Summit County Residents Left Out of COVID-19 Relief May Be Eligible For $1,000 Checks
Jewish Family Service and the Park City Community Foundation are working together to distribute $250,000 to those living in Summit County who were not eligible for CARES Act funding or unemployment insurance but have faced financial strain due to COVID-19-related loss of work.
The Park City Community Foundation is consulting counselors and social workers to identify people impacted by COVID-19 related layoffs but has not been eligible to receive federal CARES Act funds while Jewish Family Service will manage the distribution of the funds.
Jewish Family Service Executive Director Ellen Silver said the organization has worked with many families through the pandemic and have seen the impact of unemployment and illness.
Diego Zegarra, Community Impact Director at the Park City Community Foundation, said the Community Response Fund was established last March at the beginning of the pandemic and has raised $3.8 million so far.
"No group was more impacted than undocumented immigrants, people in the service industry, Latinas,” he said. “In fact, last year, the cohort with the highest rate of unemployment was Latinas back in April of 2020 at 20%. So, the funds are coming from the Community Response Fund, and it is in the spirit of supporting those who bear the worst over the last year."
Zegarra said those who did not qualify to receive unemployment or state and federal stimulus benefits will be eligible to receive a one-time $1,000 check in the next few weeks.
Silver said Jewish Family Service provides support for all community members regardless of religious affiliation.
"If there's any kind of a silver lining to come out of this pandemic, it's that we're feeling really good that we've strengthened our relationships here in Summit County, specifically in Park City, and specifically with the Latinx community,” Silver said. “It's not at all a religious issue for us, it's an issue of reaching out to folks who need assistance."
Zegarra said some people have gone back to work, but not everyone is fully employed.
"I think folks have moved on and have had to find different things,” he said. “We certainly had a few community members leave, not many as I understand it, but you know, this one-time, $1,000 payment really addresses the fact that so many also had to wipe out their savings account last year, literally had in their savings account, had to go to rent, and other systems of support."
Zegarra said a small number of people have raised concerns over undocumented people receiving financial help, but reception to the program has been overwhelmingly positive in spite of that.
"I think we have some questions about it, but I would say that the majority of our community really sees these folks undocumented immigrants as community members as the backbone of our service industry, and in some degree, what has made Park City our community so successful, through the years, our workforce,” he said.
The foundation has modeled the program after the Salt Lake City Left Behind Workers Fund which supports residents who haven't received stimulus or unemployment funds.
Silver said they'll begin working to distribute the funds this week.
"We have staff in place starting this week, who will reach out to families whose names we have, just to make sure we have the correct information before we write the check. So, if we get started, at some point this week, we think it'll take us a few weeks to get all the checks out there."
Zegarra said the partnership with Jewish Family Service and other outreach coordinators makes it so they can address urgent needs and support working people who he said make the community whole.