A new resource hub for COVID-19 is helping those stuck indoors. With offerings including medical-provider information, therapy options and kids’ projects, “While at Home,” the brainchild of activist DeRay McKesson, looks to be a turn-to platform of helpful resources for individuals seeking them during the current pandemic.
The goal, according to its founders, is to provide accessible and digestible information to the public, via highly curated content and programming crafted around our “new normal.” “We are living in unprecedented times, when people around the world are relying upon digital platforms for updates, resources and, most notably, engagement,” a press release for the platform stated.
The hub helps information-seekers find hotlines, check for medical help, learn about charities for possible donations and access details about jobs or benefits. It also provides tips for parents—and even directs you to the 2020 Census. In addition, it’s touted as a place for conversation and empathy during times that “challenge societal norms.”
“As a mom who is now working from home while also home-schooling my 6-year-old daughter, I know first-hand the need for a single site that can help guide me throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” says Stacie Gillian, co-founder of Maestra, one of the partners in the initiative. “While at Home is a centralized destination, with something to help everyone. By offering such a wide range of essential resources, we have been able to create a helpful and hopeful community. When DeRay McKesson approached us to be a part of bringing WhileAtHome.org to life, we saw it as a way to lend our support to a broader community.”
McKesson says he was propelled to create the hub by a desire to have a central place for the many resources being shared on social media. “The current climate is confusing enough as it is. People shouldn’t have to hunt down resources or information,” McKesson tells ESSENCE. “We created the 478-29-COVID line to streamline phone calls for information about testing and to alleviate the strain on 911, as people have been using it for non-emergencies recently. In moments like this, access to the right information can be a matter of life and death—we wanted to make it easy for people.”
The project leaders say that the joint volunteer effort combines a set of experiences spanning community organizing, social-impact strategy, communications and traditional politics, as well as in-depth knowledge of working with start-ups to meet an immediate set of resource needs.