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.