Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund expands with $65M in additional funding on April 21


Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund logo
Image courtesy of Wahsington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund

Norah West, DSHS Media Relations

OLYMPIA — Millions of Washingtonians have been adversely impacted and have endured economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 250,000 people who have been unable to access unemployment insurance compensation and federal stimulus packages due to their immigration status. Starting Wednesday, April 21, applications will be open for additional rounds of the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund. Applications are open until May 21, 2021, and funds will be distributed to approved applicants between June 1 and June 15, 2021.

The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund is a pool of funding created during the coronavirus pandemic to support people ineligible for federal stimulus money or unemployment benefits due to their immigration status. With an additional $65 million recently allocated, the relief fund will provide a total of $127.6 million in federal CARES Act funding to distribute a one-time cash grant of $1,000 per person.

The Department of Social and Health Services is partnering with many immigrant-led organizations to implement this community-driven initiative, including Scholarship Junkies, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network or WAISN, and many others. A full list of partners is availalbe at www.immigrantreliefwa.org.

“DSHS is honored to be a part of this project that is centering the needs and voices of a community that has largely been left out of basic needs assistance programs,” said Babs Roberts, Director of DSHS’ Community Services Division in its Economic Services Administration. “Working with immigrant-led organizations to administer this fund has been crucial to earning the trust of the community and to removing barriers for people to be able to receive the grant.”

“It is amazing to see that nearly 60,000 people across our state have already received a grant during these difficult times,” added Sarah Peterson, Chief of DSHS’ Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance in the Community Services Division. “We know that more is needed, and we are excited to be able to get these additional resources into the hands of an additional 60,000 people in the community.”

Applicants must demonstrate that they are a Washington state resident, at least 18 years old, have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, are ineligible for federal stimulus payments or unemployment insurance benefits due to their immigration status, and have an income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.

The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief fund is considered one-time disaster relief assistance and should not be considered under the public charge rule. Receiving assistance from this fund should not impact people’s ability to obtain a green card.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, prioritizing those in greatest need. Eligible community members can apply by:

·Visiting the website at www.immigrantreliefwa.org.

· Calling the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network at 844–724–3737, every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

· Connecting with a DSHS community-based partner for assistance.

For more information, contact Sarah Peterson, Chief of DSHS’ Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, at sarah.peterson@dshs.wa.gov.