A Resettlement Agency is a non-profit organization that cooperates with the United States Government in a public-private partnership to assist refugees who come to the United States through the United States Refugee Admissions Program.
There are nine Resettlement Agencies in the United States that operate on a national level. These national Resettlement Agencies have local offices in the cities where refugees live, though the local offices may operate under different names.
Some of the Resettlement Agencies have religious affiliations, but they are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, or the sex of the refugee, or on the basis of having a physical or mental disability.
These Resettlement Agencies have been helping refugees from all over the world resettle to the United States for many years. They provide critical support to refugees and their families during their first months in the United States.
The Role of the Resettlement Agency
The United States government sets guidelines and provides funding for the basic services that refugees receive, but the Resettlement Agencies and other organizations deliver the services and may offer other help as well. The Resettlement Agency will connect you to other services that you need to start your new life. Services and assistance are limited, and different refugees may receive different services because of factors such as family size, ages of family members, resettlement site, and income.
First 30 Days
Initial services are meant to help refugees get started on the path to new life in the United States. Resettlement Agencies will help you with basic services and living costs for your first 30 days in the United States. Some agencies will pay your expenses directly. Others may give some of the money to you and show you how and where to pay certain expenses yourself.
Up to 90 Days
The 30-day period can be extended up to 90 days after arrival if the resettlement services you need cannot be completed in 30 days. You will need to start looking for a job as soon as possible. The Resettlement Agency is not required to find a job for you. The Resettlement Agency is also not required to provide you with a phone, television, car, or computer, or pay your travel loan and other bills. You will need to work to earn money to purchase these items and pay your own expenses.
Moving to another Community
There are many good reasons for staying in your resettlement community for at least six months to one year. If you consider moving to another community, you will be responsible for your own move and for finding any support services you may need in your new community. It is best to discuss your thoughts about moving with your Resettlement Agency before you move. You must notify the U.S. Government of your new address within ten days of moving.
These are the services that all resettlement agencies must provide, or make sure that someone provides, to all refugees during their first 30 days in the United States:
- Meet refugees at the airport and provide transport to housing
- Provide necessary seasonal clothing. The clothing does not have to be new, but it must be clean and in good condition.
- Arrange safe, decent, and sanitary housing.
- Provide every adult in the family with a small amount of money for personal spending.
- Provide basic furniture and household items. The items do not have to be new items, but they must be clean and in good condition.
- Provide food or food allowance according to family size until food stamps are received or the family can provide its own food.
- Help with application for cash and medical assistance.
- Help with application for a Social Security card.
- Help with enrollment into an English language class, if appropriate.
- Provide transportation to job interviews and job training.
- Help with enrollment in employment services, if appropriate.
- Help with obtaining health screenings and any health services needed.
- Help with registration with Selective Service for males between the ages of 18 and 25.
- Help with enrolling and registering children in school.
- Provide orientation to the community and life in the United States.
- Provide transportation and interpretation, as needed, for all required services.