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Family’s quest to help undocumented Coloradans began long ago, when Mexico saved 6 Jewish refugees

January 25, 2023 (1 min read)

Diane Carman, Colorado Sun, Jan. 25, 2023

Left Behind Workers Fund, created by Mark Newhouse, helped distribute $38 million to people who could not legally collect government aid after the pandemic left them jobless.

"When COVID-19 shut down much of the Colorado economy in 2020, Mark Newhouse, an electrical engineer who’d spent his career in the technology industry, was worried. He saw how efforts like the federal Paycheck Protection Program, rental assistance, unemployment compensation and other forms of emergency relief were missing tens of thousands of vulnerable Coloradans. Many of these workers had paid for unemployment compensation and other safety net programs through their paychecks but were ineligible for any of that help when they were laid off because they are among the 5% of the state’s workers who are undocumented. He calls them the “left behind workers.” He felt compelled to do something and he had an idea that in mere months became the Left Behind Workers Fund. Less than three years later, Newhouse and a group of nonprofit leaders have put Colorado in the forefront of efforts to support workers through the state’s new Benefit Recovery Fund, which provides access to unemployment compensation and other wage-replacement programs regardless of immigration status. They also have developed AidKit, a technology platform available to other organizations that deliver direct cash payments to needy families. But to understand how these programs came about and why helping undocumented immigrants was so important to him, you have to know some history...."