Oregon Worker Relief (OWR) is a community-governed initiative serving immigrant and refugee communities that have been hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19. OWR is partnering with the City on three different programs:
- Household Relief - OWR will partner with trusted community groups to deliver funds to families and workers in need. COVID-19 has hit low-wage workers hard, and caused high unemployment levels for immigrant communities. Many people have lost their job and have limited or no access to traditional unemployment resources. This program brings direct financial assistance to households that have been affected by COVID-19 and need help.
- Small Enterprise Fund - Many small businesses in our community are run by immigrants, and they are excluded from most pandemic relief resources. These small businesses often employ essential workers and have been hurt by necessary public health measures to keep people safe. This program provides rapid, direct financial assistance to these very small businesses.
- Legal Defense - This program provides legal assistance to people in the immigration legal system, helping to avoid or mitigate outcomes that will disrupt and destabilize families. Immigration legal precarity prevents access to public health system, civic support systems, and other aspects of community life. These legal services can help reduce inequitable access to critical services during this pandemic.
Who does this program serve?
These three programs are for undocumented people in our community. People must be negatively impacted by the pandemic to be eligible for these programs. Each program has its own eligibility criteria. Our partner Oregon Worker Relief is administering these programs in partnership with other community groups. More information about who is eligible and how to apply can be found here Oregon Worker Relief Fund (multiple languages available).
This work is underway and will run until funds are gone. Each program will have its own timeline.
How do I apply for this program?
Application forms are not used for these programs. Each applicant must call the call center directly to apply: 1-888-274-7292. While each case is different, here is a general overview of the process and timeline:
- When you call the call center at 1-888-274-7292, your application is assigned to a navigator.
- Your navigator will call you to schedule an appointment to fill out your application for the fund. This step is known as “the navigation”.
- During your navigation, the navigator will ask you biographical and hardship questions and for a valid Identification. Once all the information is collected the navigator will submit your navigation to the Oregon Worker Relief Portal.
- After this step, in about a week you’ll receive a message letting you know whether you’ve been approved or denied. This doesn’t mean your check is on its way though!
- It takes us a few days to a week to prepare the check and mail it. Please don’t worry if you receive this message and don’t immediately hear about a check.
- When the check or payment is on its way, you’ll receive another message telling you the good news.
How is this program funded?
The City of Portland has committed $5.5 million to this program. This money comes from the U.S. government’s 2021 American Rescue Plan local recovery funds. Portland will receive a total of $208 million from the American Rescue Plan and has until Dec. 31, 2026, to spend it. The City of Portland is spending money in three priority categories:
- Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization
- Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization
- Community Health and Safety
Read more about these investments in this article: American Rescue Plan: Investing in Portland
Who manages this program?
These three programs are managed by Oregon Worker Relief, with a collaboration of more than 100 community partners. OWR provides financial support directly to Oregonians who have lost their jobs yet are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance and federal stimulus relief due to their immigration status, and now face hunger, homelessness, and economic hardship.
The City is committed to sharing how American Rescue Act funding supports Portland people, households, businesses and community organizations. Check back for updates on our progress.