Council on Aging Update

Updates and News, Wednesday August 4th, 2021   

Effective July 30: The Department of Public Health has issued a new mask advisory in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance. Essentially, they are encouraging fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask or face covering when indoors ( not in your own home) if you or a household member have a weakened immune system or may be at risk due to other factors. 

 Masks are still mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, BRTA busses and COA vans), in healthcare facilities and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings.

No, we have not made them mandatory here. 

 So, our current policy is; if you’re fully vaccinated, healthy and not worried about another in your life, you’re free to go maskless. If on the other hand you have health issues or have someone in your life who may be at risk, or would simply feel safer wearing one, please do. We are mask friendly here and no one will give you a hard time for wearing a mask.. We all know what’s happening out there. If you are unvaccinated, you should  wear a mask if you come here.

While the Delta Variant seems to be dangerous to folks with immune system issues, including those in this category who are vaccinated, it is potentially lethal to the unvaccinated. I never dreamed that we would be talking about this again. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please do so. As President Biden so aptly put it; “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated”.

Oh. In case you were wondering, as of this morning, there was one and only one new Covid case here in Williamstown. 

With expiration of the Eviction Moratorium there is an expected increase in the number of households that will receive Notice to Quit letters and in the number of eviction cases moving forward through the courts. There are a number of resources that can be accessed to support individuals and families that are facing eviction or already in the eviction process. 

The  Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority has programs such as the Tenancy Preservation Programs and Dispute Resolution Program/Mediation Center.  For more information you can visit their website here;  www.bcrha.com.  

Community Legal Aid has designated staff specializing in housing related issues. You can reach them toll free (855-252-5342) and can apply online to access services www.communitylegal.org 

Call us here at Harper for assistance and advice if the need arises. 413-458-8250.

Along these lines, Williamstown Emergency Mortgage and Rental Assistance grants are available NOW through a program offered by the Williamstown Affordable Housing Trust and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation. These grants are for Williamstown residents who’ve had financial setbacks post Covid. Essentially emergency MORTGAGE  grants up to $15,000 and emergency RENTAL grants up to $10,000 will be distributed to qualified residents.You’re eligible if you live in Williamstown, rent or own in Williamstown, are at or below 100% area median income ($62,150 for individuals, $71,000 for a couple and increasing with family size) and have been adversely affected by the Covid pandemic. 

You can apply online at www.berkshirehousing.com or by calling 413-499-1630, extension 168 and leaving a message. Grants are available now! 

For more information contact Liz Costley at 413-884-5383 0r via email to lizcostley@gmail.com

The First Friday Book Discussion Group meets here at Harper this Friday, August 6th, at 10:00. This month, the conversation will center on Jean Rhys “Wide Sargasso Sea”. Next month, the selection is “Anxious People”  by Fredrik Backman. If you’re a reader and are interested in talking about books, this group might be for you. If you’re interested in joining the discussion group, you can contact Peter Mehlin at pmehlin@aol.com and he’ll take it from there.

Serena Merrill, our foot care nurse, has returned and will be here at Harper on Tuesday August 10th. She’s booked for August but you can call us there at 413-458-8250 and we’ll talk about September.

See you later!

Brian

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