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Essential Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On Friday afternoon, Congress agreed to a $2.2 trillion relief package in response to COVID-19. We know that many survivors of human trafficking and others may have questions about how to access essential services during this time. Here is a set of resources that might help.  These resources are not specific to survivors of trafficking but we have heard from many that survivors are struggling with lost income, with fear and anxiety and with many other challenges facing so many around the world. We will update and share any more specific resources we find and welcome your input as well. 

As always, please reach out to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline if you or someone you know is in a sex or labor trafficking situation by calling 1-888-373-7888 or texting BeFree (233733).

If you need assistance finding food, paying housing bills, or other essential services, use this link or dial 211 to speak to someone that can help.


Unemployment and Financial Assistance

  • F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Bill: New York Times explainer of what is in the stimulus bill, including how to know if you qualify for up to a $1,200 check from the Federal government. 
  • Stimulus Calculator: Washington Post calculator to see if you qualify, and how much you’d receive, in a stimulus check.
  • Hub for Help: New York Times site to explain how to get unemployment benefits and other financial assistance.
  • American Bankers Association: An alphabetical list of publicly announced steps banks of all sizes have taken to respond to the crisis, including support for clients.
  • Small Business Administration: The U.S. SBA is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • Immigrant Workers’ Rights: A document that answers frequently asked questions from immigrant workers and their advocates about COVID-19-related topics.

Relief Funds

  • IRS People First Initiative: Tax relief, including an extension for annual taxes until July 19th as well as other relief measures is available through the IRS.
  • Fannie Mae Loan Lookup: Information on mortgage relief is available from Fannie Mae.
  • Freelancer’s Relief Fund: Offers grants of up to $1000 for contractors to help pay for rent, groceries, etc.
  • Eater: A list of relief funds for restaurants, bars, and food service workers.
  • Writers Emergency Fund: PEN America will distribute grants of $500 to $1,000 to professional writers based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need.
  • Hospitality Relief Funds: A list of national and city/state resources available to restaurant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing & Food

Other Resources

  • COVID Collective Care: A “US-based  resource for people looking out for themselves and their communities through personal preparation, collective care, mutual aid, and advocacy.” The resource is organized by topic and uses Google documents which allow community members to add/edit and share information with the intention of people-driven, community-specific support. 
  • Non-profits and COVID-19: We know many survivors run non-profits. The Council of NonProfits has information for non-profit related relief. 
  • NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide: National Alliance on Mental Illness guide answers frequently asked questions regarding the intersection between Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and people affected by mental illness, their caregivers and loved ones. The guide features FAQs on a variety of topics from managing anxiety and social isolation to accessing health care and medications.
  • Pet Owner Support: A list of organizations that help those who need food or veterinary services for their pets – many local humane societies/animal shelters are also offering pet food banks for their community. 

Please note that these are external resources compiled to help you better understand what help might be available. Polaris did not create any of these resources and cannot vouch for their accuracy.


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Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.