The Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative is a nationwide AmeriCorps program that was established in 2015 to assist with the integration and community engagement of refugees. This program is managed by CWS and funded through a joint-private partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
In this partnership, ORR supports the placement of 11 AmeriCorps members at 10 CWS affiliated local resettlement agencies across the US. The CWS Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative expands the agency’s and the local communities’ ability to support refugees by placing an AmeriCorps member to administer the Preferred Communities Intensive Community Orientation (PC-ICO) program. The PC-ICO program supports refugee integration by enhancing mutual understanding between refugees and their new U.S. communities through intensive community orientation, an in-depth, interactive, location specific education program focused on the areas of housing and health to better support refugees in reaching long-term integration and self-sufficiency.
Recently, a client’s tenancy was terminated by a landlord who wants to sell the client’s home. Through the Refugee AmeriCorps Program, the local AmeriCorps member was able to educate the client on how to find new housing by teaching her the best ways identify, schedule and setup home viewing appointments. Furthermore, the member was able to assist the client in viewing homes and how to talk to a landlord and review a lease. In total, the member was able to provide an additional 14 hours of support to this client. The client was able to find a home for her and her family, and feels more confident in her abilities to do so in the future.