WIRF Update

Over the last 8 weeks, KIAC team members assisted 1,093 individuals with applications for the WA Immigrant Relief Fund. This is a fund for immigrants in Washington state who were adversely affected by COVID-19 but who did not qualify for any pandemic relief funding due to their immigration status.

1,093 applications translates to roughly $2.9 million going into the pockets of our most vulnerable neighbors because of KIAC’s work, mostly in Kitsap and Mason counties.

In total, the Fund received 116,690 applications from across our state, and will distribute a total of $306 million to approved applicants!!!

This Fund is the result of relentless and united organizing efforts led by immigrant community members over the past several years. The statewide coalition WAISN, of which KIAC is a member, carried the message to our state government that leaving thousands of our neighbors out of pandemic relief was unjust and unacceptable. Many of the workers who were growing and harvesting our food, caring for our elders and children, cleaning our medical facilities, and performing other roles essential to the continued functioning of our economy were completely left out of the financial aid programs that the rest of us benefited from when we had our worlds rocked in 2020. This Fund was a response to that, and will provide enormous relief to families who are still struggling to regain stability. 

KIAC hired additional temporary team members to ensure we would reach everyone in our area, especially our indigenous Guatemalan community members who speak Mayan languages and have limited literacy. Check out the picture of our team below! 

Here are a few project stats:

  • Over 900 hours put in by KIAC application team members
  • 24 evening application events, hosted in Bremerton, Belfair and Shelton
  • 4 languages spoken by our team: Spanish, Mam, Q’anjob’al and English
  • 22 counties reached by KIAC’s team
  • $2.9 million going into the pockets of our immigrant neighbors

We are grateful to WAISN for making this Fund a reality, to Producciones Pablo360 radio for broadcasting interviews in Mam, to North Mason School District for providing us a space in Belfair, to Iglesia Ebenezer for a space in Shelton, to CIELO and Circulo de Mujeres para la Justica for partnering on events, to Kitsap Mesa Redonda for sharing information, and to so many of you who got the word out about the Fund. THANK YOU! 

We will keep doing our part to pursue our Vision: a community where everyone, regardless of where they were born, has fair and equitable access to justice, respect and opportunity.

From the Desk of KIAC’s Executive Director

Friends of KIAC,

It has been one month since I started working as the Executive Director of KIAC. I always imagined it would be a very special place to work, but after these last weeks, I can share that it is much more special than I imagined. There is no job more rewarding than serving others, and being part of the KIAC team makes me proud and gives me a great sense of belonging.

I admire the commitment, dedication, and effort that our staff puts into assisting each and every one of our clients. Our commitment, together with that of the Board of Directors and our volunteers, represents hope in the lives of those who turn to us.

Here are some of the highlights for the month of October:

  • We continued providing medical clinics three times a month and dental clinics twice monthly. These clinics remain full each week. If you or someone you know needs these services, call (360) 616-2722 to make an appointment.
  • In order to strengthen our team and combine efforts, we recently held a professional retreat for all members of our Board of Directors and staff Leadership Team. It was an excellent opportunity for professional growth and sharing.
  • On October 31, we celebrated Halloween and welcomed several of our participants’ children to the KIAC office. They received candy and pumpkins to celebrate this holiday and made festive crafts.
  • We are completing applications for the Covid-19 Washington Immigrant Relief Fund until November 14, 2022. So far, we have filled out over 600 applications! If you or someone you know qualifies for this round of WIRF funding, visit our office or call (360) 616-2722.
  • KIAC’s Accredited Representatives continue to assist with a variety of immigration legal matters including naturalizations, asylum cases, and green card renewals, among others. We are experiencing record-high volumes of calls from immigrants seeking immigration legal representation and support.
  • I was forwarded an email exchange between our staff members and volunteer Accredited Representatives and lawyers. They exchanged recent success stories and we were heartened by all of the good news. One of our ARs wrote about her client, “On Tuesday, she walked into the Homeland Security Building as a legal permanent resident and out as a U.S. Citizen!”

We invite you to continue to stay in touch with our newsletters and social networks so you’re aware of the opportunities and services offered by KIAC. We thank you for your partnership over the years, and for your support that make this work possible.

Jayson Vega, Executive Director 

A life-changing diagnosis for Ana 

A few months ago, Ana heard the two words we all dread, the two words that change the trajectory of your life. It’s cancer.

Ana has been a patient at KIAC’s medical clinic for several years, and although KIAC didn’t directly provide the testing, surgery, and treatment Ana needed for her cancer, our relationships with West Sound Free Clinic and Project Access allowed KIAC to be a trusted hub for Ana during one of the most challenging times of her life.

KIAC team members supported Ana by completing paperwork, translating test results, and providing a grocery gift card to cover some of her expenses. We connected Ana with a health navigator and helped her gather the documents necessary for approval under Washington’s Alien Emergency Medical Program. Because of this, 100% of Ana’s treatment costs are covered.

KIAC staff have been in touch with Ana multiple times since surgery, and she continues to recover well. For immigrants like Ana, KIAC’s free medical clinic and partnerships with healthcare providers are literally lifesaving.

When you make a gift to KIAC, you fund this work.

We have just one week left to raise $25,000 to fund the hub of services only KIAC provides, and we are nearly halfway to our goal! Make a gift today to support your immigrant neighbors and help us reach our goal.

Ana told us she is grateful for the kindness and consistency she finds at KIAC. It gave her hope and motivation to know we were there for her through it all. She provided the photo below to share along with her story. We are very thankful to have Ana in our community and be part of life.

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