GBLS is dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable people in our community, and we take seriously the myriad threats that COVID-19 presents for so many of us. GBLS' offices are closed to the public, and staff is working remotely for the foreseeable future. If you are a current client, please contact your advocate directly.
Do you know your rights? See below for information to help you and your family during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Consumer Rights / Protección de los Derechos del Consumidor
Small Claims Court is closed, so we are not operating our usual Debt Relief Clinics right now. Here's what you need to know about court dates and debt agreements:
If you have questions about a pending Small Claims case, you may contact GBLS for intake/assistance at 617-603-1671.
GBLS is conducting its housing clinics on a one-on-one basis by telephone. Here's what you need to know about the Courts and your eviction case:
Homeless families with children and people who are pregnant can apply remotely for shelter by calling 1-866-584-0653. If you have already tried to apply for EA shelter and have been denied recently, please call GBLS's Housing Unit at 617-603-1807 and leave a message with your name, telephone number, email address, and the city or town where you are currently staying. Here is what you need to know about getting into emergency shelter:
Additional housing support is available through our partners at City Life/Vida Urbana.
Unemployment benefits are the best source of support for workers who have recently lost their jobs, had hours reduced, or been temporarily laid off because of Coronavirus/COVID-19.
Benefits are not yet available for workers who are self-employed or independent contractors (paid with a 1099), who have used up regular unemployment benefits, or who have not earned enough ($5100 in the past 15 months) for regular unemployment benefits. If you are in these categories, you need to wait to apply. For more information and updates, see the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) website: www.mass.gov/dua.
The fastest and best way to file an unemployment benefits claim is online: www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online.
If you have difficulty with the online claim form because you do not read English or do not have access to a computer, you can request Unemployment Benefits Assistance from GBLS by filling out this short form. You can also leave your name and phone number at (617) 603-1530 (Spanish) or (617) 603-1639 (English and all other languages). Someone connected with GBLS will call you to provide assistance.
For more detailed information about Coronavirus/COVID-19 and eligibility for unemployment benefits, please read the fact sheets available at www.masslegalservices.org/covid-19-and-ui.
Cambridge and Somerville Office: For all callers seeking CASLS services, call main # 617-603-2700 and leave a voice mail message. Services are focused on housing, public benefits, EA shelter, mental health for low income residents of Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Winchester, and Woburn and for elders (60 and older) in Cambridge and Somerville. At this point, we are able to give telephone advice (and will do our best to provide more service within our “work at home” constraints”)
Resources for Undocumented Families / Recursos para Familias Indocumentadas
GBLS continues to stand with our undocumented neighbors. Immigration Courts are still open and we are working tirelessly to protect people from unjust detention or deportation. For individuals who are facing financial hardship right now, we found this resource:
If you have a question concerning immigration please call our Immigration Unit at 617-603-1808.
Additional Information for Boston Residents
The City of Boston has added more languages to their COVID-19 text messaging update system and has created COVID-19 update web pages in 10 additional languages.
For daily text message updates related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Boston, send a TEXT MESSAGE containing a KEYWORD below to 99-411. Please only use plain characters (no accents, etc.).
BOSCOVID (for English updates)
For COVID-19 updates on the Boston.gov website, please visit:
Español | Spanish: boston.gov/covid-19-es
中文 | Chinese: boston.gov/covid-19-zh
Kreyòl ayisyen | Haitian Creole: boston.gov/covid-19-hc
Tiếng Việt | Vietnamese: boston.gov/covid-19-vi
kriolu | Cape Verdean: boston.gov/covid-19-cv
Русский | Russian: boston.gov/covid-19-ru
العربية | Arabic: boston.gov/covid-19-ar
Português | Portuguese: boston.gov/covid-19-pt
Français | French: boston.gov/covid-19-fr
Af-Soomali | Somali: boston.gov/covid-19-so