When U.S. residents received a $1,200 stimulus check last year, many New Americans were left out. The Vermont Economic Stimulus Equity Fund seeks to remedy that. The 2020 state law aims to get relief money to the families who need it most. That includes new immigrants, refugees, migrant workers, and others whose immigration status made them ineligible for the federal stimulus.
Last year, Vermont became one of the first states in the country to create a COVID-19 economic stimulus fund with state funding for individuals who were previously unable to receive federal stimulus checks due to immigration status. This population—approximately 5,000 Vermonters—includes undocumented workers, individuals without a social security number, individuals married to someone who is undocumented, and in some cases, asylum seekers and their children. The $5 million Economic Stimulus Equity Fund, which includes money from the Agency of Human Services and Vermont’s general fund, was signed into law by Governor Phil Scott on October 2, 2020, setting the stage for the program to be rolled out in 2021.~Vermont Community Fund
Reaching Immigrants, Refugees, Undocumented Workers Through Community Outreach
More than a dozen statewide partners are collaborating to implement the Equity Fund. Their various roles include identifying eligible individuals, assisting them in navigating the application process, and distributing the assistance directly to these Vermonters. Capstone Community Action, Migrant Justice, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Association of Africans Living in Vermont, and many of Vermont’s local asylum seeker groups, such as Community Asylum Seekers Project are involved. Vermont Law School and Vermont Legal Aid offer legal assistance. The Vermont Community Fund administers the program.
How To Learn More and Apply for Vermont’s Economic Stimulus Equity Fund
To apply to the Fund before the registration period ends on March 1, 2021, visit: bit.ly/VTCovidEquity.
For more information and application forms in several languages, visit the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s information page. The application is currently available in Arabic, French, Spanish, Chinese, Somali, Swahili, Nepali, and Burmese.
Translation and free legal consultation are available. If you have questions, reach out to Program Manager Indra Acharya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need to talk?
Call 2-1-1 (option #2) or 866-652-4636 (option #2) for free, confidential, one-on-one counseling. Our Support Counselors are available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health agency for 24/7 support.
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COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Departments of Emergency Management and Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports.