201022-yh-news-$40million-1.jpg

OneAmerica organizer Mary López, right, trains volunteers while wearing a face covering Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2020, at OneAmerica, 507 S. Third St. in Yakima, Wash. The Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund, a new $40 million fund that provides economic relief to immigrants, will distribute $1,000 per person to Washington residents who are ineligible because of immigration status for federal stimulus funds or unemployment benefits.

Washington immigrants suffering financially from COVID-19 can now apply for awards of up to $3,000 per household from a new state fund.

The $40 million Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund opened for applications on Wednesday. The fund will distribute $1,000 per person, and up to $3,000 per household, to Washington residents ineligible for federal stimulus funds and unemployment benefits due to their immigration status.

Gov. Jay Inslee first announced the fund in August, after working with more than 400 community organizations across the state, as a response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on immigrant communities.

“Immigrant workers are critical to communities throughout the state and are the backbone of our economy,” Inslee said when he announced the program. “The pandemic continues to impact all aspects of life for Washingtonians, and we need to remain steadfast in our support of those bearing the greatest burden.”

Many immigrants are essential workers in Washington’s biggest industries, including agriculture, construction and health care. They also are among those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As of August, Latino residents made up 40% of COVID-19 infections in Washington state, despite being only 13% of the population.

The fund’s leadership team includes 11 immigrant-led community organizations, including Nuestra Casa in Sunnyside, the Washington Dream Coalition and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, alongside the state Department of Social and Health Services, the Legal Foundation of Washington, and Seattle Credit Union.

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 through Dec. 6. Money will be disbursed by Dec. 28.

Reach Lex Talamo at ltalamo@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.