Friday, February 24, 2012

Finding Aid for Refugees

There was a previous posting about the urban legend of the availability of lots of cash for immigrants to America.  While immigrants build their businesses by working hard and investing in business first and consumer stuff after they make the money, there does exist a variety of help for refugees to the United States.
local ethnic self-sufficiency groups
Who are “refugees?”  According to U.S. law, a refugee: “is a person who is outside his or her country of nationality or of last habitual residence and faces in his or her own country “persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”  This now includes people victimized by human trafficking.  The programs that help these people are funded by the federal government, but to find where to get assistance, you have to find the state and local organizations who receive grants from the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, who in turn provide services.  Here’s a map of state and local agencies that provide coordination for services like health care, translation, services for elderly refugees, and individual development accounts.  

In addition, there’s a page that outlines various refugee services to be financed by the federal government.  These are meant to be a source of information for nonprofits and local agencies who might want to apply for a grant.  However, if you are an individual in need of assistance, or know someone who is, go to the bottom of each page and see if they have a list of current grant recipients.  These will be local organizations that provide the federally funded service, and these are the people you want to contact.  These include lists of providers of microenterprise assistance (helping refugees find funding and technical assistance for business enterprises), and recipients of Wilson-Fish grant recipients (a federal program that emphasizes more flexible cash assistance and integration into the community), and a new microenterprise home based child care program.  Another program is RAP-P, the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program, which helps establish refugees with successful farm businesses.  For more possible sources of assistance, see the National Immigrant Farming Initiative to find projects in your region.

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