Introduction to the GEM/Matthew 25 Immigrant Relief Fund (en Español coming soon)
The Immigrant Relief Fund (IRF) is the successor to Gorge Ecumenical Ministries’ (GEM’s) “Family Support Fund”. Building on the solid foundation of helping recent immigrants with legal fees, GEM has now partnered with Matthew 25 The Gorge to expand the scope of assistance to our immigrant neighbors and our partnerships with a broader range of faith communities and local organizations. While we are still in the process of reorganizing and recruiting board members and community advocates, we have already assisted local immigrant neighbors with legal fees, transportation, housing repairs, utilities, and other forms of assistance.
Our current IRF board consists of Latinx and Anglo members of varied faith communities, who are working together in direct relationship with the Hispanic community to strengthen understanding and action in the Gorge around issues of immigration justice. This team evaluates each application for assistance to determine if, and how much, to provide. Applications are submitted on behalf of an individual or family by an IRF Advocate. These community advocates are trained to assist the applicant in exploring available resources already in the community. If other alternatives are not available to meet the need, the advocate, with the input of the applicant, completes the IRF application and submits it to our board for review.
One of our goals as an IRF team is to humanize this process. Since the IRF is, in a sense, a last-resort for assistance, we recognize that the person in need of assistance has already endured the rigorous application processes of many other organizations. Providing an advocate is our attempt to prioritize relationships over red-tape. Advocates provide an emotional buffer for those who have already taken the brave, but often humiliating, step of asking for assistance. We also believe that these relationships represent our best hope of gaining a greater understanding of the immigrant experience in our Gorge communities.
With major hopeful changes to immigration policies already occurring in this new season, we anticipate a flood of new applications for legal assistance. We also expect on-going requests from those whose situation has been made more difficult by the pandemic. Donations to the Immigrant Relief Fund are greatly appreciated.
The following assistance priorities have been identified:
- Legal support for immigration (Residency, DACA, asylum)
- Transportation needs (license and registration, insurance)
- Housing support (utilities, rent, deposits)
As we launch and build this fund, we are beginning only with referrals from our local advocates.
Please Consider Supporting this Fund
Your church or organization is also invited to contribute to this fund. We are especially grateful for the ongoing support of whatever amount you feel your organization can commit to this work.
Thank you for your partnership with us on behalf of our immigrant neighbors and our IRF team.
Gorge Ecumenical Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit and your donations are tax-deductable
QUESTIONS about this process? Please contact the IRF team using the form below.