COVID-19 Know Your Rights PT2

COVID-19 DV HOUSING FAQs

 

Question:
I received a shut-off notice for my utilities. Will my utilities be shut off during this
time?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. As a result, the electric,
gas and water companies cannot disconnect utilities for non-payment of a bill or
fee during a public health emergency and for 15 calendar days after the
emergency is declared over.

Question:
 I have an eviction hearing scheduled. What should I do?
 Answer: To address coronavirus concerns, DC Superior Court issued an order on
March 16, 2020th stating that all non-priority matters scheduled before May 1,
2020 will be rescheduled and new dates will be set. This means that all evictions
and foreclosures (as well as other court matters) on or before May 1st are
stopped and court hearings for such matters like landlord tenant, debt
collection, mortgage foreclosure, and housing court will be continued and
parties should not come to court until you receive a new date. Consult
https://www.dccourts.gov/coronavirus for more information.

Question:
 Can my landlord charge me late fees if my rent is late?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, as a result, landlords
may not impose a late fee on a tenant during any month for which a public
health emergency has been declared.

Question:
 Are DC homeless shelters still open during this emergency?
 Answer: Yes. Shelters are still operational. If you need transportation to a
homeless shelter, please call (202) 399-7093 or 311.
 DV shelters are open but most services have switched to call-in services only. For
DV shelter and other services, please contact the DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-443-
5732 or access the online chat at www.DCvictim.org/chat.

Question:
• How will DHS determine eligibility during this time?

 Answer: The DC Council passed emergency legislation, the COVID-19 Response
Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, which allows the Department of Human
Services (DHS) to place families seeking shelter in a short-term shelter placement
for 60 days, in the event DHS cannot determine a family’s eligibility on the same
day they seek services. It also allows the Mayor to extend the placement through
the end of the public health emergency.

Question:
 What will happen if my benefits expire during this public health emergency?
 Answer: DHS has stated in its COVID-19 status report that customers who
receive SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance and other public benefits do not need to
take any action to continue to receive benefits that would expire on March 31st
or April 30. Please visit dhs.dc.gov if you are filing a new application or visit a
Service Center.

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COVID-19 DV ECONOMIC SECURITY FAQs

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Question:
 What will happen if my benefits expire during this public health emergency?
 Answer: DHS has stated in its COVID-19 status report that customers who
receive SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance and other public benefits do not need to
take any action to continue to receive benefits that would expire on March 31st
or April 30. Your benefits will not expire until further notice. Please visit
dhs.dc.gov if you are filing a new application or visit a Service Center.

Question:
 I don’t have public benefits. How do I apply for public benefits like SNAP?
 Answer: For new applications for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Alliance, or
other public benefits, please visit dhs.dc.gov, You can currently apply online for
most public benefits. Residents with questions about their benefits should
contact the Call Center at (202) 727-5355 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Question:
 Due to the public health crisis, I’m unable to work. What benefits are available for
workers dealing with staffing changes?
 Answer: On March 17th, the DC Council passed emergency legislation, the
COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. As a result,
unemployment compensation benefits have been expanded to help even more
workers who become fully or partially unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
 This includes job losses from: Quarantine or self-quarantine of a worker; closures
as required by the Mayor or health department; and/or voluntary quit by a
worker whose employer fails to follow a public safety order of the Mayor or
health department.

Question:
 How do I apply for unemployment benefits? Do I need documentation when applying?
 Answer: To apply for unemployment compensation in DC, contact the DC
Department of Employment Services at (202) 724-7000 or online at
https://www.dcnetworks.org/vosnet/Default.aspx
 Any worker who experiences COVID-19 related job loss or loss of income should
attempt to document the job loss to the best of their ability – for example, with
a doctor’s note, written guidance from the Mayor or health department, or

email or letter from their employer describing the lay-off or temporary shut-
down of the workplace.

Question:
 My unemployment insurance application was denied. What can I do?
 Answer: If you are denied unemployment compensation in DC, you have a right
to appeal this decision within 15 days by filing a hearing request. Contact the DC
Office of Administrative Hearings at (202) 442-9094 or oah.dc.gov.
 If you are wrongfully denied unemployment compensation in DC, contact our
partners at Legal Aid at (202) 628-1161 or by completing an online intake to
apply for free legal help.

Question:
 Due to the schools being closed, I’m worried about feeding my children. Where can we
find additional food resources?
 Answer: DC Public Schools has meal sites across the city and is available for all
students and other families in need. You can go to the site that is closest to you,
even if your child does not attend that school. Updated location sites for
students and seniors can be found here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/mealsites

Question:
 What other food and basic necessities resources are available during the public health
crisis?
 Answer: Martha’s Table, in partnership with DC Health and Capital Area Food
Bank, is offering pre-bagged groceries (fresh fruits and veggies) at D.C. Public

School & D.C. Public Charter School sites located in Ward 7 and 8. To see up-to-
date information on Grab and Go sites across the District, visit our friends at DC

Hunger Solutions: https://www.dchunger.org/home/covid-19-food-resources/

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LEGAL FAQs

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Question
 My civil protection order ends or expires soon. Can I get an extension or more time?
Answer: Any existing CPO is good through May 15, 2020 or the next assigned
court date. If the courts are still closed on May 1st, you can call the Courthouse
or DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) for assistance.

Question
 My CPO trial is scheduled in two weeks. Do I still need to go?

Answer: The courts will not hold any hearings until they open back up. All CPO
cases with a trial or hearing before May 15th will be rescheduled.

Question:
 I need a temporary protection order. How do I get one?

Answer: During Court hours, 8:30am—5:00pm, you can file a temporary
protection order petition through DC Superior Court’s portal at
https://www.probono.net/dccourts. Once you fill out the form and submit it
electronically, you should then contact the Clerk’s office by phone at (202) 879-
0157 or by email at domesticviolencemanagement@dcsc.gov to complete the
filing process.
A Domestic Violence Unit Clerk and a DV Unit Judge will review the request for
imminent risk. They will contact DC SAFE to complete the process with the
survivor as described in the ETPO court directive.
If you need a temporary protection order after hours, on weekends or holidays,
call 911 or the DC Victim hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC (1-844-443-5732) to speak
with an advocate.

Question:
 My abuser was arrested for domestic violence and is still in jail. What happens now?
Answer: To request information about a person who was arrested you can call
the Department’s Records Office at (202) 523-7060. If you are a victim, you can
register to receive automated updates on your phone or email about a person
who was convicted of a crime by calling VINE (Victim Information & Notification
Everyday) at 1 (877) 329-7894.

Question:
 I am supposed to do custody exchanges at the Supervised Visitation Center (SVC).
What do I do now if the SVC is closed?
Answer: For now, the Supervised Visitation Center is not supervising any parent
child visitation or conducting any visitation exchanges. To confirm whether the
visitation center is still closed you can call them at (202) 879-4253. Please note
that the child care center at DC Superior Court is also closed until further notice.

Question:
 I have a CPO against me and my abuser is telling me to bring the kids to them. Can I
ignore the CPO and go near my abuser?
Answer: A Temporary Civil Protection Order or any other court issued Custody
Order should say what you and can and can’t do. You should make decisions
based on the order, not what the other person is telling you. If the order says
you cannot go near them, do not take the kids to them. If you have questions,
you can call the DV Clerk’s Office at (202) 879-0157 or speak to an attorney at
one of the call-in clinics.

Question:
 Where do I go if I want to file for custody?

Answer: Please note that the court is limiting the matters it will hear before May
15th, 2020. Before that time, the court will only hear emergency matters in
Family Court. All trials and non‐emergency motions in Domestic Relations, and
scheduled before May 15, 2020 are continued and the court will set a new date
and notify the parties. You can call the courthouse at (202) 879-1010 for more
information. Due to limited staff, wait times may be longer than usual.

Question:
 Where do I make emergency filings and what are the filing fees?

Answer: Emergency filings should be made at the Central Intake Center.
However, due to limited capacity and changing information, you should call the
Courthouse at (202) 879-1010 for up to date information. All fees are due at
time of filing. You will have to pay a $80.00 filing fee before the Clerk gives you
the copy of the complaint and summons to serve on each defendant. All filing
fees must be paid by cash, money order, cashier’s check, or credit card
(Mastercard or VISA only).

Question:
 What if I cannot afford the fees to file documents?

Answer: If paying the filing fees will cause a hardship to you or your family, you
can request a fee waiver to ask the Court to allow you to file without paying
fees.To request a fee waiver, you must submit an “In Forma Pauperis” form (also
called an “IFP”) to the Court. If you receive Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) or other public benefits and can provide documentation showing
this, you may receive a fee waiver without having to provide additional
information. Otherwise, you may have to provide information about your
income, assets, and expenses.
Your IFP waiver request will have to be approved by the Judge in
Chambers (temporarily located in the Moultrie Courthouse, Room JM 540).

 

The above information was sourced in full from DC Coliation Against Domestic Violence.

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus),
please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

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