A Brief Overview of Vermont's Economic Stimulus Equity Fund
Image from Migrant Justice.
Last year, Vermont became one of the first states in the country to create a COVID-19 economic stimulus fund with state funding for individuals who were previously unable to receive federal stimulus checks due to immigration status. This population—approximately 5,000 Vermonters—includes undocumented workers, individuals without a social security number, individuals married to someone who is undocumented, and in some cases, asylum seekers and their children. The $5 million Economic Stimulus Equity Fund, which includes money from the Agency of Human Services and Vermont's general fund, was signed into law by Governor Phil Scott on October 2, 2020, setting the stage for the program to be rolled out in 2021.
Upon being approached by the state's Executive Director of Racial Equity Xusana Davis, as well as the community-based organizations that helped support the legislation, the Vermont Community Foundation was honored to step into an administrative role for the Economic Stimulus Equity Fund. The steps to implement the Equity Fund—identifying eligible individuals, assisting them to navigate the program, and distributing the direct assistance to these Vermonters—requires coordination and collaboration among more than a dozen statewide partners. The Community Foundation is proud to be working alongside Migrant Justice, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Association of Africans Living in Vermont, and many of Vermont's local asylum seeker groups, such as Community Asylum Seekers Project. In addition, Vermont Law School and Vermont Legal Aid have played critical roles.
To apply to the Fund before the registration period ends on March 1, 2021, visit: bit.ly/VTCovidEquity. For details about the program, visit the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity's information page. Translation and free legal consultation are available. If you have questions, reach out to Program Manager Indra Acharya at firstname.lastname@example.org.