The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
How can I help?
September 23, 2015
More ways to you can help refugees
In addition to contributing to the UUSC-UUA Refugee Crisis Fund and signing UUSC’s petition asking Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the refugee ceiling to 200,000, you can support the refugees by working with one of the many national resettlement agencies or local refugee assistance organizations. You can offer material donations such as furniture, diapers, clothing, etc., but you can also offer your most valuable asset — your time. Each agency has their own unique programs, but many train volunteers to become mentors and many support community-based welcome programs. Helping refugees foster a sense of community and providing a link to your own community is also essential in helping make families feel welcome in our country. In addition to the nine resettlement agencies listed below, All for Good is a web resource that details specifically how you can volunteer with a voluntary resettlement agency.
The current U.S. resettlement program does not place refugees with host families. Instead, voluntary resettlement agencies work with families to find them independent housing in order to promote self-sufficiency.
There are nine major national volunteer refugee resettlement organizations that receive refugees and provide cultural orientation, initial housing, English-language training, workforce preparation, school enrollment, and medical care. This initial help is supported by funding from the U.S. government. Most refugees are expected to be financially self-sufficient within 90 days. However, even well-educated refugees struggle to integrate; mothers and children are often isolated in small apartments, and much burden is placed on men in male-headed households to find work. In addition, transportation is often difficult and social barriers are overwhelming.
For additional information on how to become involved in the effort to resettle refugees in the United States, such as by volunteering with a resettlement agency in your area, please visit each agency’s website below. Additionally, check out contact information for each agency and a map that identifies where each agency works.
Voluntary resettlement agencies
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief (WR)