The Second Step shares your concern about COVID-19, and we remain committed to serving our community during the crisis.  In compliance with the governor’s Executive Orders, we have temporarily modified how we do business in order to minimize the risk of virus transmission. All services remain available for survivors of domestic violence.

Community and Legal services will be provided primarily by phone, email, and video chat with in-person meetings available in certain circumstances. Community Advocates and our Steps to Justice Attorneys are available Monday–Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm, for services such as safety planning, emotional support, and legal support. Courts remain open for all matters, including Restraining Orders. To connect with a member of our Community Team or Steps to Justice Team, please contact your Advocate directly, or use the dial-by-service directory by calling (617) 965-3999.

Our two family residential shelters remain fully operational.

The Second Step recognizes that home is not a safe place for everyone, and that the current advice to maintain social distance can place survivors of domestic violence at increased risk. Domestic violence services are available at any time through the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799−7233 and Safelink: (877) 385-2020. You can chat online with an Advocate by visiting In case of emergency, always call 911.

As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remain the leading source of information on COVID-19. You can find information on how to protect yourselfwhat to do if you are sick, and how to decide if you need to be tested on the CDC’s webpage.

An extended list of resources is available at the bottom of this page, including resources for financial supportfoodhousingkidslegal supportmental health & wellnesspetstechnology safety, and utilities.

Please check back regularly for information on how The Second Step is adapting to meet the demands of our current context.



Please Note: While The Second Step team will work to keep all information provided on this page up-to-date, resources may change availability or requirements to meet local demands. We recommend that you verify each service with the organization providing support.

For Financial Support:

Unemployment Update: As MA looks to reopen, please visit Mass.Gov for up-to-date information on changes to collecting unemployment benefits.

Information on Economic Impact Payments (referred to by some as stimulus payments) can be found on the IRS website.

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has just announced long-awaited guidance of CARES Act programs that will expand unemployment eligibility; temporarily increase weekly benefits for all claimants; and allow additional categories of people (including self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers) to claim unemployment benefits. To learn more, click here. The department also hosts daily Virtual Town Hall sessions in both English and Spanish. Register for a virtual town hall here.

The Department of Transitional Assistance Domestic Violence advocates remain available. The Mass.Gov DTA webpage explains how DTA is operating and how folks can apply for benefits during this time.

The United Way COVID-19 Family Support Fund will provide one-time grants of up to $2,000 to help families impacted by the crisis.  Dial 211 to apply.

Mass UnDocuFund is a partnership between a number of grassroots immigration and workers’ organizations in MA to provide financial assistance to undocumented workers in need.

Newton COVID-19 Care Fund is providing financial assistance for Newton residents

The Greg Hill Foundation Restaurant Strong Foundation is providing grants to restaurant workers in need.

Lend-A-Hand Society is offering once in a lifetime grants of up to $300 to help with rent arrears, utility bills where there is a risk of shut-off, critical medicines, medical or dental care.  Please note that it can often take several weeks for them to process requests.

National Domestic Workers Alliance is providing $400 grants to eligible home care workers, nannies, and house cleaners who have been active with NDWA affiliates and who are in need.

Movimiento Cosecha Undocumented Worker Fund

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice has compiled a list of emergency relief funds for workers.  Many are geared toward specific groups.

Waltham COVID-19 Emergency Fund has been established for Waltham residents in need of rental assistance.  Residents can call 781-314-3386 and leave their name and phone number on the voicemail and they will be contacted. They may also email

WATCH-CDC is providing assistance to Waltham residents.  Please use the English or Spanish form to request assistance.

Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JF&CS) is providing emergency financial assistance to ensure that individuals and families have access to resources to meet basic needs. Main Services include: Help paying for housing, help paying for utilities, burial and funeral help, financial assistance, navigating the system, one-on-one support. Call for assistance: 781-647-5327

The Red Sox Foundation has created an Emergency Hardship Fund to support individuals and families living in New England and Southwest Florida. To apply for aid, click here.

Informal mutual aid networks are springing up in many communities.  Some may offer financial assistance, but probably on a smaller scale. You can search for mutual aid networks by visiting The Neighborhood Aid Network.


For Food:

Project Bread is Massachusetts’s toll-free foodsource hotline. For information about food resources in your community, please visit:, call 1-800-645-8333, or text 1-800-377-1292. Project Bread’s Hotline is available Monday–Friday, 8am–7pm, and on Saturday, 10am–2pm.

Centre Street Food Pantry: The Centre Street Food Pantry is providing pre-packed bags of produce, dry/canned goods, and cold food to shoppers. Both new and registered shoppers are welcome. For up-to-date information, visit

Newton Food Pantry: The Newton Food Pantry is open to all Newton residents and distributing prepackaged bags of fresh and non-perishable food, toiletries and household cleaning products on its regular days of operation—Wednesday 1:30–5:30 pm and on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month we will be open 1:30–7:30pm. They will no longer be open on Saturdays for client distribution. Families can shop twice a month at the pantry. For information on their current food pick-up procedures, please call (617) 796-1233 or visit If you are homebound due to age or disability, you may qualify for home delivery. Please contact the food pantry by phone at 617-796-1233

Arabic Baptist Church Food Pantry: The Arabic Baptist Church Food Pantry serves people in the Newton area and is distributing pre-packaged goods on the second and fourth Friday of the month from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at 187 Church Street.

The Food for Families program has free bags of non-perishable food available for pickup for anybody in need at five locations in Newton. Find the bags in large “pod” containers at Fire Station 2 (1750 Commonwealth Ave., Auburndale), Fire Station 4 (195 Crafts St., Nonantum), Fire Station 7 (144 Elliot St., Newton Upper Falls), Fire Station 10 (755 Dedham St. Newton/Oak Hill), and The American Legion Nonantum Post 440 (295 California St.).

All youth and teens enrolled in Newton Public Schools are eligible for grab-and-go meals served at Newton North High School (pick up at parking area near auditorium) and Newton South High School (pick up at front parking loop). Food is available between 10:00–12:00pm. Additionally, The Corner Cafe (321 Washington St.) is providing free, hot lunches to Newton students pre-K through grade 12. Text “School Lunch” to 617-527-9835 for a no contact pickup.

Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen (545 Moody St. in Waltham) will be providing free prepared take-out meals 7 days/week between 4:30–5:30. All are welcome.

Immanuel Church Food Pantry, Middlesex Human Services Agency is offering a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned foods. All are welcome on Wednesdays from 9am–12pm at 545 Moody St. (enter from Cherry St.)

Watch City Food Market is open to any Waltham resident. No registration is necessary to receive one full bag of groceries at St. Mary’s Church. Upcoming dates: April 16th from 4:00–5:30p, May 7th from 4:00–5:30p.

Salvation Army Food Pantry is providing individuals and families with food once a month. Please bring a photo ID, proof of address (lease, utility bill), and income. The pantry is open Monday–Friday, 10:00am–12:00pm at 33 Myrtle St. For more information, please call (781) 894-0413.

Christ Church—Grandma’s Pantry is open for Waltham residents age 60+. Please bring ID for your first visit. Grandma’s Pantry is open on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays from 9:00am–11:00am at 750 Main St., Waltham.

Charles River Community Health Center is open to patients of Charles River Community Health Center (both Waltham and Brighton) to receive a fresh bag of produce. No registration is required; CRCHC is only offering this service as a drive-through at 495 Western Ave in Brighton. Upcoming dates: April 21th.

Middlesex Human Services Agency Food Market is providing a bag of groceries from 1:00–2:00pm at 50 Prospect St., Waltham. Upcoming Dates: April 18th.

Waltham YMCA (725 Lexington Street, Waltham MA) is offering “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals daily for youth/teens under 18. Families may drive by and pick up food from a tent outside the YMCA. This service is open to ALL, no YMCA membership or affiliation required.

The Waltham Mobile Market is open from 1–2pm on the third Sat. of each month. Anyone in need is welcome. Upcoming Dates: April 25, May 16, June 20.

Waltham Public Schools are providing breakfast and lunch as curbside pick up for students, Monday–Friday, 11:30am–1:00pm.

Waltham Council on Aging is able to deliver frozen meals to seniors who have no other resources. For more information, call the senior center at 781-314-3499.

Natick Service Council: While the Center is closed for shopping, Metrowest residents can make appointments by calling the main number (508-655-1791) prior to stopping by to pick up food. Each family will receive between 2–4 bags of food depending on family size via “curbside” distribution at 2 Webster Street, Natick, MA 01760. For more information, email

A Place to Turn: Please call ahead before coming to the site, as hours vary: (508)655-8868. Individuals in need will be asked to complete a referral and provide information (DOB, street address, etc.) before volunteers will bring out 5 days worth of food, as well as personal care items, and supplies for babies (i.e. diapers and formula). A Place to Turn is also currently working with the Framingham Housing Authority to ensure delivery of groceries to older adults in housing.

Daniel’s Table: Call 508-239-6690 for pre-packed bags/boxes of groceries for pick up, which will include meat, fish, produce, and non-perishables. General household information will be asked for an intake. No income eligibility required. Pickups are located at 10 Pearl Street, Framingham (the former location of the Framingham Registry of Motor vehicles) on Wednesdays, 4–6:30 p.m. and Fridays, 1–3 p.m.

All youth and teens enrolled in Boston Public Schools are eligible for grab-and-go meals at various times and locations throughout the city. For more information, please visit

All Massachusetts students (Pre-K–12 grade) who are enrolled in or eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or attend a school that offers universal free school breakfast and lunch will receive the P-EBT benefit at the end of April/early May. If you are a household that receives monthly SNAP benefits, you will receive your P-EBT benefits on your current EBT card. For more information in English, click here, and in Spanish here.


For Housing: 

PLEASE NOTE: The Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Housing Court has issued an order postponing most eviction hearings until at least April 21.

The RAFT Program (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition) is a homelessness prevention program funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). RAFT provides short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Applications for RAFT can STILL BE SUBMITTED. Apply for RAFT ASAP.

Division of Housing and Community Development is continuing to remotely process calls. Applicants are encouraged to call 866-584-0653 to speak to a Homeless Coordinator. For issues reaching DHCD Remote Agents, please contact the field team by email/phone or the DHCD Constituent Services Specialist Darnelle Joseph at 617-573-1377. Advocates and Community Stakeholders are encouraged to contact the Field Operations Management Team with EA program questions.

Key Contacts:

Watch CDC Housing Clinic – WALTHAM is offering assistance in applying for housing, responding to threat of eviction, assistance in rent payment, application for food stamps and fuel assistance.
Call WATCH at 781-891-6689 ext. 203 and leave a message for a return call.

Family Emergency Services provides resources for homelessness for folks living in Framingham, Marlborough, and MetroWest. For more information, please call 508-872-4853 x2171.

If you are a single, unaccompanied adult in need of housing assistance, please contact one of the following agencies:

  • Common Ground Resource Center (CGRC)-Framingham, Marlborough, and MetroWest 508-620-2690
  • Lowell Transitional Living Center (LTLC)- Lowell 978-458-9888
  • Greater Worcester Housing Connection (GWHC)-Worcester 508-757-8331

The Bristol Lodge shelter in Waltham, MA is still open and running as per their normal operations. In some cases, individuals may be granted longer stays than normal; a small room is available for quarantine/isolation if needed. For more information, please call 781-893-0108.


For Kids:

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care will open Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs during the COVID-19 outbreak to provide priority access for families of emergency personnel, medical staff, and others critical to confronting COVID-19. Check here for more details.

Head Start (Framingham) has created a toll free number to answer questions regarding childcare amid COVID-19. For more information, please call 508-820-8380.

Organizations such as ScholasticsGo NoodleKahn AcademyProdigy MathDuoLingoMystery ScienceTED-EdPBS Kids, and TIME for Kids are offering free learn-at-home resources and learning schedules for children impacted by school closures.

The John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton has launched 15 virtual programs for members and non-members, including the Challenge of the Week which features a week-long list of fitness and exercises combined with life skills and recreational activities. Click here for more information about the virtual programs.

The Child Mind Institute is offering telehealth services for both children and parents. Parents can find resources and articles on their website as well. Click here for more information.

Parents Helping Parents of MA offers a toll-free, anonymous parental stress line: 1-800-632-8188. Available 24-hours a day, the parental stress line connects callers with a trained volunteer counselor to talk through a challenging situation and plan what to do next. Translation services will be provided as needed.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has compiled a Caregiver Guide to Help Families Cope with the Coronavirus. The guide is available for download in English, Spanish, and Chinese.


For Legal Support: 

Information on getting a restraining order can be found online here

Information on custody, parenting time, and visitation can be found online here

Information on child support orders and modifications can be found online here

Information on probate court (including getting emergency orders) can be found online here

Additional useful emails and contact information is available online here 


For Mental Health & Physical Health:

The Disaster Distress Hotline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including disease outbreaks like COVID-19. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service. Call (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Samaritans provides life-saving suicide prevention services and nonjudgmental support throughout  Massachusetts. If you or a loved one needs to talk about depression, anxiety, or suicide, you can connect with a member of the Samaritans team via phone (877) 870-4673 or text by sending the word “START” to 741-741. Samaritans also offers a hotline specifically for teens: (800)252-8336.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is offering a number of online and call-in options for peer, family, and clinical support. To learn about the support groups offered, please click here

The Cole Resource Center works with individuals, families, and loved ones on the process of healthy recovery with a mental health condition. Their resources and support groups are designed to build self-esteem, break isolation, and raising public awareness about living with a mental health condition. To learn more about their virtual support groups, click here.

Family & Community Resources is offering a Weekly Virtual Support Space for individuals who have been impacted by domestic & intimate partner violence. For more information, call (508) 583-6498 or email

Health Imperatives’ A New Day Program is beginning a Survivor Support group for survivors of sexual violence beginning 4/14/20. For more information, email or call/text 508.562.1084.

Health Imperatives’ A New Day Program also offers a weekly virtual group for LGBTQ and allied youth ages 14-18. BrAGLY now meets virtually 5:30-7:30p every Thursday evening. Interested youth can email or call 508.583.3005 x5012 for more information.

The Network/La Red offers phone based support groups specialized in serving LGBQ/T survivors. Folks can call our hotline at 617-742-4911 to learn more and be connected.

Headspace can be a wonderful introduction to meditation and has some free exercises. They are also offering free subscriptions to medical/MH providers (need an NPI) and educators (.edu account).

Calm has free meditation exercises.

Yogaworks is providing free online yoga classes for a limited time!

Partners Healthcare has a free COVID hotline that is staffed by nurses from 8am-8pm to help answer COVID related questions. Anyone is welcome to call, and translation services will be provided as needed. To be connected with a nurse, please call (617) 724-7000.

If you have symptoms that you think may be COVID-19, you can check online for free and get information about next steps to take at

Uninsured residents have until April 25 to apply to the Massachusetts Health Connector for health insurance. Individuals should call (877) MA-ENROLL ((877) 623-6765) to gain access to the enrollment period, or go to to complete an application. You do not need a waiver from the Office of Patient Protection to enroll in coverage at this time.

Treatment Transport continues to support patients in need and provides FREE rides to cancer treatments in 18 hospitals across Massachusetts. For more information, visit


For Pets:

There is limited evidence to support any risk of COVID-19 to your pet, and NO evidence that you are at risk of contracting COVID-19 from your pet. For more information on pets and COVID-19, please visit The World Organization for Animal Health or the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.


For Technology:

We understand that local libraries may be closed, limiting your access to “safe technology.” We recommend reviewing the resources available in the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Survivor Tool Kit

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free internet to qualified low income families in response to emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information, click here.


For Utilities:

Please Note: The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has ordered all utility companies to not shut off utilities, regardless of bill payment. This will continue until DPU determines that the need for the order has ended.

Eversource and National Grid, the companies that supply electricity and gas to Newton, as well as other utility companies are taking steps to accommodate customers who may have trouble paying their bills during the COVID-19 crisis.

For more information from Eversource, including FAQs for customers, click here.

For more information from National Grid, click here.

For more information from Verizon, click here.

For more information from Comcast, click here.

For more information from AT&T, click here.

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority is also reminding residents that the water system that supplies Newton remains safe to drink. For more information from MWRA, click here. Please know that the City of Newton will not turn off anyone’s water during this crisis.

The Massachusetts Salvation Army—Good Neighbor Energy Fund provides energy assistance to Massachusetts residents in temporary crisis who are struggling to pay their energy bills and do not qualify for federal aid. Call 781-894-0413 for more information.


Additional Resource Guides

The Massachusetts Community Resource Directory can help MA residents locate free or reduced cost services like medical care, food, job training, and more. For COVID-19 specific resources, type “COVID19” in the “Find” box and your zip code in the “Available in” box