New fund to provide financial assistance to undocumented Delawareans impacted by COVID-19

WILMINGTON — A fund dedicated to supporting undocumented Delawareans during the COVID-19 crisis was announced this week, with a priortiziation of applications from Sussex County. 

The Delaware Immigrant Fund, spearheaded by the Safe Communities Coalition, provides direct cash assistance to immigrant Delawareans who are affected by the COVID pandemic but are excluded from federal relief and ineligible for most state safety-net programs.

The committee reviewing applications will prioritize applications from Sussex County during its first funding rounds given the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sussex.  

“What we have been hearing from immigrants working in the poultry industry in Sussex County is particularly alarming. Some have shared about how scared they are to go to work. Others are sick but have to go to work to support their families. Something has to be done,” fund co-founder Erika Gutierrez said in a prepared statement.

In just a few days, the fund has received $12,567 in donations from 99 donors. The team is aiming to have raised $20,000 toward their initial goal of $50,000 by May 22. They are working to attract business and philanthropic support for the fund over the next few weeks as well, the news release states.

The Delaware Immigrant Fund will begin reviewing applications from vulnerable undocumented Delawareans on Friday and will make mini-grant awards ranging from $100 to $1,000 to support basic needs. 

The Safe Communities Coalition launched the fund after urging Gov. John Carney in an open letter to do more to provide financial relief to undocumented Delawareans who are unable to receive federal CARES Act stimulus funding or state level unemployment benefits, according to a news release.

“We joined a few calls with the governor and Latino leaders and we left the conversations frustrated about his response. So we decided to get something started at the grassroots level and the response has been heartwarming,” Safe Communities Coalition co-chairperson Dalissy Washington, said in a prepared statement.

Along with co-founders Erika Gutierrez, Drew Serres and Atnre Alleyne, Ms. Washington soft-launched the Delaware Immigrant Fund the website — www.ImmigrantFundDE.org — Friday evening. 

The fund is being hosted at Network Delaware as a grassroots effort that emerged from the organization’s Safe Communities Campaign. 

The fund is being coordinated pro bono by a committee of grassroots leaders with proven expertise, track record and established trust with undocumented families.