California is providing a one-time assistance to undocumented adults who are not eligible for other forms of assistance, including unemployment insurance or the stimulus check due to their immigration status. The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) project is administered by the California Department of Social Services. In Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, individuals can receive assistance with their applications from the non-profit organization Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP).
Individuals may begin applying for DRAI assistance on May 18. Assistance will be available until the funding is spent or until June 30, 2020, at the latest. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Applicants may only seek assistance with the nonprofit organization(s) assigned to their county of residency, in Carpinteria, that is MICOP.
Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed. MICOP shared with Coastal View News an FAQ to help explain what the new program is and who qualifies.
What is DRAI?
The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) project is a one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance for undocumented adult immigrants impacted by Covid-19. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1,000 in assistance per household.
How do I apply for the DRAI Program?
Starting May 18, if you are eligible to apply for this assistance, you may seek assistance with the nonprofit organization assigned to your county of residency (MICOP in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties). Individuals will only be allowed to receive DRAI application assistance from nonprofit organizations assigned to their county or region. The nonprofit organization will help you fill out an application and confirm your eligibility. Contact the nonprofit organization directly via the indicated phone numbers or website to ask about assistance availability. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed.
How do I know if I am eligible to receive DRAI?
To apply you must be able to provide information that you (1) are an undocumented adult (person over the age of 18); (2) are not eligible for federal Covid-19 related assistance, like the CARES Act tax stimulus payments or pandemic unemployment benefits; and (3) have experienced a hardship as a result of Covid-19.
What documents do I need to apply for DRAI?
You must provide information and documents to verify your identity, home or mailing address, and to show they have been impacted by Covid-19. Contact the nonprofit organizations listed for your county or region for more information about the application process and the verification documents required.
Will receiving this assistance make me a public charge and affect my ability to apply for a green card (i.e. legal permanent resident status)?
This disaster relief assistance is not means-tested and is one-time assistance. The federal government does not list this assistance as a public benefit for a public charge consideration. However, USCIS has not issued specific guidance related to this assistance. If you have questions about your immigration status and this assistance project, consult an immigration attorney.
More information, including a list of free and low-cost immigration services providers, is available in the new Guide for Immigrant Californians.
Is the personal information I give to the nonprofit to apply for this disaster relief assistance protected?
The information you provide to the nonprofit organization will only be used to confirm your eligibility and provide the assistance to you. The nonprofit organizations will provide general demographic information (e.g. age, gender, preferred language, etc.) to the state of California about applicants, but none of your personal information (e.g. name, address, etc.) will be given to any government agency.
How will I receive this disaster relief assistance?
The nonprofit organization who helps you apply for this assistance will deliver the payment card to you either by mail or arranged pick-up. The nonprofit organization will provide you with additional information after you have completed the application process and your application has been approved.
How long do I have to apply for this disaster relief assistance?
Direct assistance will be available starting May 18 and distributed until the funding is spent or until June 30, at the latest. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Given the economic hardship undocumented adults are experiencing due to Covid-19, this disaster relief assistance may run out within a very short period, so applicants are encouraged to apply early.
For more information, visit mixteco.org/drai or call (805) 519-7776.