At dozens of community organizations, employees helped workers pull together the materials required to apply, as more and more people arrived in September, inspired by the stories of friends and neighbors who had received a payment, said Angel Reyes, the Long Island regional coordinator for the Rural and Migrant Ministry.
Mr. Reyes said he and his colleagues knew of many more people in the area who were not coming in, whether because of fear their information would be shared with the authorities or a lack of transportation options. On Eastern Long Island, home to large numbers of Latin American immigrants who work in landscaping, farming and nurseries, “public transit is virtually nonexistent,” said Mr. Reyes, a situation also common in the Hudson Valley and further upstate.
Many workers work long hours, some of them seven days a week, he added, creating another obstacle.
Abraham de la Cruz, 43, who lives in Hudson, N.Y., lost most of his restaurant and construction work when the pandemic hit and got by on about $100 a week, he said. He moved in with a relative, sleeping on her couch.
Mr. de la Cruz, who attended school only through the second grade in Oaxaca, Mexico, said he did not know about the fund until it was too late to apply, in part because he cannot speak English or read very well. Last week, a friend told him about it.
“I still don’t have stable work,” he said in Spanish. “She asked me how I was doing, and I said, ‘The truth is, not so great.”