FEMA to Help Pay Funeral Costs for COVID-19-Related Deaths

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April. People who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.

FEMA is working to set up a dedicated toll-free (800) phone number for funeral assistance. You will be able to call this number to get an application completed with help from FEMA’s representatives.

NO ONLINE applications accepted.

Multilingual services and a TTY number will be available.

You may qualify if:

1.  You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020, and

2. The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, territories, or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19.

For more information, visit COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Launches Life Expectancy Calculator Based on Location

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has created as tool that allows users to calculate the life expectancy in their area.

Data can be a powerful tool to promote health equity, especially for understanding and improving life expectancy.

Click here to enter your street address or zip code

New Access to Multilingual Resources and Materials for Medicare Providers

The HHS Office of Minority Health has partnered with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other HHS agencies to identify and compile multilingual resources and materials for Medicare providers to assist them in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Translated resources include materials and information regarding specific diseases and conditions, health insurance, women’s health topics, substance use, emergency preparedness and response, and more.

Download the file here to access translated resources and materials for Medicare providers.

Tackling COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nonelderly Adults

Research findings from the Urban Institute’s December 2020 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey indicates that more than one-third of non-elderly adults may be unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with rates of vaccine hesitancy especially high among Black adults.

Fears about the potential side effects and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine are being cited by many vaccine-hesitant adults as reasons why they may decline vaccination. However, many of these same individuals who note a hesitancy about receiving the vaccine say they would trust their health care provider for information about the safety of the vaccine, if told.

Significant Findings

35% percent of adults reported they were unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 19 percent who would probably not get vaccinated and 16% who would definitely not get vaccinated.

Nearly half of Black adults (49%) held this position, compared with about one-third of white and Hispanic/Latin adults. However, almost two-thirds of Black adults seemed to still be considering their decision about getting a vaccine.

Half (51%) of vaccine-hesitant adults trust their health care providers for information about the vaccine – but variation in how vaccine-hesitant adults interact with the health care system emphasizes the need for targeted outreach by providers and other trusted community groups.


Doctors and medical care providers are among the most trusted sources of information regarding vaccines. Direct outreach from these trusted sources to vaccine-hesitant populations will be a crucial component of moving past the pandemic as vaccination efforts scale up in the weeks ahead.

This study explored vaccine hesitancy among non-elderly adults with new data from the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative survey of more than 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64 fielded December 8 through 30, 2020.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for Vulnerable Populations Webpage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) has developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources website of the many Federal resources and organized them for health care professionals, partners, consumers, and for assistance in additional languages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority and vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the spread of the virus and help end the public health emergency. Community partners working with racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, sexual and gender minorities, and rural populations are essential in helping consumers understand how and when they can receive the vaccine, vaccine safety and confidence, and the important ongoing precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

To view the page, visit: go.cms.gov/omhcovid19vaccine.

Biden Administration to Invest $250 Million in Effort to Encourage COVID-19 Safety and Vaccination Among Underserved Populations

As part of President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness today, the Administration is announcing an effort to invest $250 million to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccination among underserved populations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) will offer the funding as health literacy grants to localities, who will partner with community-based organizations, to reach racial and ethnic minority, rural and other vulnerable populations. The new initiative – Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19 – is expected to fund approximately 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years. Cities, counties, parishes or other similar subdivisions may apply for the funding.

Recipients are expected to develop a disparity impact statement using local data to identify racial and ethnic minority populations at highest risk for health disparities, low health literacy, and not being engaged or reached through existing public health messages and approaches for promoting COVID-19 public health recommendations. Then they will create and operationalize a health literacy plan, partnering with community-based organizations and adhering to culturally and linguistically appropriate standards, to increase the availability, acceptability and use of COVID-19 public health information and services by racial and ethnic minority populations and others considered vulnerable for not receiving and using COVID-19 public health information.

Information is power, especially the ability to understand and use information to support better health. Whether it helps us understand where to get tested or the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, information is a crucial part of keeping families and communities safe,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Health RADM Felicia Collins, MD.  “Nowhere is this more important than in communities hit hardest by the pandemic, especially racial and ethnic minority communities and other vulnerable populations.”

Racial and ethnic minority populations experience higher rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Social determinants of health, such as housing, education and work conditions, contribute to these disparities. Underlying chronic conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among minority populations and increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

OMH will be accepting applications for this new initiative through April 20, 2021.

Click here to access the notice of funding opportunity.

A technical assistance webinar for potential applicants will be held March 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM ET. Click here to register for the webinar.

Secretary Mayorkas Designates Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months

Maracaibo, Venezuela – Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas is designating Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, until September 2022. This new designation of TPS for Venezuela allows Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela) currently residing in the United States to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.

This designation is due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure. TPS can be extended to a country with conditions that fall into one, or more, of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Only individuals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021 are eligible for TPS under Venezuela’s designation. For their own health and safety, individuals should not believe smugglers or others claiming the border is now open. Due to the pandemic, travel and admission restrictions at the border remain in place.

Individuals desiring TPS must file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the 180-day registration period. They may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization. All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility. More details about the eligibility criteria to submit an initial TPS application and apply for an EAD can be found in the Federal Register Notice (FRN).

EAT NC Food Delivery to Seniors in Durham

Durham-based organization EAT NC has a new food assistance program for seniors who need meals delivered.

The program will have three ready-to-heat meals delivered directly to their door FREE each week. To sign up, please call or text 301-461-7838 or email eatnorthcarolina@gmail.com. More details at www.eatnorthcarolina.org/about


Immigrants and COVID Vaccine Flyer Available in Several Languages

The NC Justice Center has released flyers on Immigrants and the COVID Vaccine available in 6 languages – English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese at the link below. They will also soon be releasing it in Burmese.


Essential North Carolina Workers Eligible for Immunization Waiting List

Recently, Governor Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen announced that Group 3 essential frontline workers will be eligible for vaccination in the coming weeks.

This flyer is available in English and Spanish to provide community members more information about this transition.