person meetings and limiting face-to-face contact.
- Screening customers for symptoms and indicators of the virus prior to entering units or in-person interactions such as picking up food boxes.
- Hiring an outside vendor to disinfect all high-touch areas in all developments twice per day.
- Contracting with an outside security vendor to amplify existing coverage by PHA Security Unit and Providence Police Public Housing Unit patrols.
- Closing all community rooms and recreational spaces, except laundry rooms to prevent planned and unplanned gatherings and group meetings.
- Postponing all PHA-sponsored events. Working with resident leaders to postpone all regularly scheduled activities within the developments.
- Limiting maintenance work within units to life and safety related items. Screening all residents for virus risk factors prior to entering the unit. Our limited maintenance crews are continuing to work outside and within vacant units, wherever possible, and only while practicing social distancing.
- Drop boxes or secure mail slots have been added to all offices. Please leave all PHA related documents there.
- We are asking that rent be mailed with the rent statement to Providence Housing Authority, PO Box 40850, Providence, RI 02940-0850.
- Began offering Food Boxes to seniors and disabled residents in-need living in our high rise communities.
- All residents and participants were mailed guidance on our continued operations through COVID-19 and our staff members are conducting wellness checks by phone and/or emails (some may be from blocked numbers as our team works from home).
- Asking residents to limit visitors, especially to our high rise communities.
- All employees who work on site are having their temperature taken by a supervisor and self-certifying as to a lack of symptoms and known COVID-19 exposure before beginning a shift.
- Closure of PHA-owned basketball courts and playgrounds, as they continued to be gathering places for large groups.
- Requiring all staff, residents and visitors to wear face masks when at our offices or developments. The PHA team has conducted thousands of wellness calls via phone to residents and participants, checking on them during this troubling time and connecting them to resources and support. We recently set a letter to tenants we have been unable to reach by phone and are continuing to check in with residents we’ve spoken to earlier on.
- Establishing a COVID-19 hotline (401-709-1848) for our residents to self-report if they have tested positive or are quarantining due to the virus.
Reducing the likelihood of getting or spreading the Coronavirus:
We ask that ALL non-essential visits to our high rise buildings be suspended. For essential visits (such as CNA care, homemakers, food or medication delivery), please screen for key indicators of the virus (if you are not feeling well, traveled out of state or country, etc.) before allowing them to enter the building. All who enter the property MUST be wearing a face mask.
Health experts recommend the following:
- Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, using warm water and plenty of soap, especially after touching shared objects such as door handles.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose.
- Cover coughs and sneezes, using a tissue or your forearm, not your hands.
- Consider home preparedness and stocking up on extra groceries, medicines and other supplies. Contact your Resident Service Coordinator if you need assistance coordinating shopping, deliveries, etc. during this time.
- If you have questions, contact your doctor or urgent care before you go into the office.
- Practice “social distancing” which is to maintain 6 feet of separation from you and others at all times.
For a full list of resources, please click here. Note – this list continues to change as we learn of new resources or changes to existing ones.
COVID-19 hotline (401-709-1848): self-report if you have tested positive or are quarantining due to the virus.
How can I get alerts or ask for help?
If you have questions related to the virus you can contact the State’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) hotline at 401-222-8022 or dial 2-1-1 after hours.
For Providence-specific alerts, you can sign up for Code Red at https://www.providenceri.gov/pema/codered/.
You can also contact PHA staff members for assistance via phone or email.
For all non COVID related needs, contact your Resident Service staff or dial 2-1-1.