Amity House - Resettling Refugees
Donate here to support Amity House as they co-sponsor a family in CT, in partnership with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) located in New Haven. www.irisct.org
Your money will be used to supplement the family income and be applied toward rent, utilities, winter clothing, transportation to work, education and more.
Amity House was created as a place of hope and action, born of the imperative to do something in the face of the overwhelming enormity and despair of the current refugee crisis. Many of us come to the table having only a small piece of ourselves to offer, believing that it is not enough to confront the magnitude of the situation. As a group, however, we are becoming enough.
Working with IRIS, Amity House is a group of dedicated individuals from Milford, Connecticut and the surrounding communities, where we are in the process of settling a newly arrived refugee family. We come from all walks of life. Chances are that, if you are reading this, you know at least one of us.
We ask for your support. Your generosity is a substantial part of this endeavor. If you cannot donate now, please consider sharing this Go Fund Me with your network. No gift is too small (or too large!).
THE WAR IN SYRIA AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS
The war in Syria has been ongoing since 2011 and can trace its roots to the uprising in the Middle East collectively known as the "Arab Spring". This really big problem now affects approximately 4 million people from Syria alone. The collateral effects were felt first in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Lebanon. As the conflict continues (and even escalates) and more people leave Syria, refugees have moved further afield, into Turkey and Greece, and into Europe. In 2016, the United States committed to resettling 10,000 Syrians affected by this crisis. That's ambitious. The U.S. Department of State carefully vets and screens all people who apply to come to the United States with refugee status.
Entering the United States as a legal refugee is a long and arduous process, which takes roughly 18 to 24 months to complete. Refugees are legal residents of the United States. Their status allows them to have a job, and requires them to pay taxes. After one year, they are eligible to have a Green Card. After five years, they are eligible to become U.S. citizens.
Once in the United States, however, the government provides little support. Fortunately, agencies like IRIS have been working with the U.S. State Department for 35 years to ensure that these displaced people have a safe place to land. IRIS picks up where the U.S. government leaves off. But IRIS can only do so much. That is where co-sponsors, like Amity House, come in.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF CO-SPONSORS
Co-sponsors are the support system that helps refugees to establish new lives in the United States. Although the federal government provides some initial monetary support, it is not enough to ground a family for their future. Co-sponsors work diligently before a family arrives to establish relationships with prospective landlords, employers, and school systems to help newly arrived people navigate the maze of modern American life (and paperwork).
When a family arrives in the United States, co-sponsors have rented and furnished an apartment (just think, first and last month’s security deposit!), stocked the pantry and fridge, and turned on the utilities. Try doing that in two weeks, which was about the amount of time Amity House had to pull all these elements together for the family's arrival! The average cost of resettling a family is between $5,000 and $10,000 for a cosponsoring organization.
Once the family is here, co-sponsors like Amity House work closely with the family: the goal is independence within 6 months. That means the family must learn English, find jobs, decipher public transportation, and figure out how children are enrolled in the local school system. It means learning new laws and American customs. It means learning to feel safe again. It means being homesick. It means looking forward. It means letting go of being a refugee, and returning to being a person—a father, mother, sister, brother; a dreamer. And it means creating a community in your new homeland. Co-sponsors like Amity House are at first a foundation, and then a bridge, into that new community.
We greatly appreciate your generosity in helping us to fulfill this mission.
To learn more about IRIS, and how they work with neighboring communities please visit their website at www.irisct.org.