Undocumented immigrants are now eligible for disaster relief assistance from the state of California as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact household and small business finances.

The funds are available through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project. Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for other forms of assistance, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Sustainability Act and pandemic unemployment benefits may qualify.

Funding for the DRAI program is expected to reach about 150,000 undocumented adults, according to the California Department of Social Services. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1,000 per household.

Applications for disaster relief assistance are available.

Gov. Gavin Newsom created the $75 million DRAI fund on April 15, as a result of the Covid-19 emergency. “Such action serves a substantial public purpose in that it protects the public health and welfare by providing access to funds for food, shelter medical care and other expenses for individuals and families experiencing financial hardships during the economic fallout related to the Covid-19 emergency,” reads a press release from the Department of Social Services. “Ensuring support for all Californians impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic benefits the public by supporting individuals and families to heed public health orders, mitigating the economic harm caused to families and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and broadly supporting community health and prosperity.”

The disaster relief assistance will be distributed through 12 nonprofit organizations located throughout California. The organizations began providing assistance to complete the applications on May 18. Applications will remain available in each region of California until the DRAI funding is exhausted in that region.

Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Funding is limited and assistance is not guaranteed, according to the Dept. of Social Services.

To apply for DRAI assistance in the Central Coast region that includes San Benito County, contact the Community Action Board Santa Cruz at (800) 228-6820, or visit their website at cabinc.org.

To be eligible for this disaster relief program, applicants must be able to provide information that they are an undocumented adult, and that they are ineligible for CARES Act assistance or pandemic unemployment. They must also demonstrate that they have suffered hardship as a result of Covid-19.

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