SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 805 UndocuFund has opened applications for a second time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund sends financial help to struggling undocumented immigrant families in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Many have lost significant work hours or their jobs altogether during the pandemic-driven economic crisis.
The fund helps pay for essential costs like rent or food. It first launched in 2018 during the economic toll of the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslides.
Future Leaders of America Executive Director Eder Gaona-Macedo estimates that roughly 120,000 undocumented immigrants live in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
“We can only serve a fraction of those households,” Gaona-Macedo said.
According to Gaona-Macedo, the fund now has roughly $3 million ready to share with struggling families. Demand is expected to be staggering once again. In just the last week, Gaona-Macedo says, roughly 2,700 households have applied for aid.
“These families are suffering,” Gaona-Macedo said. “Families don’t have enough money to pay their rent, pay their food, even purchase internet for their children to go to school. We know that there’s [Wi-Fi] hotspots out there. But the basic necessities aren’t being met.”
Some are applying again after receiving help last year, still seeking economic stability.
You can learn more, donate or apply on the UndocuFund's website.