City directs $2.5M in CARES Act funds to families overlooked by previous federal relief

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Relief is on the way for hundreds of immigrant families in Albuquerque. Mayor Tim Keller announced $2.2 million from the city’s CARES Act funding will help families who have not qualified for federal financial relief.

“Immigrants and minorities are essential to Albuquerque’s economy and we are committed to delivering these hardworking families and individuals the help they need,” said Synthia Jaramillo in a news release from the city, director of the City’s Economic Development Department. “The City and Mayor Keller’s administration have stepped up to provide assistance to people who were previously denied.”

Local immigrants’ rights advocates say while everyone is struggling right now, many essential workers didn’t qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment. “They may have had informal work which means there may not have been records for them to qualify for unemployment,” said Antonia Granillo of Partnership for Community Action.

“New Mexico’s economy cannot bounce back when so many of our families and communities are being left behind,” said Marian Mendez-Cera of El Centro, a workers’ justice organizer at El CENTRO de Igualdad Derechos.

Help is on the way, the mayor announced $2.2 million from the city’s CARES Act funding will go into the new Community Impact Fund. Up to $2,000 will be available for families who are Albuquerque citizens, have not received a federal stimulus check, do not qualify for unemployment or paid sick leave benefits and their job was cut by 20 hours a week or more. The Keller administration and city council passed how they would spend CARES funding about a month ago.

“Even though the pandemic has hit them hardest, underserved communities in our City have been left to fend for themselves—until now,” said Mayor Keller in the same news release. “Immigrants are a vital part of our economy and social fabric, and we are taking direct action to get them the assistance they need.”

The city has partnered with community groups including Partnership for Community Action and El Centro to reach these families. “We have over 5,500 members, the majority of whom are low wage workers and mixed-status Latinx immigrant families,” said Mendez-Cera.

The city will begin accepting applications online on Monday, Dec. 7. Only one applicant per household may apply. For more information, please visit www.cabq.gov/economicdevelopment.

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