CWS Durham Americorps-Vista staffer Nick Sorosky and 2 clients work to set up an apartment for a new arrival. Photo: Kate Roberts
Supporting Refugee Integration
CWS builds on its initial resettlement programming through integration programs that extend services to refugees past the initial 90 day resettlement period.
CWS assists refugees in 27 communities across the U.S. to achieve early self-sufficiency within six months of arrival through the Matching Grant Program. Refugees enrolled in the program receive modest financial support while they participate in extended case management and employment services needed to familiarize them to the U.S. labor market, learn how to find and succeed in jobs and address barriers to employment. By leveraging refugees’ strengths, the MG Program has a remarkable success rate: this year, 86 percent of refugees were self-sufficient through employment six months after arrival. Local communities match every two dollars provided by the federal government with one dollar of contributions of time, goods and financial support. In federal fiscal year 2016, local communities will contribute $3.5 million to support refugees’ early self-sufficiency.
CWS provides the most vulnerable refugees in 15 communities with individualized, intensive services through the Preferred Communities Program. These services include intensive case management, intensive community orientation, alternative wellness programming and community engagement. All services are marked by their attention to a collaborative, strengths-based, extended and holistic approach. By the conclusion of services, refugees are financially stable, have achieved the goals set out in their service plan and are able to independently navigate their communities. Recognizing that improving integration outcomes requires support and capacity within the receiving community, the program engages in targeted partnership development and community partner training to ensure that refugees have access to appropriate services.
In its first year, the Refugee AmeriCorps program will enhance mutual understanding between refugees and their new U.S. community through intensive community orientation. Eleven full-time AmeriCorps members in 10 communities will offer in-depth, interactive, localized orientation to newly arrived refugees and build capacity within the local community to work with refugees. Intensive community orientation will focus on the areas of housing, health and employment, which are identified pillars of successful resettlement and integration. Through increased mutual understanding, refugees will be able to independently navigate their communities, maintain a stable and safe environment and ultimately achieve long term integration.