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SLO County UndocuSupport provided grants to support undocumented immigrants impacted by stor


SLO County UndocuSupport

January 23, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SLO County UndocuSupport announces disaster grant recipients

providing $21,000 in aid to undocumented immigrants in the county affected by the recent flooding disaster


$21,000 in funds have been granted to seven local organizations that serve undocumented and mixed-status immigrant residents in the areas most affected by the recent flooding disaster: Paso Robles, San Miguel, Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Oceano. It is estimated that 9,000 undocumented residents live and work in San Luis Obispo County, many of whom have difficulty qualifying for FEMA and other governmental assistance. This population primarily works in agriculture and service industry jobs and is among those hardest-hit by the recent flooding disaster, suffering wage loss and housing damage.


San Luis Obispo County UndocuSupport has awarded grants to Los Osos Cares, the Center for Family Strengthening, the Paso Robles Housing Authority, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Monterey, 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, and the Central Coast Coalition for Undocumented Student Success. The organizations will distribute the funds to local residents and families in need through their existing programs.


Immigrants comprise 10% of SLO County with nearly 30,000 persons. Approximately 7,700 are undocumented individuals with over 16,000 persons living in families with undocumented residents (USC CA Immigrant Data, 2019). In SLO County, Latinos make up 59% of immigrants and 87% of the undocumented immigrants.


SLO County has a steadily-growing community of Spanish and Mixteco-speaking undocumented immigrants who face many challenges in our predominantly rural and Caucasian community. The county’s immigrant workers tend to be employed in agriculture, service, and construction industries that provide low wages and little economic security. In 2019, the median hourly wage for immigrant workers in SLO County was $16 compared to $26 for all U.S.-born workers (CA Immigrant Data, 2019).


In 2022, SLO County undocumented immigrants shared their concerns with trusted nonprofit partners about the high cost of rent, food, healthcare, childcare, unfair working conditions, and multiple hurdles to accessing health and social services including discrimination and exploitation based on their immigration status, race and ethnicity, and inability to speak English (Focus Groups Findings 2022).


The high cost of housing increases risks from disasters such as pandemics and climate change. Between the years of 2000 and 2019, the percent of immigrant renters at all income levels who were burdened increased from 40% to 56% in SLO County (California Immigrant Data Portal, 2019). Many undocumented immigrants mitigate the effects of our county’s high cost of living and affordable housing shortage by doubling and tripling up in housing. The ability to be self-sufficient in times of disaster and emergency preparedness are directly impacted by their vulnerable situation, because storing food, water, and emergency supplies in a doubled-up environment is a challenge due to a lack of physical space. Economic insecurity is another barrier to emergency preparedness as it impacts the ability to purchase emergency preparedness items.


Since UndocuSupport’s inception in April 2020 they have raised over $326,000 to provide essential support to more than 771 local immigrant families across SLO County. Support went to families for medical care, child care, transportation, food, utilities and funeral expenses. Funds to SLO County UndocuSupport have been received from a range of individuals, community organizations, local agencies and foundations.

Speaking about SLO County UndocuSupport, the Executive Director of The Center for Family Strengthening Lisa Fraser says; "On behalf of the Center for Family Strengthening please extend our appreciation to SLO County UndocuSupport. We appreciate their trust in our collective efforts to meet the immediate needs of our undocumented neighbors."


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