Oregon Worker Relief Fund reopens
The Oregon Worker Relief Fund reopened on Aug. 31 to provide relief for immigrant Oregonians who lost wages or work due to the pandemic, but were excluded from other relief programs because of their immigration status.
Qualifying candidates can apply for aid from between $625 to $2,500. The reopening of the fund comes two weeks after the Oregon Legislature awarded $65 million to the Relief Fund.
For example, many immigrants work and pay taxes into systems like unemployment, but have no way to collect the benefits. One in every eight Oregonian workers is an immigrant, making up an essential share of the state's labor force across all industries, according to Oregon Worker Relief.
Martha Sonato is the board president of Oregon Worker Relief.
"The pandemic has created a turbulent and uneven economy for Oregonians," Sonato said. "Many protections like the eviction moratorium have evaporated, leaving laid-off workers and their families extremely vulnerable. This relief will help immigrant Oregonians make ends meet if they are faced with lost wages."
Already, Oregon Worker Relief has provided $72 million in financial relief directly to 40,000 immigrant Oregonians and their families — helping Oregonians stay in their homes and afford groceries.
Elba Alegría is a community navigator with Pueblo Unido PDX.
"Every day I see how workers without immigration status support every part of our state, including healthcare, agriculture, food service, child care and construction," Alegría said. "The pandemic underscored the fact that our communities cannot be healthy and well unless we make sure everyone can meet their basic needs. I'm glad to help people who have lost jobs or wages access worker relief so they can support their families and get back on their feet."
Learn more about the fund online at workerrelief.org.
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