- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG’s Office Distributes Resource Flyers Statewide for Communities Disparately Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic
BOSTON — Looking to provide clear guidance on how people are protected during the COVID-19 crisis, Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office is distributing thousands of resource flyers in multiple languages, targeting communities across Massachusetts that are disparately impacted and in need of immediate assistance and information about their rights.
The AG’s Office has created and distributed nearly 20,000 physical flyers, and thousands more electronically, to the state’s community-based organizations, faith-based groups, neighborhood associations, food pantries, hospitals and community health centers, government officials, and municipalities, with a particular focus on “hotspots” with the highest rates of coronavirus cases, including Brockton, Chelsea, Lawrence, Randolph, Revere, Lynn, Everett, Stoughton, and communities across Boston. The flyers have been translated to Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, French, Arabic, and Russian.
“In a time of uncertainty, fear, and desperate need, we want people to have access to resources,” said AG Healey. “These flyers are part of our office’s multi-faceted approach in responding to the immediate needs of these communities and addressing the disparate impact of this epidemic.”
The Equal Access to Care flyer includes information on a person’s rights to health care regardless of immigration status, and the importance of not being afraid to seek medical care during this crisis if you are sick, injured, or need routine care. The AG’s Office urges anyone who is sick with COVID-19-like symptoms or knows that they have been exposed to the virus, not to hesitate to seek medical attention and care, regardless of their immigration status or insurance coverage.
“Our immigrant communities across Massachusetts are being hit especially hard by this public health crisis, and it’s vital that we all do everything we can to ensure that they have the care they need right now,” said Patricia Sobalvarro, Executive Director of Agencia ALPHA. “We’re so grateful to AG Healey and her team for their ongoing work to educate our communities about their right to access medical care during this critical time.”
“Our Asian American families are hurting right now. They are vulnerable, frightened, and being subjected to hateful rhetoric,” said Anh Vu Sawyer, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Coalition of Massachusetts. “We’re so thankful to the AG’s Office for advocating for us and ensuring that our communities know that they can safely seek the care and support that they need right now.”
The COVID-19 Protections flyer includes information about how people in Massachusetts are safeguarded from a number of concerns stemming from this crisis, including eviction and foreclosure, debt collection, utility shutoffs, price gouging, and discrimination. The flyer also lists financial assistance that people may qualify for including cash grants from nonprofit organizations and charities, unemployment benefits, earned sick time, emergency childcare, and relief through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Other benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program may be available through the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Public Health.
“Language access provides a huge disconnect for communities of color impacted by COVID-19,” said Marcelina Pina-Christian, Neighborhood Outreach and Human Relations Coordinator in New Bedford. “Community leaders are asking for information in the languages of the populations they serve. This information is timely and will aid in keeping all of our communities informed of the resources available to them.”
In response to the growing needs around the COVID-19 crisis, AG Healey has expanded her office’s resources for immigrant, Black, and Brown communities and ramped up outreach efforts to these underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
AG Healey has called for more community-level data on current access to testing, medical care and rates of infection in order to better target desperately needed resources and other support. Throughout the pandemic, the AG’s Office has fought to protect the rights of workers, consumers, tenants, patients, students, and small businesses across the state.
The AG’s Community Engagement Division is continuing its efforts to inform the public about the office’s resources and is holding a variety of webinars in multiple languages on issues related to the pandemic including landlord-tenant rights, civil rights, and how residents can avoid falling victim to scams and identity theft.
Visit AG Healey’s COVID-19 resource page for information about how the AG’s Office can provide support during this crisis.