SEATTLE (Oct. 21, 2020) — A new $40 million fund to provide economic relief to immigrants in Washington state began accepting applications today. The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund will distribute $1,000 per person (up to $3,000 per household) to Washington residents who are ineligible because of immigration status for federal stimulus funds or unemployment benefits.
Governor Jay Inslee announced the fund in August after working with a coalition of more than 400 community organizations across the state. The fund is managed by a leadership team of 11 immigrant-led community organizations, along with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, the Legal Foundation of Washington and Seattle Credit Union.
“We are proud to be part of the very broad coalition that made the case for this critical funding and we thank Governor Inslee for making this a priority,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council;, AFL-CIO. “This is an important step toward recognizing both the critical role undocumented immigrants play in our economy and the fact that they have been excluded from all previous pandemic relief programs.”
To apply, individuals must be Washington residents, at least 18 years old, have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and be ineligible for federal stimulus funding and unemployment insurance because of their immigration status. Applications are open at ImmigrantReliefWA.org from Oct. 21 to Dec. 6, or by calling 1-844-724-3737. Money will be disbursed by Dec. 28, 2020. IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Scholarship Junkies, the organization managing the fund, will have access to personal information in the application. It will never be shared with the police or immigration enforcement officials (ICE).
TAKE A STAND — The WSLC is asking all affiliated unions and allied community organizations to share this information as widely as possible and encourage eligible immigrants to apply for this critical assistance. Also, bilingual English/Spanish Hotline Volunteers are needed to help people apply for the Relief Fund benefits. If you are bilingual, please volunteer for some shifts.
The fund was created in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities. Many immigrants are essential workers in Washington’s biggest industries, including agriculture, construction and health care. Latino immigrants in particular are at risk from COVID-19.
As of August, Latino residents make up40 percent of COVID-19 infections in Washington state, but only 13 percent of the population. While most immigrants (regardless of immigration status) pay local, state and federal taxes, about 250,000 people in Washington state do not have access to federal CARES Act stimulus payments or unemployment benefits.
The lead organizations operating the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund include:
● Asian Counseling and Referral Service
● Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
● Fair Work Center
● Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
● Nuestra Casa
● Raiz of Planned Parenthood
● Scholarship Junkies
● Washington Census Alliance
● Washington Dream Coalition
● Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
Learn more at ImmigrantReliefWA.org.