Refugee AmeriCorps Initiative


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.


Click here to meet our AmeriCorps Members in Service


During 2016, Refugee AmeriCorps members:

  • Recruited and trained 36 on-going volunteers
  • Provided 268.50 hours of group ICO and 136.25 hours of one-on-one ICO to 121 clients in the areas of housing, health and/or employment. This is an average of 3.34 hours per client.
  • Of the 31 individuals who participated in housing ICO, 72% (24 individuals) demonstrated improve understanding of housing topics.
  • Of the 37 individuals who participated in employment ICO, 87% (33 individuals) demonstrated improved understanding of employment topics.
  • Of the 33 individuals who participated in health ICO, 70% (23 individuals) demonstrated improved understanding of health topics.
  • Built partnerships with 13 different community partners including service provides, non-profit agencies, landlords, volunteers and businesses.
  •  Members created 31 resources, including ICO curriculums, PowerPoints, informational materials etc., to support ICO programming.

Impact Snapshot

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.


The Refugee AmeriCorps program is currently selecting 11 members to serve in the 2017-2018 program year. Learn more and apply here.