COVID-19 UPDATE (as of 5/20/2020):

The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders have resulted in difficult circumstances for many students and families. Below is a list of essential resources that we hope will support your needs during this time.

Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (available starting 5/18/20)

Call (415) 324-1011, Monday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Project, California is providing state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status. This state funding is expected to reach about 150,000 undocumented adults. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1,000 in assistance per household.

Applications for disaster relief assistance services will be available starting Monday, May 18, 2020, and will be processed through Catholic Charities of the East Bay for Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara).

If you tried to call the toll-free number for DRAI the last two days and couldn’t get through, please note the phone number has changed and the hours have been expanded. As of 5/20/20, the new number to apply is (415) 324-1011, Monday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

If you are currently living in another county in California, please refer to the list of organizations disbursing funds throughout California here.  

Oakland Undocumented Relief Fund for Workers

Undocumented workers who live or work in Oakland are eligible to apply for a $500 relief grant from the Oakland Undocumented Relief (OUR) Fund, created by Centro Legal de La Raza. The fund was created to provide critical support to undocumented workers in Oakland who have lost their jobs and income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the aggressive public health measures necessary to combat the spread of this disease. To apply for a relief grant, visit the Centro Legal de La Raza website here.

Relief Funds for Undocumented Workers in California 

You can find a list of relief funds for undocumented workers in response to COVID-19 here.

CARES Act Stimulus Checks

Undocumented and many mixed-status households will not receive cash assistance. However, DACA and TPS recipients may qualify for a stimulus check if they meet certain requirements (including meeting the “substantial presence test“). Cash assistance is determined by your income. It also requires having a social security number. To receive a check you must:

  • Have filed a tax return for 2019 and/or 2018.
  • You and all dependents in your household must have social security numbers, such as US citizens, DACA and TPS recipients. People who file with ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) or who have dependents with ITINs are not eligible.
  • Checks will be for:
    • $1,200 for individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year. Decreases as an individual’s salary increases.
    • $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000 a year.
    • Extra $500 per child.
  • There’s an exception for people without a social security number but is only for those married to someone in the military.

*Public Charge Implications: The stimulus payment is a tax credit. The public charge regulation is clear that tax credits are not taken into account in a public charge determination.

For more details, see the National Immigration Law Center’s analysis of the CARES Act and its impact on immigrant communities.

The Worker’s Guide: Your Rights During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guide to workers’ rights during the COVID-19 outbreak was prepared by Centro Legal de La Raza, Legal Aid at Work, and Bet Tzedek. This guide answers frequently-asked-questions about unemployment, reduced hours, reduced pay, government benefits, and more. You can find more information at Legal Aid at Work’s website here. Additionally, Legal Aid at Work offers helplines and (virtual) Worker’s Rights Clinics; you can request an appointment here.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits in California

You can apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits online at the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) website. UI benefits are a government program that will provide unemployed workers with cash benefits (about 60% of wages) if they are eligible. If your claim is approved, a payment is made weekly on a Visa card that is mailed to you.

Only the EDD can determinate if you eligible for Unemployment Insurance. Note that in addition to being unemployed or having reduced work hours (1) through no fault of your own (such as due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders), and (2) being willing to return to work if offered, there are two other critical requirements to be eligible for UI benefits: (3) minimum earnings and (4) minimum amount of time worked in the U.S. Please refer to the EDD website for more information.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in California

As part of the federal CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. The provisions of the program include:

  • Up to 39 weeks of benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when you became directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • A new 13-week federal extension for those who run out of their regular state-provided UI benefits (maximum 26 weeks). File a PUA claim and you may be converted to the federal extension once it is available.

Visit the State of California’s EDD website for more information. Please note, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you can only be paid PUA benefits if you were legally working in the U.S. when you were affected by COVID-19 and meet one of the other eligibility criteria.

COVID-19 Bay Area Community Resources & Health Information

You can find a comprehensive list of community resources and up-to-date health information online here. This is a living document that is updated regularly by Freedom Community Clinic.

You can find a list of health, housing, and other resources for undocumented communities online here from Immigrants Rising. The California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance is also regularly updating their website with a list of COVID-19 resources for undocumented Californians here.

Free COVID-19 Testing in Berkeley

The City of Berkeley is providing free COVID-19 testing for individuals who are uninsured, undocumented or experiencing homelessness. If individuals are experiencing the symptoms listed below, they can call the Berkeley COVID-19 Triage Line at (510) 981-5380, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches

The Triage Line will have nurses to assist in Spanish. If the individual meets the testing criteria, they will be referred to the Berkeley COVID-19 Test Site. Please note that the testing site may not have Spanish translators. They advise bringing a family member or friend to help translate at the test site just in case. The only information that individuals will have to provide is their first and last name, date of birth, and phone number. Results will be given within 48 hours using the phone number that was provided. All personal information shared throughout this process will remain confidential.

If you have any questions regarding the Berkeley COVID-19 Triage Line, email berkeleymedhealth@cityofberkeley.info.

Free COVID-19 Testing in Hayward

COVID-19 testing is available at the Hayward Fire Station #7, 28270 Huntwood Ave, Hayward, CA 94544. It is free to the public and open to anyone regardless of where you live or your immigration status. As of the time of this email, the hours of operation are Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 6 pm or until the number of tests for the day are exhausted. Note that testing is limited to those who meet screening criteria. You can find more information about the Hayward COVID-19 Testing Center here and here.

Note that testing or treatment for COVID-19 is not considered a “public charge” issue for purposes of your immigration status or applications.

Bay Area Food Assistance

  • Expensify.org: Expensify.org is matching $50 towards SNAP grocery purchases. Find more information at www.expensify.org/hunger.
  • Alameda County Food Bank: If you are in need of food, call the Alameda County Food Bank Helpline at (510) 635-3663. Find more information at accfb.org.
  • East Oakland Collective: Offering supplies and food for seniors, unhoused individuals, and people with compromised immune systems. Please contact EOC for availability of supplies and food at (510) 990-0775 or info@eastoaklandcollective.com.
  • Meals on Wheels: Find more information at https://www.feedingseniors.org/get-meals-1.
  • Project Open Hand: Find more information at openhand.org.

Housing Resources & Information

If you or a family member are experiencing housing issues, please contact EBCLC’s housing intake line at (510) 548-4040. In general, rent and mortgage freezes, eviction moratoriums and other housing issues are city-specific. If you or your family live outside the Bay Area, you can check the COVID-19 Emergency Tenant Protections & Rent Strikes map for information on a specific city. You can also reach out to EBCLC’s housing intake line for referrals and resources in your area.

Family Preparedness Plan for Individuals Without Legal Status

For families with mixed immigration status, we recommend having a family preparedness plan. Handouts are available (in English, Spanish and Chinese) from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center on how to prepare for a family emergency. It is our hope that you will not need to make use of this plan, but we believe an empowered community is a prepared one and we recommend taking the time to develop a plan for yourself and your loved ones.

Immigration Legal Services for USP/UC Berkeley Students

EBCLC is continuing to provide immigration legal services to USP/UC Berkeley students during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you need help renewing your DACA, or have any questions about your immigration status, you can make an appointment to speak with an immigration legal advocate. Clinic appointments can be scheduled online here. At this time, all appointments will take place by phone or video, not in-person at your campus. For questions, please email usplegal@ebclc.org.

Wishing you and your family good health.


GENERAL IMMIGRATION LEGAL RESOURCES: 

The USP legal services team provides direct legal representation to current UC Berkeley students. However, when we are unable to take cases due to capacity issues or geographical limitations, we may refer you out to other legal service providers in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

Here is a collection of resources related to immigration and immigration legal services:

Last updated on 5/20/2020.