COVID-19 Emergency Stabilization Fund FAQ

Updated July 1, 2020

On behalf of the Chinese Progressive Association, we hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.

On April 22, CPA launched the COVID-19 Emergency Stabilization Fund, which aims to help workers, tenants, young adults and seniors who are most in need in our community weather the public crisis. On the same day, the fund officially began to accept applications. At the same time, we are also actively raising money for the fund. You are receiving this email because you are an applicant. We hope this information helps you understand the latest developments with the fund and our distribution process. We thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.

When applications were closed on May 1, CPA received more than 4,555 applications, requiring $2,277,500 to fully support all applicants to overcome this unprecedented crisis. 

From April to June 30, the fund received $40,000 in donations from generous community members and supporters. During June, the Chinese Progressive Association has:

  • Reviewed and scored 332 applications (please continue reading for scoring criteria). Majority of applications reviewed during this stage were received between April 22nd and 24th, totalling 1800 applications. Since the fund is also designed to support young adults (age 26 and younger) and seniors (age 50 and older), we also divided applicants by age to review. Due to limited staffing capacity, we can only review a limited number of applications within this short period. 
  • Among them, 265 applications received more than 10 points. Staff and several volunteers conducted a telephone screening to collect additional information to better understand the applicant’s financial needs and challenges
  • As of June 30th, CPA has distributed $30,000 to 60 applicants. Each household has received up to $500 in financial assistance. Of the funds distributed, $15,000 were to 30 workers and tenants, $7,500 to 15 young adults and their families, and $7,500 to 15 seniors.

Scoring Process

Stage 1: The team reviews and scores the information you provided on the application form. The number of points that can be received ranges from 0 to 15. Criteria considered includes:

  1. Whether the applicant is a low-wage worker, a tenant (not limited to a SRO tenant), a young adult or their families, and the elderly. Applicants do not need to be members of the CPA, nor do they need identify as Chinese or Asian Pacific Islander
  2. Whether the applicant lives in San Francisco (priority consideration for SF residents) or other Bay Area cities
  3. Whether the applicant lost their job due to the pandemic
  4. Whether the applicant is receiving unemployment benefits. The fund is designed to help people who cannot apply for unemployment benefits or other government assistance
  5. Whether the applicant will use the funds on emergency expenses, including rent, utilities, medical treatment

Applicants who score more than 10 points are moved to the second stage of scoring

Stage 2: telephone screening is used to understand family income, work, and financial status, so as to help assess the applicant’s financial need.

  1. We will adjust the score based on the information provided by the applicant
  2. We rank and approve applicants to receive funds according to the highest score received and the date and time of application 

We plan to distribute the remaining $10,000 to applicants who have already been scored in July. The distribution will be based on application score and submission date and time. Please understand if there are deficiencies in the process.


  1. Due to the large number of applicants, staffing constraints, and the need for the emergency funds to be distributed to those in need as soon as possible, we could/can only make one attempt to contact an applicant to complete a phone screening.
  2. CPA will only obtain applicant’s name, address, phone number, and email to help with communication and mail emergency fund check to their residence. We will not use the applicant’s information for other purposes or share it with other groups without consent.

Since the CPA staff are working from home at this time, we remain dedicated to serving the community and responding to various community needs. In addition to the Emergency Stabilization Fund, from March to present, CPA has also actively raised funds to purchase personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, and other materials. These supplies have been distributed to more than 300 SRO families living in Chinatown and more than one hundred worker members. In addition to the distribution of materials and emergency funds, CPA has launched the Unemployment Insurance assistance program to assisted more than 700 workers apply for unemployment benefits as well as providing important workers rights  information.

We understand that the pandemic will continue for some time, and many grassroots families, workers and tenants will continue to be impacted. CPA will continue to expand and provide mutual aid assistance services to our community. For more information on other community resources and mutual aid support please go to our website at




Updated May 29, 2020 

Thank you for applying to the CPA COVID-19 Emergency Stabilization Fund! Here is an update on where we’re at in processing your application.

Since we received over 4,500 applications as of May 1, 2020, we apologize for the delay in reviewing your application. Beginning May 15, a panel of staff and volunteers is conducting due diligence review on applications on a first come first serve basis or until all funds have been awarded. Applications will undergo two phases of review: 1. A panel scoring of written application, and 2. A phone screening. 

Our process is as follow:

  1. In the first round, a panel of CPA staff and community members is reviewing and scoring your application according to the information provided to understand your financial needs.
  2. Applications demonstrated highest needs will receive a phone screening to further understand your current financial and living situation. 
  3. Of the applications reviewed in the second round, a select number will be approved to receive cash assistance. 
  4. If approved for assistance, you will receive a check from CPA via mail. This is a change from what was originally communicated on the application form. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The reason for this change is to ensure we prioritize the health and safety of you and our staff.

To date we have reviewed 350 applications. Due to limited capacity and funds, we are reviewing applications on a first come first serve basis until available funds run out. While we understand that the fund cannot meet the number of needs the community is facing, we will not be able to review all submitted applications. 

We will be distributing funds in two phases. We estimate the first group of applicants who are approved for cash assistance will receive a check in the mail estimated around June 20th. 



General Information 

1. Who is eligible?  The fund is organized to support most vulnerable members of our community living and working in San Francisco or the greater Bay Area, many of whom are low-wage workers, SRO tenants, elders, and young people from low-income families. CPA will prioritize folks who are: Working class or low-income immigrants and families, individuals and families financially impacted by COVID-19, elders (50+), youth and young adults from low-income families.

2. Do I have to be a CPA member to apply?

No, you do not have to be an active or former CPA member to apply. 

3. How does the fund work?
The funds provide direct cash assistance to community members economically impacted by COVID-19 to stabilize their livelihoods. Funds will primarily be distributed in cash and electronic payment. If applicants require another payment method (check, prepaid gift cards, etc.) we can explore that and make accommodations.

4. Is this Emergency Stabilization Fund real?

Yes, CPA (23-7404756) is a duly registered public charity, exempt from Federal income taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This fund is supported by the generosity of individual donors who receive no benefits in return for their donation. The fund is established and managed according to IRS guidelines on Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses through a charitable organization.


Information on Application Process 

5. What is the application process? 

The APPLICATION IS NOW CLOSED. Due to the higher number of requests than anticipated and limited funds, we have closed the application to begin reviewing the nearly 4,500 applications we have received.

6. How can I confirm whether CPA has received my application?

After completing the application, you should have received an automatic email of your response. This is also a confirmation that your application has been received in our system.

7. What if I need assistance applying?

CPA staff are able to provide in-language support in completing the online request form. 

8. What happens after I submit a request?

Once a request form has been submitted, it undergoes a review process by a staff and community panel to verify applicant’s needs and other due diligence. CPA staff may follow-up for additional information. 

9. How much can I apply for?

Community members seeking financial assistance can submit a request for up to $500 per individual. Given the urgency and critical needs of the current situation, we expect high volume of requests for limited funds. Therefore, we encourage individuals to submit one request on behalf of their household

10. Can I apply on behalf of my parents?

Yes, youth/young adults can apply on behalf of their parents.

11. Can I apply if I’m not 18?

Yes, youth and young adults from low-income families are encouraged to apply.

12. Can I submit the request in Chinese?

Yes, folks can submit the form in Chinese.


Post-application Information 

13. What can the funds be used for? 

The fund assists community members and their families acquire resources and pay for essentials necessary for their physical and economic well-being, including but not limited to: rent, utilities, groceries, personal protective equipment, and medical-related expenses.

14. How long will I have to wait to know if I got approved?

The fund is distributed on a first come, first serve basis. We will process the first round of requests after May 15th, so folks should expect to receive an initial update by May 22nd. You may receive an email or text message from CPA with an update that your application is under review.

15. Who or where can I contact for updates?

Due to the high number of applications, CPA staff will only follow-up with individual applicants as necessary. Only applicants who have been approved to receive financial assistance will receive a phone call from a CPA staff. 

16. How will I get paid?

CPA will send you a check through USPS mail. 


Other Information

17. Do I have to report this on my taxes?

No, financial assistance received for charitable purposes during a natural disaster does not need to be reported to the IRS.

18. Will receiving financial assistance make me a public charge?

No, financial assistance provided through CPA is supported through generous donations from individuals, and not any government grants or programs. 

19. Will receiving financial assistance impact my eligibility for other social benefits (Medi-Cal, SSI, Unemployment Insurance)?

No, a one time financial assistance received for charitable purposes during a natural disaster does not need to be reported to the IRS; therefore, it will not impact your income and your eligibility for government benefits.