The City of Key West’s COVID Recovery Task Force, in partnership with the Key West Weekly, presents the Key West Recovers page each week.
The page will be updated regularly to include available resources for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic to help with food, finances, small business assistance, medical needs, mental health support and more.
“The Key West Recovers page is connecting the Key West community to resources that will help us all recover more quickly,” organizers said.
A new website is helping Monroe County residents cope with the impacts of the pandemic and apply for various assistance programs.
United Way of Collier and the Keys, working with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, has launched KeysHelp.org to help people apply for relief in English, Spanish and Creole.
Keys families and individuals affected by COVID-19 can apply for up to $250 per month for assistance with food, prescriptions, medical bills, childcare, communication and transportation costs by connecting with case managers at the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC).
The system enables clients to apply for assistance from the safety of their homes, using mobile phones, tablets, or computers, and enables case managers to help them while working remotely, at a safe social distance.
Residents can securely fill out an online application including uploading needed documents to complete the process quickly and safely. Additional community resources and information are available at KeysHelp.org, with more being added in the coming months.
“We could not be more grateful to our local United Way for helping us find a solution,” said Stephanie Kaple, executive director of FKOC. “The need has been so great; we just didn’t have the manpower to meet it as quickly as we would like. But now we have this amazing tool that is going to help us not only now in this moment but also in the future.”
Since March, the number of residents seeking assistance with critical needs more than doubled.
Calls for help have grown dramatically, as the ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income Constrained and Employed) families that United Way of Collier and the Keys serve have been heavily affected by the economic toll.
“These households live paycheck to paycheck, with very little or no savings to help them deal with unexpected expenses or loss of income like those incurred during COVID-19,” said Leah Stockton, UWCK Keys area president. “Requests for assistance are at an all-time high, including in the wake of Hurricane Irma. We are also seeing many callers who have never needed to seek assistance before.”
Those who wish to donate to the relief fund can visit KeysUnitedWay.org/Donate to help their neighbors in need.
Give Help or Get Help
We are here for every neighbor in need. Be open minded and patient; help may arrive in many small ways that will lift spirits, bolster businesses and lend a hand.
Please share this information. It can make a difference in your friends’, neighbors’ and employees’ lives, as well as your own.
For additional links and information, visit Key West Recovers
KeysHelp.org to apply for assistance
$250 per month is available to those financially affected by COVID
Help for small businesses
The Florida Small Business Development Center at FIU continues to offer free, personalized one-on-one consulting to Florida Keys and Key West business owners.
A local team of 25 experienced business consultants are available to help businesses in Monroe County and Miami, with five of them in the Keys and two in Key West.
They also provide training on a number of business topics year round.
Expertise includes: Market growth, access to capital, financial management, strategy, change management, business continuity and more. Visit sbdc.fiu.edu.
Mental health services available
• The Guidance/Care Center (GCC) offers a 24-hour, local hotline for any resident having a mental health crisis. Call 305-434-7660 and select option 8. New website: guidancecarecenter.org
• GCC will provide mental health and/or substance abuse help regardless of ability to pay. The center received a federal grant to provide free psychiatric, medications and/or individual therapy for adults over the age of 25.
• Services for youth and teens are also available.
• All counseling, therapy and case management services for youth are FREE.
• Suicide is preventable if we can connect ourselves and others to professional help – losing one more life is too many.
• GCC provides help with substance abuse, mental health, crisis and suicide prevention services to all persons referred by the police departments, emergency rooms, service providers and self-referrals.
• Services are provided on a sliding scale, as low as $3. No one is turned away for inability to pay.
Walk in for help
Key West has open access Monday through Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. for a two-hour intake process and is open daily for crisis support from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. People are seen on a first come, first served basis. After that, they will match you with a service provider. Psychiatrists and case managers speak English and Spanish. Translation can be arranged for other languages (Creole, Russian, Czech, Polish, etc) using a phone interpreter.
Phone: 305-434-7660 option 4
Address: 1205 Fourth St., Key West (behind VFW)
Tips for taking care of YOU from the Guidance Care Center
Life is uncertain right now and everyone is feeling anxious.
• Make your mental health a priority. Eat well, get sleep and exercise.
• Focus on what you can control. Worrying about things outside of your control will not help and will make anxiety worse. Your reactions, attitude and behavior are choices.
• Stay positive; focus on today and avoid the “what ifs.”
• Stay connected to others. Call friends, family and neighbors daily. Use FaceTime, Zoom or Google Meet to “see” people.
• Do what helps you cope: Take a walk, read, meditate or listen to music.
• Challenge negative thoughts with gratitude.
• Attend 12-step meetings or spiritual services virtually. This will help you as much as it helps others.
• Reach out if you need more support. You are not alone. 24-hour, local behavioral health crisis hotline is 305-434-7660, option 8.
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