Welcome to Your New Home: Helping Refugees with Housing in Washington State

Welcome to Your New Home: Helping Refugees with Housing in Washington State Mark Kadel Director World Relief Spokane Sarah Peterson, MSW State...
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Welcome to Your New Home:

Helping Refugees with Housing in Washington State Mark Kadel

Director World Relief Spokane

Sarah Peterson, MSW

State Refugee Coordinator Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance


Workshop Agenda •  •  •  •  •  • 

How refugees come to the US and Washington State Available Services to refugees in Washington State What happens with refugees at a local level Challenges and Assets for refugees related to housing Best pracEces to working with refugees AddiEonal resources


Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance

ORIA’s mission is to transform the lives of refugees and immigrants by providing resources that support a broad range of services that promote self

sufficiency and integraEon. Services include: •  Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance •  Employment and Training Programs (LEP Pathway, ORIA BFET, RESN) •  English Language Programs •  Health Screenings, Mental Health Services and PreventaEve Health •  NaturalizaEon •  Refugee ReseWlement and IntegraEon Services •  Support services for children, youth, and elders


Washington State Refugee Arrivals

4500 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0

3870 3003 2247

2863 2921

2588 2136 2162



Top Ten ReseFlement States Texas California New York Michigan Florida Arizona Ohio Georgia

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Source: US Department of State, Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS).

Pennsylvania Washington



% of arrivals


King, Pierce, Snohomish


All Agencies



World Relief



World Relief



Lutheran 5

Refugee Arrivals by Country of Origin 3000

Ukraine Somalia




Iran Ethiopia




DRC Burmese

500 0 2011

Bhutanese 2012






World Relief Spokane is 35 staff joining with 200 volunteers and 60 community serve partners to serve 2000 refugees and immigrants annually. INITIAL RESETTLEMENT SERVICES

–  Providing core services and meeEng basic needs of refugees upon arrival to the United States with the goal of helping refugees become self-sufficient.


•  Helping adult refugees to find and keep full Eme work so that they can achieve stability and move towards meaningful vocaEons.


EDUCATION SERVICES •  Helping adult refugees learn English and the life skills they need to become independent, producEve community members. MICRO-ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT •  AssisEng refugees and immigrants start small local businesses by providing training, counseling and financial assistance.


•  Offering a wide variety of services including Green Card and NaturalizaEon applicaEon assistance, CiEzenship classes, adjustments of status and translaEons of legal documents. We are accredited by the Board of ImmigraEon Appeals.


ANTI-TRAFFICKING •  PrevenEng human trafficking through community awareness trainings and supporEng vicEms with housing, employment, counseling & legal services.


World Relief RecepEon & Placement Program Core Services •  Airport Pick-Up •  Housing, Furniture, Clothes and Food •  RegistraEon with Local Government Agencies to Receive Benefits •  Refugee Health Screening, Primary and Specialty Care •  School RegistraEon and English Classes •  Employment Program Referral •  Cultural OrientaEon


Challenge #1: Finding and securing housing ü No Credit ü No Work Experience ü No Income or Resources

Asset #1: Support of local reseWlement agency ü RecepEon & Placement Program (30 – 90 days) ü Culturally and linguisEcally appropriate services ü ConnecEon/Partnerships with local landlords ü Few iniEal monthly expenses 11

Affiliates provide core services to all refugees during their first 30 to 90 days in the United States.

Each refugee receives an average of $1,125 to start their new life in America.


Challenge #2: Facing the financial cliff ü Public Assistance insufficient to pay for rent ü Rent burden ü Inability to save


Single $332 Couple $420

Single - $200/mo. + 6 mos. Rent Family of 4 - $480/mo. + 6 mos. Rent

Family of 4 $613 14

Challenge #2: Facing the financial cliff

ü Public Assistance insufficient to pay for rent ü Rent burden ü Inability to save

Asset #2: Resourceful and resilient

ü Have access to case management support ü TranslaEon services ü Connected to strong service provider network ü Pay rent in advance ü Find employment quickly ü Strong community connecEons ü Community Volunteer/Friendship Partners 15

NaturalizaEon Services Program

Special PopulaEons Programs Health and Mental Health

PRIME Program English Language Services (LEP Pathway) Employment Services (LEP Pathway, ORIA-BFET, Refugees with Special Employment Needs)

Culturally and LinguisEcally Appropriate Services

• ApplicaEon and Interview Assistance • Civics and English Language Classes • Refugee Elderly Services • Refugee School Impact Grant • Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program • Health Screenings • Refugee Health PromoEon Grant • Refugee Mental Health Grants

• Comprehensive Case Management • Workshops on life skills and navigaEng systems • ImmigraEon Services • Levelled English as a Second Language Classes • Employment Focused • Intensive ESL with Life Skills Curricula • Employment assessments and pre-employment preparaEon • Job search and employment placement • Skills Training •  Volunteer and subsidized Work Experience opportuniEes • Contractors have close Ees to ethnic communiEes • Employ staff who came to the US as refugees • Services provided in clients primary language • Customized to meet the specific needs of each client.


Challenge #3: American Dream vs. Reality ü Managing expectaEons ü Broad array of cultural differences ü Lack of understanding regarding tenant rights and responsibiliEes.

Asset #3: Cultural OrientaEon ü Hands-on pracEcal learning ü Customized to meet needs ü Reviews many different topics ü Community Volunteer/Friendship Partners



A Burmese client who was reseWled from Malaysia had done assembly work and deliveries. He had no interest or experience in cooking. His job developer had a good lead on a cooking job and the employer that wanted to meet him. Lee was sEll hesitant. We suggested he and his wife (who had more English) come together and he could at least see where he might be working. They thought that sounded like a good idea.

The manager was called and invited us to the back of the restaurant for a brief tour. Later she sat down to interview Lee and his wife. They learned that the manager spoke a language they knew. The couple was delighted with all she said to them and how she calmed their fears. We celebrated with lunch at the restaurant.

Lee was offered a job cooking. Aqer working only a week, he had learned more than anyone had ever had. The manager said she had plans to make him her main cook, allowing him a raise. Lee was all smiles when he came to see us aqer starEng his job, he couldn’t be happier. He and his wife are now financially selfsufficient and paying all their own financial obligaEons.


Jai worked along side the US military operaEons in Afghanistan for years, providing much needed technical computer support for the secure operaEons our troops needed to conduct their peace building operaEons. Aqer our military presence began to leave his country, Jai and his wife were threatened with their lives by those who disagreed with his assistance to the American military. Jai was granted reseWlement in Spokane last year. Jai, who is fluent in English, started working at AT&T in an entry level job, but was becoming disillusioned as his IT knowledge and experEse was not being used to its fullest extent. His wife gave birth to their first child and Jai asked his World Relief job developer if there were other, more challenging jobs available in his field? Soon, an opening at Apple Computers in their producEon plant opened. Jai applied, showed his skills acquired while working with the US military operaEons in Afghanistan, and was offered a fullEme posiEon earning a much higher rate of pay. Jai and his family are now financially able to provide a bright future for their child here in Spokane. 20

Resources •  • 

Office of Refugee ReseWlement: hWp://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/publicaEons Cultural OrientaEon Resource Exchange: hWp://coresourceexchange.org/for-teaching-co/


Thank you! Mark Kadel Director, World Relief Spokane 1522 N. Washington St. Ste. 204 Spokane, WA 99201 t. 509-232-2814 f. 509-484-9830 Email: [email protected] hWp://worldreliefspokane.org

Sarah K. Peterson, MSW Washington State Refugee Coordinator Chief of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Cell: 360-890-0691 Office: 206-568-5568 Email: [email protected]


Refugee ReseWlement •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Challenges Diverse groups of refugees Limited English Proficient Lack of formal educaEon No work experience in the US Low income benefits cliff Immediate need to start working Finding low income housing Limited amount of Eme to pursue educaEonal opportuniEes Physical and Mental Health CondiEons Trauma Different family size

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Strengths RESILIENCE Resourceful Diversity Many are professionals – educated in home countries Hard working Community and family oriented ExisEng ethnic communiEes Long history of immigrant communiEes Public Private Partnership Capacity to leverage resources