California's undocumented immigrant fund now up and running

SAN LORENZO, CA - APRIL 9: Christian (left) and his wife Monze (right) were laid off from restaurant jobs in mid-March and not qualified to receive unemployment because they are undocumented immigrants as they walk with their 9 and 4 year old sons on

Almost a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a $125 million fund for undocumented immigrants, the first batch of payments is ready to be sent out, officials said this week. 

In fact, $3.5 million has already been sent to various nonprofits, according to Kevin Douglas, director of national programs for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrant and Refugees, also known as GCIR, in Sebastopol. 

The money is being distributed through two channels, though all the money will eventually be funneled through local nonprofits, which have been selected. Applicants must apply directly through that nonprofit. 

Here's the breakdown: 

A total of $75 million is being dispersed through California's Department of Social Services. People can apply for that money starting Monday. Funding will last until the money runs out or through June 30. The official name of this state fund is the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants.

For the state money, eligible undocumented adult immigrants may receive one-time COVID-19 disaster relief assistance at a value of $500. A limit of two undocumented adults per household can receive this assistance, meaning a maximum assistance of $1,000 per household.

Q&A: The status of California's $125M undocumented immigrant fund

In the Bay Area, Catholic Charities was chosen to distribute the state money. Applicants must apply directly to the agency in the county where they live. The full list and rules on applying are here. If people have questions, they should email

Another $50 million will be distributed through the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, which chose about 40 nonprofits to administer the money. The full list of the nonprofits is here.

For this private money, the individual nonprofits will determine the amount based on need, cost-of-living expenses and other factors. 

To date, about $13 million has been raised through this private fund, and in May the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has agreed to match every dollar raised up to $10 million more. To donate, click here. If you have questions, you can email

In the Bay Area, eight groups were chosen to distribute the money, and people should apply directly to them if they are still accepting applications. There is a caveat: Many of the nonprofits are not accepting new applications because they have long waitlists or they are doing their recruiting efforts in person, not online. 

They are: 

California Nail Salon Community Care Fund provides emergency cash assistance to undocumented manicurists in the Bay Area who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic, the majority of whom are Vietnamese.  (*This nonprofit currently has no online application and may be over capacity.)

BLMP COVID-19 Cash Assistance/BLMP COVID-19 Asistencia Monetaria serves Black LGBTQ+ migrants in urgent need of cash assistance as a result of COVID-19. Priority will be given to those who are undocumented or under-documented, including those who are currently or formerly detained, trans and/or nonbinary, living with disabilities, living with illnesses or who are immunocompromised, or living with HIV/AIDS. (*This nonprofit currently has no online application and may be over capacity.)

COVID Migrant Youth Relief Fund provides emergency funds, including reimbursements for essential expenses, to members of migrant communities in the Bay Area, as well as a limited number of stipends to young people who assist with resource counseling for applicants. Lead organization: East Oakland DREAMers.

The Monument Relief Fund provides cash assistance to undocumented community members in Central and East Contra Costa County who have lost income as a result of COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders. Applications are accepted online but currently closed while the fund works through a backlog of applicants. (*This nonprofit currently has no online application and may be over capacity.)

The Multicultural Center of Marin Covid-19 Community Relief Fund provides emergency cash assistance to individuals and families in Marin County who do not qualify for unemployment or federal stimulus assistance and who are struggling to meet their basic needs due to the coronavirus pandemic. (*This nonprofit is no longer accepting applications, as it is overcapacity with people on their waitlist or doing recruiting efforts in person.) 

Oakland Undocumented Relief (OUR) Fund provides cash assistance to undocumented workers who are not eligible for existing safety net programs, including unemployment insurance, public benefits, and new federal and local relief efforts. (*This nonprofit currently has no online application and may be over capacity.)

SOLO Solidarity Fund (SOLO = Solidarity Organized for Los Olvidados) is dedicated to assisting undocumented immigrants in Santa Clara County who are currently in removal proceedings or have an immediate family member in immigration detention. Partner organizations: Human Agenda and the Rapid Response Network of Santa Clara County.

UndocuFund San Francisco was founded by a coalition of immigrant worker and community organizations. The fund provides direct assistance to undocumented children, families, and communities who live, work, or recently lost work in San Francisco due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and shelter-in-place orders. Partner organizations: Chinese Progressive Association, La Colectiva Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Dolores Street Community Services, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, PODER (People Organized to Demand Economic & Environmental Rights), and Young Workers United.

The total of $125 million is to be shared among 150,000 people in a state where there are an estimated 3 million undocumented immigrants. Some of the nonprofits already have waiting lists of up to 6,000 people who have applied for the money. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez.