In 2020, the Legal Foundation of Washington was proud to partner with immigrant-led community organizations, the Governor’s office, and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to establish the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund.
The fund provided more than $60 million in economic relief to individuals and families significantly impacted by COVID-19 but ineligible for federal stimulus funds or unemployment benefits because of their immigration status. Applications for $1,000 direct payments (up to $3,000 per household) are now closed. Learn more about the fund at immigrantreliefwa.org.
LFW was part of the fund’s management team with 11 immigrant-led community organizations, along with DSHS and Seattle Credit Union. Our role was administrative, acting as the fund’s fiscal agent, providing contract management and technical assistance, and assuming responsibility to ensure the overall goals of the fund are met. Our community partners were in charge of the criteria, reviewing and approving applications, distributing money, and keeping personal information safe:
These organizations led a coalition of more than 400 organizations across the state, including LFW, calling to create the fund in response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on immigrants and the exclusion of an estimated 250,000 people in Washington from federal relief due to their immigration status. Governor Jay Inslee announced the allocation of CARES Act funding to this effort in August 2020, working with the coalition to establish and execute the fund.
Support for immigrant communities is a core part of LFW’s commitment to creating fair access to civil justice for all. In 2020 LFW granted nearly $5 million to organizations providing legal aid and advocacy for immigrants, including our coalition partners at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, and Fair Work Center.
We deeply appreciated this opportunity to work with state government and so many incredible organizations to help extend more support to those who need it most.
Frequently Asked Questions (learn more at immigrantreliefwa.org)
View selected media coverage of the fund:
Univision Seattle – $1000 para trabajadores indocumentados en el estado de Washington
Spokane Spokesman-Review – Relief fund opens for immigrants who miss work from COVID-19
Yakima Herald-Republic – State COVID relief fund for immigrants now open for applications
South Seattle Emerald – New COVID-19 immigrant relief fund unveiled, now open for applications