Peninsula nonprofit leads charge to help immigrant families stay afloat amid COVID-19 pandemic

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Unable to work or qualify for the CARES act, thousands of immigrant families have been hit by financial pressures during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many are on the brink of homelessness at the mercy of nonprofits that are stepping up to help.

We know them as essential workers. Some are farmers, grocery store workers, cleaning technicians, those in the food industry, but we seldom know them by name.

Isabel Perez is a professor back in her country. She fled to the U.S. 5 years ago, and now works in the food industry, the last 4 months without a job have been difficult.

"Estamos buscando ayuda de todos los lugares. Ya sea para la renta o por los bancos de alimento," Said Perez. (We are looking for help everywhere. Help to pay the rent, or food from food pantries.)

Eni is a mother of two. She's a cleaning technician who's been out of work. Her husband is a mechanic whose hours have been cut to 4 hours a day.

"We had savings and we used them for the rent, but I don't have any more savings and we need to pay the rent," said Eni who's a Daly City resident, originally from Guatemala.

"We don't have enough money to pay for rent this month," said Eni.

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In the Bay Area there are over 500,000 immigrant families with similar stories, some with American citizen children. Many on the brink of homelessness.

"We pay taxes and don't get help," said Eni.

These families don't qualify for the CARES act and that's where the San Mateo County Immigrant Relief Fund comes in. In a matter of weeks, they've raised over $9,000. $2 million dollars from San Mateo and the rest from philanthropy.

"In the past 2 weeks we developed a whole new program dedicated to people in San Mateo County. There we worked with a coalition of different nonprofits locally and we had a philanthropist John Sobrato come to us and basically say hey lets work together," said Jose Quiñónez, CEO of Mission Asset Fund.

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Nonprofits like Faith in Action have been leading the charge. Their goal is to distribute a one-time $1,000 gift to help these families survive for at least another month.

"In a time of crisis not getting assistance to not getting any support from the federal government. It's a message of feeling rejected. Feeling not seeing, the message that they don't matter. But they do matter, they are essential workers," said Quiñónez.

To qualify, immigrant families must:

  • Live in San Mateo County

  • Not eligible to receive a CARES Recovery Rebate (coronavirus stimulus check) from the Federal government

  • Household income less than 80% area median income ($97,440 for an individual)

  • Lost income due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic


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There are 60,000 immigrant families in San Mateo County. This fund they are projected to help 9,000.

For more information visit: Mission Asset Fund or call the Community Response Line at 203-666-4472

(Para más información sobre como obtener la ayuda de $1,000 en San Mateó puede llamar al telélfono: 203-666-4472)

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