HCHRA Offices Will Open May 4, 2020. Head Start Centers Will Remain Closed.

Public health experts and governmental authorities have determined that with certain precautions in place, it is now safe to open HCHRA offices at a reduced capacity.  With the exception of Head Start centers, all other HCHRA offices will open on Monday, May 4, 2020, unless otherwise notified.

As we adjust to a new normal, HCHRA will not immediately open its offices to visitors.  For a short time, we will schedule appointments with clients via telephone or video conference and provide ways for customers to submit documentation as needed.  Once we begin to see customers in our offices, we will ask everyone to agree to temperature scans and other appropriate safety measures.  More information will be provided when we get to that stage.

HCHRA staff is available by email and telephone to assist customers with their needs.  If you have a need and you are unsure who to contact, you may call our Department of Family Opportunities at (601) 923-3930.  You may also contact our help desk 24 hours a day by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org, or by calling (601) 923-1822 and leaving a message along with your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).

We are here to help.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients Will Receive Automatic Economic Impact Payments

The Internal Revenue Service, working in partnership with the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration, announced on April 15, 2020, that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.  SSI recipients have now been moved into the automatic payment category and no action is needed on their part.  The IRS projects the payments for this group will go out no later than early May.

No action needed by most taxpayers
Earlier this month, the IRS took similar action to make sure that those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits can receive automatic payments of $1,200. While these groups receive Forms 1099, many in this group don’t typically file tax returns. People in these groups are expected to see the automatic payments later this month.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will also receive the payments automatically.

Extra step needed to claim $500 for children
Eligible taxpayers with qualifying children under age 17 will receive an extra $500. For taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the child payments will be automatic.  However, many benefit recipients are not typically required to file tax returns. If they have children who qualify, an extra step is needed to add $500 per child onto their automatic payment of $1,200 if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.

For those who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits or SSI and have a qualifying child, they can quickly register by using the special tool available only on IRS.gov and provide their information in the Non-Filers section. They will need to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children as soon as possible to receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If beneficiaries in these groups do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait until later to receive their $500 per qualifying child.

The Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration, will make these automatic payments to SSI recipients. Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their SSI benefits.

For those with dependents who use Direct Express debit cards, additional information will be available soon regarding the steps to take on the IRS web site when claiming children under 17.

For information about Social Security retirement, survivors and disability insurance beneficiaries, please visit the SSA website at SSA.gov.

General information about the Economic Impact Payments is available on a special section of IRS.gov.

Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments.  To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov.  People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments.  Be careful and cautious.  The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website, or share personal or financial information.  Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information.

More information
The IRS will post frequently asked questions on IRS.gov/coronavirus and will provide updates as soon as they are available.

HCHRA Offices Will Open May 4, 2020. Head Start Centers Will Remain Closed.

As announced last week, in compliance with government mandates to help protect children and families from the spread of COVID-19, all HCHRA Head Start centers will be closed for the remainder of the school year.  All other HCHRA staff will return on Monday, May 4, 2020, unless otherwise notified, and all other HCHRA offices will resume normal operations.

Based upon the guidelines issued by public health experts and governing authorities, work schedules and agency operations are subject to change. Updates will be posted here on our website every Thursday morning until further notice.

HCHRA staff will continue to work remotely to provide timely and professional service.  If you or someone you know has any concerns that need immediate attention, please dial 601-923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).  You can also reach us by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org.

Let’s remain vigilant about hand washing, disinfecting and practicing social distancing to help protect those who are most vulnerable and get us all back to living normal lives as soon as possible.

Look What’s New! More Online Learning Resources Are Available.

This week, we’ve added two new websites where you can find learning activities that your child will enjoy.  There’s so much to choose from, you can try something new each day.

We will continue to update the list of resources each week to make sure you always have a library full of reference tools you can use to help keep your child on track and prepare for success in school.

Although this school year was cut short, HCHRA is here to provide the support you need to make sure your child is ready for the start of the new school year.  If your child will be returning to Head Start for the 2020-2021 school year and you need help completing enrollment, call us at (601) 923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Although we are working remotely, calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).  You can also reach us by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org.  You may also call or email us if you need help with any of the other support services we provide.  We’re here to help.

Online Learning Resources You Can Use to Help Your Child Prepare for Success in School

Seussville lets children enjoy interactive reading games and activities featuring classic Dr. Seuss books and characters. The site includes a character guide, videos, book catalogue, Seuss biography, and tips for parents.
www.seussville.com/play/

Starfall provides opportunities for young children to have fun while learning their ABCs and reading skills through positive reinforcement in a brightly colored environment full of activities, games, and songs.
www.starfall.com/h/index-kindergarten.php

The Health and Nutrition Preschool Activities website has health and nutrition activities and crafts for families to complete at home.
www.first-school.ws/THEME/nutrition.htm

Scholastic: Clifford the Big Red Dog is a fun-filled learning resource for beginning readers.  The site features interactive storybooks, games and bilingual stories.
www.scholastic.com/clifford 

Parenting the Super Kid at Meal Times provides nutritional activities for parents and children and helps build on the practice of family-style meals at home.
www.superkidsnutrition.com/pr_parenting-kid-meals/

StoryPlace offers preschoolers a virtual library experience.  Children can participate in story-time, watch videos, and play games.  The bilingual site also provides early literacy information and a guide to children’s books for parents and caregivers.
www.storyplace.org/

myON is an online collection of thousands of fiction and nonfiction digital books that you can access from home or anywhere you have Internet access!  You can also download books for offline reading.  About 10% of the titles are available in Spanish, and the book reader allows children to choose different reading support tools like audio narration (where the content of the book is said aloud as the child reads along), text highlighting (to show what word is being read), and there’s also a dictionary for every book. myON also gives you the ability to practice the Star Early Literacy Assessment – the reading test for students to take on a computer.  Below is all of the information you need to get started.

Website Addresswww.myON.com
School Name:  Hinds County Human Resource Agency
Username: headstart
Password:  read

The Healthy at Home Toolkit provides our families with free learning activities that are easy to implement and can meet the different learning needs of our Head Start children. This toolkit was created by Teaching Strategies, ReadyRosie and The Creative Curriculum – they are the very same tools our teachers use in the Head Start classroom everyday.

Click here to access the Healthy at Home Toolkit. If you have trouble accessing the link, go to healthyathome.readyrosie.com.

Although we can’t physically come together at this time, these tools will provide endless hours of great learning activities.

HCHRA Operations and Work Schedules as of April 16, 2020

Based upon the advice of health experts and in compliance with government mandates regarding school operations, it has been determined that all HCHRA Head Start centers will be closed for the remainder of the school year.  Head Start center staff will receive additional instructions on close-out activities that will have to be completed.  Be sure to check for updates.  All other HCHRA staff is scheduled to return on Monday, April 27, 2020, unless otherwise notified.

The health and safety of our customers and staff is our primary concern.  No matter what the situation may be, please know that we will continue to adhere to the guidelines and precautions recommended by governing authorities to protect the well-being of our employees and those we serve.

Please note that work schedules and agency operations are subject to change. Updates will be provided here on our website every Thursday morning until further notice.

HCHRA staff will continue to work remotely to provide timely and professional service to meet the needs of the children and families we serve.  If you or someone you know has any concerns that need immediate attention, please dial 601-923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).  You can also reach us by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org.

We are greatly encouraged that things appear to be steadily improving.  Let’s remain vigilant about hand washing, disinfecting and practicing social distancing to help protect those who are most vulnerable and get us all get back to living normal lives as soon as possible.

NEW Online Learning Tools for Head Start Families

While our schools are closed due to COVID-19, HCHRA is committed to providing ongoing instructional support to our Head Start students and families. It’s very important that students continue to participate in learning activities so they don’t fall behind.  Below is a list of online learning resources that can be easily accessed from home or anywhere you have Internet access.

We have added some new resources and will be adding more every week, so please check back frequently for new updates.

The Health and Nutrition Preschool Activities website has health and nutrition activities and crafts for families to complete at home.
www.first-school.ws/THEME/nutrition.htm

Scholastic: Clifford the Big Red Dog is a fun-filled learning resource for beginning readers.  The site features interactive storybooks, games and bilingual stories.
www.scholastic.com/clifford

Parenting the Super Kid at Meal Times provide nutritional activities for parents and children and helps build on the practice of family-style meals at home.
www.superkidsnutrition.com/pr_parenting-kid-meals/

StoryPlace offers preschoolers a virtual library experience.  Children can participate in story-time, watch videos, and play games.  The bilingual site also provides early literacy information and a guide to children’s books for parents and caregivers.
www.storyplace.org/

myON is an online collection of thousands of fiction and nonfiction digital books that you can access from home or anywhere you have Internet access!  You can also download books for offline reading.  About 10% of the titles are available in Spanish, and the book reader allows children to choose different reading support tools like audio narration (where the content of the book is said aloud as the child reads along), text highlighting (to show what word is being read), and there’s also a dictionary for every book. myON also gives you the ability to practice the Star Early Literacy Assessment – the reading test for students to take on a computer.  Below is all of the information you need to get started.

Website Address
www.myON.com
School Name:  Hinds County Human Resource Agency
Username: headstart
Password:  read

The Healthy at Home Toolkit provides our families with free learning activities that are easy to implement and can meet the different learning needs of our Head Start children. This toolkit was created by Teaching Strategies, ReadyRosie and The Creative Curriculum – they are the very same tools our teachers use in the Head Start classroom everyday.

Click here to access the Healthy at Home Toolkit. If you have trouble accessing the link, go to healthyathome.readyrosie.com.

Although we can’t physically come together at this time, these tools will provide endless hours of great learning activities. So, let’s get started today!

We will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 while we seek guidance from our local and state officials to determine school plans moving forward.  We will be sure to keep you informed of any new developments.  We miss our students and families and can’t wait to see your smiling faces again.  Until that time, let’s all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

HCHRA Operations and Work Schedules as of April 9, 2020

As of April 9, 2020, all HCHRA offices remain closed to the public to help prevent the spread COVID-19, and staff will continue to work remotely to ensure our children and families continue to receive the services they need.

Unless otherwise notified, Head Start center staff will follow the same schedule as the children, who will return on Monday, April 20.  All other staff members are scheduled to report to work on April 20 as well.

Please note that work schedules and agency operations are subject to change based upon recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and/or allowances and restrictions provided by local, state and federal authorities. Updates on HCHRA operations will be posted here on our website every Thursday morning until further notice.

Let’s all do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Stay at home.  Save lives.

Though HCHRA staff is working remotely, we are still dedicated to providing timely and professional service.  If you or someone you know has any concerns that need immediate attention, please dial 601-923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends).  You can also reach us by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org.  Please note that HCHRA will be closed on Friday, April 10, 2020, in observance of Good Friday.

More Online Learning Tools for Head Start Families

HCHRA is committed to providing instructional support to Head Start students and families while our schools are closed. It’s very important that students continue to participate in learning activities so they don’t fall behind.  Below is a list of online learning resources that can be accessed easily from home or anywhere you have Internet access.

We will be adding more every week, so please check back frequently for new updates.

Parenting the Super Kid at Meal Times provide nutritional activities for parents and children and helps build on the practice of family-style meals at home.
www.superkidsnutrition.com/pr_parenting-kid-meals/

StoryPlace offers preschoolers a virtual library experience.  Children can participate in story-time, watch videos, and play games.  The bilingual site also provides early literacy information and a guide to children’s books for parents and caregivers.
www.storyplace.org/

myON is an online collection of thousands of fiction and nonfiction digital books that you can access from home or anywhere you have Internet access!  You can also download books for offline reading.  About 10% of the titles are available in Spanish, and the book reader allows children to choose different reading support tools like audio narration (where the content of the book is said aloud as the child reads along), text highlighting (to show what word is being read), and there’s also a dictionary for every book. myON also gives you the ability to practice the Star Early Literacy Assessment – the reading test for students to take on a computer.  Below is all of the information you need to get started.

Website Addresswww.myON.com
School Name:  Hinds County Human Resource Agency
Username: headstart
Password:  read

The Healthy at Home Toolkit provides our families with free learning activities that are easy to implement and can meet the different learning needs of our Head Start children. This toolkit was created by Teaching Strategies, ReadyRosie and The Creative Curriculum – they are the very same tools our teachers use in the Head Start classroom everyday.

Click here to access the Healthy at Home Toolkit. If you have trouble accessing the link, go to healthyathome.readyrosie.com.

Although we can’t physically come together at this time, these tools will provide endless hours of great learning activities. So, let’s get started today!

We will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 while we seek guidance from our local and state officials to determine school plans moving forward.  We will be sure to keep you informed of any new developments.  We miss our students and families and can’t wait to see your smiling faces again.  Until that time, let’s all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any concerns that needs immediate attention, please dial 601-923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding weekends). You can also reach us by email us at HelpDesk@hchra.org.

Assistance for Food Service Workers Laid Off Due to COVID-19

The Refill Jackson Initiative just announced that they received a grant from Oxfam to assist food service workers who have been laid off, terminated, or had their hours significantly reduced because of COVID-19.

The grant application can be accessed via this link for Google users and this link for non-Google users.  Information is included on who is eligible for this assistance.

The Refill Jackson Initiative is a jobs training and skills development program supported by HCHRA through its Community Services Block Grant funds.

Please share this information with others who may benefit from this assistance.

Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the House passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package to provide immediate assistance to many Americans and businesses facing economic challenges due to COVID-19. One of the most important parts of the package is the economic impact payments that individuals and families will receive.  People want to know who’s eligible, how much the payments will be, and what action you have to take to receive payment. Below is information we received from the IRS which answers those questions.

No action is needed by most people at this time.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced on March 30, 2020, that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.

How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.

I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.

The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.

Check IRS.gov for the latest information.