LA County help center offers resources to workers, small businesses impacted by COVID-19 crisis

The L.A. County Business and Worker Disaster Help Center offers free support for businesses and furloughed individuals to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There has been a devastating economic impact in the wake of the coronavirus emergency. Huge unemployment numbers combined with hundreds of small businesses forced to close their doors have created extraordinary challenges.

ABC7 was joined by Caroline Torosis, the Director of Economic and Business Development for Los Angeles County, to discuss resources available to help people get back on their feet.

Can you tell us about the resources your department has for those who are looking for work?

"We are here to serve the public. We are the workforce agency for Los Angeles County. And we know that this is a devastating economic time, so to that, our board of supervisors moved very quickly to stand up a disaster help center comprised of multiple departments working together. We are open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Constituents can call our phone number (833) 238-4450, or visit us at lacountyhelpcenter.org, or email us at disasterhelpcenter@lacounty.gov," said Torosis.

The help center can answer questions from workers and small businesses in more than ten languages.

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"We have also stood up a page advertising open jobs at workforce.lacounty.gov, in a variety of industries, working quickly to pivot and retreating our job seekers for the new demand in light of COVID-19," said Torosis.

We've heard from many people who are having a tough time getting through to EDD (Employment Development Department). Do you offer assistance for people trying to file for unemployment benefits?

"Yes, we can walk individuals through that process at lacountyhelpcenter.org by calling one of our agents who's ready to take your call. We can also help through our network of America's Job Centers in California, many of which are actually co-located in the same place with the economic development department," said Torosis.

"We do know that when individuals are filing for unemployment insurance it is taking several weeks for the debit card to reach them, so we are asking people to stay patient, but in the meantime providing supportive services through our network of America's Job Centers that you can find workforce.lacounty.gov," said Torosis.
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