Emergency Appeal: refugee resettlement

June 27, 2016

Appeal Code: 76-628-D
Appeal Goal: $350,000


There are more displaced persons in the world today than at any point since World War II. Commonly acknowledged as the starkest refugee crisis in generations, there are over 65 million people forcibly displaced in the world, including more than 21 million refugees.

In response, the United States has pledged to resettle 85,000 refugees in the 2016 federal fiscal year (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016), an increase of 15,000 people over the previous year. The Obama administration also announced its intent to resettle 100,000 refugees in federal fiscal year 2017. CWS is one of the nine national resettlement agencies resettling approximately 10 percent of the total pool, in addition to Special Immigrant Visa holders, parolees from Central America and Cuban and Haitian entrants.

The processing of resettlement applications to the United States takes an average of two to three years to complete because of the many interviews, background checks, medical checks and other processing requirements that make refugees the most scrutinized population entering the United States. Due to the requirements needed for refugee resettlement application processing, only 60 percent of the 85,000 refugees have arrived in the United States in the first three quarters of the fiscal year.

In order to reach its resettlement goal, the U.S. government is increasing its effort to process applications. CWS now anticipates that more than 29,000 refugees could arrive in the months of August and September alone. This increase represents a near tripling of the number of refugees who have arrived per month to this point of the year. CWS expects such high numbers of arrivals to continue into the fall and winter of 2016, and to continue indefinitely as the U.S. increases its allowed refugee arrivals to 100,000 individuals in fiscal year 2017.

This imminent and concentrated number of arrivals will mean that the resources of CWS offices will need to be stretched even farther to assist more individuals. Communities will also be responding by potentially welcoming more newcomers than in previous years. For much of CWS’ history in working with refugee resettlement, the need has never been greater in such a short period of time. CWS is ready to respond and is calling for the resources to meet that need.

CWS anticipates the greatest needs in the coming months to center around immediate housing support, food and medical care.

CWS secures and furnishes housing prior to refugees’ arrival in the United States. With more refugees arriving in a short period of time, offices will need to find up to three times as much housing. As housing stock and usual landlord partners reach capacity, offices will be forced to reach out to more expensive and new housing opportunities. New landlords typically require higher deposits and more months of guaranteed rental payments, as they are unable to meet refugees before they move in or conduct usual background and credit checks. As job markets become saturated, refugees will wait longer to begin employment and will require extended rental support. CWS reserves of donated household goods and furnishings are already stretched, requiring them to purchase larger amounts of goods. In some cases, offices are not able to secure housing prior to arrival, and need to place refugees temporarily in hotels, a cost which significantly burdens already tight resources at the local level.

The application process for public support such as food stamps is facing extended processing time. Because it can take longer for refugees to begin to use food stamps, other resources are required to cover the cost of food in the interim.

Medical care:
The majority of refugees expected to arrive in the coming months will be from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria. Refugees from the DRC have been subject to prolonged conflict and displacement, which have had a deleterious effect on their physical and psychological health. CWS has observed numerous medical concerns among the Syrian refugees who have arrived in the year to date, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, developmental delays and other complications including cerebral palsy and severe mental health conditions. Concentrated arrivals will stretch pre-existing health care systems, causing delays in health screening, referrals and Medicaid processing. CWS offices will be required to pay for urgently needed medical care and may seek out new medical providers for care.

CWS Response

CWS is committed to walking alongside refugees arriving in the United States. Through its network of 33 affiliate offices situated across the United States, CWS will ensure that each arriving family receives permanent housing, initial basic needs support, connection to appropriate and necessary healthcare providers and medications and care required to meet acute medical and mental health needs.

The states that are expected to be most affected by the concentration of arriving refugees this August and September are Texas, Arizona, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Connecticut, Virginia, Indiana and New Jersey.


Emergency Assistance for Housing: 200,000
Emergency Medical Assistance and Food: $100,000
Operation management: $50,000

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (Appeal number 76-628-D; Refugee Resettlement).

Donations to our refugee resettlement efforts in the United States may also be made online.