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Know Your Rights
Source: The New York Times
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

New York Pledges $27 Million to Help Undocumented Immigrants Hit by Ida

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But representatives from most of the organizations said that details about the relief package remain unclear. They also said that the number of eligible applicants is likely to be higher than 1,200, given that there are an estimated 500,000 undocumented workers in New York City.

Still, Theo Oshiro, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, praised the initiative.

“These communities went through the worst of the pandemic, and now they’ve been hit by a storm. What we’re seeing is some recognition of the plight of these New Yorkers, but there is so much to do,” Mr. Oshiro said.

Felipe Idrovo, 53, who arrived in the United States two decades ago from Ecuador, lives in a basement that flooded in East Elmhurst, Queens, when the storm hit. He too is looking to move out, but there are few options in the city where low-income housing is at a premium.

Mr. Idrovo moved into his basement apartment last year after losing his job when he got sick with the coronavirus, he said. The water has destroyed nearly everything, he said, including photos of his two grown sons who attend college in Ecuador, medical documents related to his brother’s death and even documents that prove that he pays taxes.

Three weeks after the storm receded, he is still trying to salvage some documents by drying them out as much as possible. He has taken on a new job as a day laborer, but said he doesn’t make enough money to move out just yet because work is precarious. He has moved to another room in the same basement, one that is closer to the single exit. His old room, he said, has mold on its walls from the water damage.

Still, Mr. Idrovo, who is undocumented, is hopeful about being eligible for the new relief fund. For one thing, he said, he can continue to send some money back to his family.

“I know that with this help I have a little bit more peace, enough peace to keep going on,” he said.