Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund opens for new applications

Governor Jay Inslee today announced applications will be accepted for the next round of assistance under the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund starting April 21.

 

 

The additional $65 million allocated by the Legislature this year will provide additional relief to support new applicants. The fund will rely on the continued partnership between the state and community organizations, including Scholarship Junkies and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) providing oversight.

Babs Roberts, director of DSHS’ Community Services Division in its Economic Services Administration, said:

“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. 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.”

This round of funding builds on the governor’s prior allocations totaling $62.6 million for COVID-19 relief to immigrants in 2020, which provided much-needed assistance to nearly 60,000 individuals who were not eligible for federal COVID assistance due to immigration status. 

Sarah Peterson, chief of DSHS’ Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance in the Community Services Division, said this is a way to help those in need who are not eligible for federal aid.

“It is amazing to see that nearly 60,000 people across our state have already received a grant during these difficult times. 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.”

The fund coincides with other relief commitments by the governor in small business grants and rental assistance. Inslee said this is an important way to get help to those who need it most.

“We know many immigrant workers have served on the front line during our pandemic response, and we know that their communities still need our support. I applaud the tireless work of our agencies and nonprofit partners to assist those Washingtonians who were ineligible for federal stimulus relief.”

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 for the second round of the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund will be accepted from April 21 to May 21.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, prioritizing those according to need. Eligible community members can apply by:

  • Visiting the website at immigrantreliefwa.org
  • Calling the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network at 844-724-3737, which is staffed every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • Connecting with a DSHS community-based partner for assistance.