COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 information available in Spanish here:


COVID-19 UPDATE — April 8, 2021


Project Hope is a FEMA funded Crisis Counseling Program designed to provide emotional support and assistance to individuals adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ECLI is a contracted agency under NY Project Hope and will deliver services to communities within Suffolk County. Services will include community-based outreach and short-term interventions that involve assisting those affected in understanding their current situation and reactions, mitigating stress, developing coping strategies, providing emotional support and encouraging linkages with other individuals and agencies that will help in their return to a pre-event level of function.

Crisis counselors are available 7 days a week from 9 AM- 8 PM.

For support please call: 631-913-8655 or email


COVID-19 UPDATE — November 2, 2020 

Governor Cuomo has announced a travel advisory for all individuals traveling to NY from states with significant spread. See the full list and more details here.


COVID-19 UPDATE — June 29, 2020 

 In-person appointments are available to clients. The staff will also continue providing services remotely. Only those with an appointment will be permitted into the building. No children under age 7 will be allowed into the building at this time. Young children may enter the building with one guardian who will be permitted to wait in the Waiting Room. Safe social distancing must be practiced in the building.

All those entering our offices will be screened to ensure safety, including a temperature check. A face covering is required. Please continue to monitor our website and social media platforms for updates.

In addition to limiting the number of employees at the agency at the same time and staggering schedules, several precautions have been put into place to ensure the safety and well-being of the staff including:

  • Staff are required to wear a mask/face covering when utilizing shared spaces and common areas in the agency.
  • Protective equipment including sanitizer, gloves and masks is being provided to staff.
  • Personnel will maintain social distancing unless safety or core function requires shorter distance.
  • Staff are required to perform a screening upon entry that includes a temperature check and screening questions to ensure that they are healthy and have not come into contact with a COVID-19 positive person in the past 14 days.

The health and safety of our staff is of the utmost importance. We will continue to monitor the announcements from the Governor and officials in Suffolk County, and inform our clients and the community of any changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please call (631) 360-3730 or email


COVID-19 UPDATE — April 22, 2020
Stay home. Stay safe.
Protect yourself — limit your exposure time in public. Use online and delivery services when possible.  Learn the proper way to wear a face covering. If you need to speak to your doctor, use telemedicine if available. If you or a member of your household has signs of COVID-19, call your doctor first, instead of going to the office or the emergency department.
The outbreak of COVID-19 can be very stressful for many. Learn more about coping here, or call the Counseling Department at VIBS to speak to one of our therapists for more tips.

Community Resources and Information: 

SNAP Emergency Allotments
Following the passage of the Families First Act– households who did not receive the maximum benefit for their household size for March and April will be receiving a one-time payment directly to their EBT accounts making up the difference for those months. For assistance with remote SNAP applications in Nassau & Suffolk, call (516) 505-4437.

IRS Stimulus Checks
The IRS started providing stimulus and economic impact payments on April 15. Individuals can find out about the status of payment on For those who receive social security, please direct questions to the Social Security Administration.

New York State of Health Open Enrollment
The Special Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers to apply for coverage has been extended through May 15, 2020. In Suffolk, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island provides enrollment services and individuals can set up an appointment at (516) 505-4426. Services are offered in English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole.


COVID-19 UPDATE — March 24, 2020 

As of March 24, 2020, all VIBS services are being offered remotely with the safety and well-being of staff and clients being our top priority.
VIBS staff are ready and willing to assist during these trying times.
Services available include: counseling, advocacy, legal services and community education/outreach. In addition, our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and rape crisis counselors (RCC) continue to assist victims of rape/sexual assault.

If you need assistance, please call (631) 360-3730 OR email


COVID-19 UPDATE — March 17, 2020
Message from Reina Schiffrin, Executive Director

We are carefully monitoring COVID-19 and the impact on our staff, our clients and the community. VIBS will continue to deliver the best possible services to those in need, — while keeping health and safety as our top priority. Please be aware that we are using the guidance of the national Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH) as our primary sources of information.

As of Wednesday, March 18, please be advised of the following:

  • All individual counseling, advocacy and legal sessions/consultations will be handled by phone. Most staff will be working remotely and will have access to their computers and phones.
  • All group counseling has been suspended until further notice.
  • The agency will remain open and operating Monday – Friday — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., not including Hotline.
  • Our crisis hotline continues to be available 24/7 at (631) 360-3606.
  • We will continue to post updates on our web site and via social media.
  • Our education staff will make community resources and information available online and on social media.
  • We are in the process of providing webinars and making them readily available and accessible.

At this time, all community events sponsored and hosted by VIBS have been postponed. We are doing our best to work with our partners to reschedule programs, workshops and events in a timely manner — understanding that COVID-19 updates are happening on a daily basis and that things are changing rapidly and frequently.

If you have any questions, please call 631-360-3730. A reminder that our 24/7 crisis hotline is available at (631) 360-3606 and that our chat feature is available via


COVID-19 UPDATE — March 15, 2020

VIBS will be open and we are committed to serving our clients in Suffolk County. Please note: our hours may change at any time, so we encourage you to check the web site for updates, as well as checking the VIBS Facebook and other social media platforms. If you have questions, please call our office at (631) 360-3730.

OUR CRISIS HOTLINE remains available 24/7 at (631) 360-3606.

Many of our in-person appointments have been moved to a virtual experience. We are making arrangements for the counseling staff to be available to clients by phone. If you have an appointment, please be sure to check with your counselor firstAll groups have been postponed until further notice. To protect our clients and staff, guests will not be permitted in the building. If you are coming to the agency for an appointment, we are discouraging clients from bringing friends/family. If you are sick, or not feeling well, please do not visit the agency. If you have a fever, cough and shortness of breath, please consult a medical professional. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

Advocates and attorneys will make every effort to assist clients, as long as the Courts are still open.

Community Education programs have been suspended until further notice.


COVID-19 update — March 10, 2020

Dear VIBS families and friends,

We’d like to take this opportunity to keep you informed of all of our efforts to address the current COVID-19 situation. Our goals include staying calm, while being proactive and enacting an abundance of caution, keeping our clients, staff and families as safe and healthy as possible, and to be as transparent in our efforts as we can be.

First, please be aware that we are using the guidance of the National Centers for Disease Control and the NYS Department of Health as our primary sources of information. You can access much of the same information by visiting and  More importantly, we recognize that the situation is very fluid and likely to change at a moments notice. We will do our best to keep everyone as informed as we can.

Being health-related providers, using what are called “universal precautions” is standard operating practice.  All staff are well-trained in these practices, of which include:

  • The washing of hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • The use of protective gloves when needed.
  • The use of 99.9% effective alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including phones, light switches, door knobs, client wheelchairs (especially after being in the community) and common use devices using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes several times a day.

In additional, staff are being instructed to:

  • Keep yourself healthy by eating right, getting enough sleep and assisting your immune system as best you can.
  • Be mindful of their health condition as it relates to the known symptoms of the Coronavirus; fever, sneezing, coughing etc.
  • If at any time they are experiencing these symptoms, STAY HOME and contact your personal physician and your supervisor immediately.

We would also like to let families and friends know that we have provided our staff with the information shown above, as well as:

  • We have ample supplies of cleaning and disinfecting materials
  • We have arranged for additional cleaning of our HVAC systems
  • We are asking that our clients, families and friends limit their visits to our facilities as much as possible until further notice — please do not visit the agency if you are not feeling well.
  • We are suspending external servicescoming into our programs, such as pet therapy.
  • We will not be seeing clients onsite who have visited Level 2 or 3 travel designations within the last 14 days, have had contact with any persons under investigation for COVID-19, or have any symptoms of respiratory infection.

CORONAVIRUS precautions

As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory diseases including the Coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website. Additional precautions that are important to practice:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Use gloves as recommended by our Universal Precaution Protocol.