Thursday, August 17, 2006 [Episcopal News Service] The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has awarded Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) $164,351 to help its affiliate offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Chattanooga increase community involvement in support of refugee resettlement. EMM director Richard Parkins said that the grant “comes at a time when there is a greater need than ever for the active engagement of communities in supporting work with refugees.”
He noted that EMM has always advocated for the active involvement of churches and a broad spectrum of community groups in carrying out its resettlement mandate. “These grants to three of our key affiliates greatly enhance their ability to promote outreach to critical community resources which, in turn, leads to greater community ownership in and acceptance of the resettlement program,” he said.
In all three sites, the grant money will support volunteer coordinators who will reach out to parishioners and other individuals to mentor new refugees in their communities. Fundraising, language tutoring, job-readiness coaching, and developing church sponsors are among the activities which will be supported by the grants.
Parkins said that “federal resources are diminishing for the resettlement program, so funds intended to stimulate more private involvement in the program serve an especially valuable purpose.”
“When community and faith-based groups invest in the resettlement of newcomers, they become advocates for their new neighbors,” he added. “At a time when some would call us to be less open to receiving newcomers, it is important to build constituencies for this ministry. These funds, in addition to being of direct benefit to the refugees themselves, help to support that objective.”
ORR is a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more information on ORR.