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Organizations raise funds for undocumented fire victims

UndocuFund+is+just+one+of+several+organizations+raising+money+for+undocumented+fire+victims.
UndocuFund is just one of several organizations raising money for undocumented fire victims.

UndocuFund is just one of several organizations raising money for undocumented fire victims.

Courtesy of UndocuFund

Courtesy of UndocuFund

UndocuFund is just one of several organizations raising money for undocumented fire victims.

Jose Gonzalez, Staff Writer

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In response to the destruction the North Bay fires caused to the community of undocumented immigrants, the UndocuFund program began raising funds to help victims of the fire who are not represented and who can not receive federal assistance.

An estimated 38,500 undocumented immigrants live in Sonoma County and those who suffered losses in the natural disaster last month do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because of their immigration status.

UndocuFund is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to undocumented residents of Sonoma County affected by wildfires. The fund will help families with temporary housing, home repairs, rent, groceries, essential household items, cleaning supplies, medical and dental expenses, tools and school supplies.

Program coordinator Omar Medina, 38, said his organization will also provide educational materials to undocumented SRJC students. People who live in Sonoma County with limited English proficiency and a fear of deportation are reluctant to seek help. In some cases, the evacuated immigrants refused to enter the shelters for fear of deportation, said Sheriff Rob Giordano.            

“We want to make sure that people submit the application,” said Medina. “We want them to know that they are not afraid to come and submit an application because we are not working with any government agency.”

The organization aims to raise $ 5 million for undocumented families and has so far raised almost $ 1 million from more than 4,000 donors. As of November 11, UndocuFund had received more than 100 requests for financial assistance.

Leith Ocean, 20, is a student at the Santa Rosa school who is involved with UndocuFund. “Regarding my role, the Graton Day Labor center is the fiscal sponsor NBIYU (North Bay Immigrant Youth Union) so they accept our grants because they are non-profit and grassroots,” said Ocean. “Together with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA) we raised about $ 22,000 for them and connected the undocumented with the fund.”

The UndocuFund week-long application process uses a simple admission form, which is completed at the application clinics with the help of partner organizations in the community.

Community partners include: Healdsburg Heart, Defense and Vital Immigrant Defense Services (VIDAS) and the County of One Hundred Sonoma. According to the organization’s website, “Upon completion of a thorough review process and the final review and approval of the steering committee, the funds are distributed to families and people in need according to established criteria and guidelines.”

All money raised will be donated to undocumented families affected or displaced by the fire.

“The first check we gave was for a family that needed a deposit for a new house,” Medina said. “We are raising money for long-term recovery. So far, we are looking for volunteers so they can help us spread the word about UndocuFund.”

The next application clinic will be 10 a.m. at 3 p.m. next Saturday, November 18 at the California Human Development Center at 3315 Airway Dr.

More information about UndocuFund can be found at undocufund.org.

UndocuFund ayuda a personas indocumentadas

En respuesta a la destrucción que los incendios de North Bay que causaron a la comunidad de inmigrantes indocumentados, el programa UndocuFund comenzó a recaudar fondos para ayudar a las víctimas del incendio que no son representadas y que no pueden recibir ayuda federal.

Se estima que 38,500 inmigrantes indocumentados viven en el Condado de Sonoma y aquellos que sufrieron pérdidas en el desastre natural el mes pasado no califican para recibir asistencia de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA) debido a su estado migratorio.

UndocuFund es una organización sin fines de lucro que brinda asistencia a residentes indocumentados del Condado de Sonoma afectados por los incendios forestales. El fondo ayudará a las familias con viviendas temporales, reparaciones del hogar, alquiler, comestibles, artículos esenciales para el hogar, artículos de limpieza, gastos médicos y dentales, herramientas y útiles escolares.

El coordinador del programa Omar Medina, de 38 años, dijo que su organización también proporcionará materiales educativos a los estudiantes indocumentados de SRJC.

Las personas que viven en el Condado de Sonoma con dominio limitado del inglés y temor a la deportación se muestran reacios a buscar ayuda. En algunos casos, los inmigrantes evacuados se negaron a ingresar a los refugios por temor a la deportación, dijo el Sheriff Rob Giordano.

“Queremos asegurarnos de que las personas presenten la solicitud, dijo Medina. “Queremos que sepan que no tengan miedo de venir y presentar una solicitud porque no estamos trabajando con ninguna agencia del gobierno.”

La organización tiene como objetivo recaudar $5 millones para las familias indocumentadas y hasta ahora ha recaudado casi $1 millón de más de 4,000 donantes. A partir del 11 de noviembre, UndocuFund había recibido más de 100 solicitudes de asistencia financiera.

Leith Ocean, de 20 años, es una estudiante del colegio de Santa Rosa que esta involucrado con UndocuFund.“En cuanto a mi rol, el centro Graton Day Labor es el patrocinador fiscal NBIYU (Unión Juvenil Inmigrante de North Bay) por lo que aceptan nuestras subvenciones porque no tienen fines de lucro y son de base,”dijo Ocean.“Junto con la Alianza de Justicia de la Juventud Inmigrante de California (CIYJA) recaudamos alrededor de $22,000 para ellos y conectamos a las personas indocumentadas con el fondo.”

El proceso de solicitud de una semana de UndocuFund utiliza un formulario de admisión simple, que se completa en las clínicas de solicitud con la ayuda de organizaciones asociadas de la comunidad. Los socios de la comunidad incluyen: Corazón Healdsburg, Defensa y Servicios Vitales de Defensa de Inmigrantes (VIDAS) y el Condado de Los Cien Sonoma.

Según el sitio web de la organización,“Al completar un proceso de revisión exhaustivo y la revisión y aprobación final del comité directivo, los fondos se distribuyen a las familias y personas necesitadas de acuerdo con los criterios y directrices establecidos.”

Todo el dinero recaudado se donará a las familias indocumentadas afectadas o desplazadas por el incendio.“El primer cheque que dimos fue para una familia que necesitaba un depósito para una casa nueva,”dijo Medina.“Estamos recaudando dinero para la recuperación a largo plazo. Hasta el momento, estamos buscando voluntarios para que puedan ayudarnos a correr la voz sobre UndocuFund.”

La próxima clínica de aplicación será de 10 a.m. a 3 p.m. el próximo sábado 18 de noviembre en el Centro de Desarrollo Humano de California en 3315 Airway Dr. Se puede encontrar más información sobre UndocuFund en undocufund.org.

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About the Writer
Jose Gonzalez, Multimedia/ Spanish Editor
            Jose is a Journalism major, currently the managing editor at the Oak Leaf, who faces difficulties in writing but his incredible multimedia editing skills makes up for it. Even with his writing difficulties, he still strives for success and to better himself.              ...
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