USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Preferred Communities Program 

Engaging Communities

Program Overview
Some of the most welcoming and best-suited places in the United States for the refugees and immigrants who settle here are the smaller cities and towns.  Beyond the main urban centers in which those newly arrived have traditionally concentrated, smaller communities can offer services and opportunities not available or affordable in big cities.  They are eager to welcome, support, and integrate foreign-born newcomers.  With the support of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, USCRI implements the Preferred Communities Program in cities and towns that offer newly arrived refugees excellent opportunities to achieve early employment and sustained economic independence.  USCRI works with partner agencies in these select communities across the United States to not only bolster their efforts to provide refugees with appropriate social services through extended case management, but also engage local residents in becoming active participants in the newcomers’ integration.

USCRI’s Participation
USCRI provides training, technical assistance, and support to ensure the delivery of vital services to refugees as they adapt to their new community.  At 13 sites across the country, USCRI partner agencies implement the program by expanding community resettlement capacity, enhancing delivery of family-centered self-sufficiency services, providing extended case management services, broadening sources of refugee support by promoting community linkages, and advancing the program’s sustainability through the cultivation of local donors and recruitment of volunteers.

Partner Agencies’ Participation
In preferred communities, USCRI partner agencies help refugees get specialized training, skills development, childcare, transport, and other services.  For the most vulnerable refugees, partner agencies provide extended, strengths-based case management services to help clients reach self-sufficiency.  Partner agencies forge collaborative partnerships with local organizations, public institutions, and mainstream service providers to aid refugees in accessing training, education, medical and mental health providers and other programs tailored to their needs.

Communities’ Participation
Many refugees arrive in the United States having suffered much loss and hardship.  They need the support of their new communities as they start anew.  Members of preferred communities volunteer to serve as host families, language tutors, mentors, life skills trainers, pro bono attorneys, and fundraisers.  They serve as important community ambassadors who identify and introduce refugees to new friends, resources, and opportunities.

Clients’ Participation
In small towns across America, refugee clients have invaluable opportunities to become prominent members of their new communities.  They can facilitate their social and economic integration by helping members of their new community understand how to adapt services to their needs.  Refugees help communities learn and appreciate the many ways newcomers’ talents contribute to a richer, stronger society.

These USCRI partner agencies are currently participating in the Preferred Communities Program:

 
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