Applications are open for one-time cash assistance for Denver immigrant and refugee families who are ineligible for federal benefits

Families can receive between $1,000 to $1,500.
3 min. read
Kevin Breidenbach y Luke Wierman colocan carteles en las tiendas de campaña mientras los Socialistas Democráticos de América en Denver protestan contra el alquiler y los desalojos conforme la economía sigue sufriendo durante la pandemia. 1 de julio de 2020.

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When the pandemic first hit, families across the country could access pandemic stimulus checks, unemployment assistance, one-time checks from the city of Denver and things like the child tax credit.

But many immigrants and refugees were ineligible for those same resources.

Now, Denver is using $3 million in federal pandemic recovery money to give one-time cash payments to people who cannot access federal benefits. The cash assistance program is now taking applications and is aimed at helping people struggling in the wake of the pandemic who could not get other help. City Council approved the funding in June.

Atim Otii, the director of Denver's office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, said that the motivation for the program came from seeing prolonged community need for assistance in the wake of the pandemic. Otii said that since the program first launched last week, her office has received 1,000 inquires from families about potential eligibility.

"You're looking at housing, really rent, utilities, child care, medical bills, transportation, food," Otii said. "We're honestly hoping to assist families with meeting their basic needs, and specifically, families with children."

Here's who is eligible.

In order to qualify, the head of the household must be ineligible for federal public benefits like unemployment assistance (though other family members can be eligible). The head of household is defined as the person who pays "more than half the cost of maintaining your home," according to the program's website.

The applicant must have at least one child living in the house under the age of 17. The family must also live in specific areas that designate neighborhoods in need of extra support, have a child that qualifies for benefits programs or experience housing instability. The family must also "be impacted by COVID-19 or its aftermath."

Families must currently live in Denver and need to have lived in the city for at least the past 60 days. Applicants also need a photo ID; foreign IDs are accepted.

Here's how to apply.

The nonprofit Impact Charitable is administering the program in partnership with community groups and local nonprofits. Interested families begin by filling out a form online with basic contact information. A staff member will then reach out to screen potential applicants to determine eligibility.

Families can then apply to the program for free. They will need proof of residence, identification and potentially other documents showing things like housing insecurity or children's benefits programs.

If approved, families will receive between $1,000 or $1,500 on a prepaid debit card. Families can qualify for the extra $500 if they have multiple children, live in certain low-income areas or meet other extra qualifications.

Applications will get accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until the money runs out. The city expects to serve between 1,800 and 2,200 households.

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