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Story County ending COVID-19 financial assistance for immigrants by end of year

The Story County Immigrant Collaboration will use any remaining funds for advocacy among the county's immigrant population.
Credit: VAKSMANV - stock.adobe.com
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STORY COUNTY, Iowa — After raising more than $360,000 over 18 months, the Story County COVID-19 fund for immigrants will be ending at the end of the year.

The COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Story County Immigrants posted to Facebook about its "mixed feelings" on ending the program on Monday. The program is scheduled to end on Dec. 31 or when funds run out. 

Overall, the fund raised "an astonishing" $362,138.68 since March 2020. That cash enabled the team of volunteers to provide 889 rent and utility payments totaling $349,724.20 to 123 separate immigrant households. 

So, why stop the financial assistance? Organizers say they've seen decreased donations "for some time" as well as a decreased number of applications for assistance. 

The organization is now in the planning phase for the end of the financial assistance.

As the end nears, organizers will work to make sure each immigrant household they've worked with is connected with financial assistance providers, including the new "Centralized Intake System" housed at Story County Community Services. 

They will also be collaborating with Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance to "ensure that any funds remaining can be earmarked and allocated to immigrant households" in the county for 2022. 

Organizers will also join forces with the United Way of Story County to pilot an "interpreter fund" to assist immigrant households with limited English proficiency access needed emergency services.

Finally, organizers will also reconfigure the fund into an ongoing Story County Immigrant Collaboration to tackle advocacy for immigrants. Those interested in helping can email story.immigrants.fund@gmail.com or amundel@uwstory.org.

Anyone who wants to help continue the work of the program until Dec. 31 can make donations through GoFundMe or send them to St. Cecilia, 2900 Hoover Ave., Ames, IA 50010. 

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